Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


The occurrence of functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID) is high. FGIDs’ are among the most common medical conditions seen in primary care as well as in gastroenterology specialty clinics accounting for 41% of diagnoses in specialty practices. European data demonstrates that 58% of adults report at least one FGID symptom every three months. For instance, in the UK FGID is the second most common cause of death and has increased by 25% in the last ten years. A primary diagnosis of FGID in Europe leads to over 70 million outpatient visits, resulting in total FGID costs of 120 billion euro per year. Hence, it is not surprising that the health and environment progress assessment of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Europe recognizes the significant reduction of the morbidity and mortality arising from gastrointestinal disorders as a regional priority goal.
The GI-Neu project, funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission, created a multiannual joint programme of collaboration between research-intensive non-commercial (academic) and commercial (industry) organisations to increase knowledge on the effects of colostrum-based neutraceuticals on FGID. The vast majority of attempts to address FGID to date have been led by either the public or the private sector alone. The GI-Neu project was designed to exploit the complimentary expertise of non-commercial and commercial organisations through knowledge sharing and transfer between sectors. This was achieved by staff secondments of researchers from outside the partnership for the purpose of networking, training activities, workshops, and joint research. Through these activities, the GI-Neu project has fostered mutual understanding of the different cultural settings and skill requirements of the non-commercial and commercial sectors, encouraging entrepreneurship and long-term intersectoral collaboration regarding the effects of colostrum-based neutraceuticals on FGID. Eventually, the aim of this partnership was to translate creative ideas into innovative products and processes that can efficiently address existing challenges on gastrointestinal issues.
During the project, a number of activities have been implemented aiming to enhance knowledge transfer between the project partners as well as to increase the knowledge on the effects of colostrum-based neutraceuticals on functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID). A number of training activities have been implemented aiming to train early stage researchers on tools and techniques required to study the effects of colostrum-based neutraceuticals on functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID).
Our joint programme of collaboration significantly contributed to strengthen the knowledge on the effects of colostrum-based neutraceuticals on functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID). This is exemplified by the total of three studies we have implemented during the final two years of the project.
In our first study, “Study assessing colostrum compositions and the preclinical safety of colostrum ingestion”, we determined cow and goat colostrum compositions and conducted preclinical safety testing for human ingestion using 10 samples from each animal species. The chemical analysis included measurements of a wide array of chemical parameters. Based on the results from this study, we selected cow colostrum to be further tested in humans. This is based on the results for cow colostrum, particularly the higher concentration of casein, magnesium, copper, zinc, as well as the slightly increased concentration of immunoglobulins.
In our second study, “Study investigating the effects of colostrum on FGID symptoms in a rat model of gastric damage”, the results of body weight evolution showed an increasing trend for the animal groups while the minimum body weight gain was observed for the positive control group. The results suggest a protective effect of the colostrum administration, with a maximum effect related to cow colostrum administration. After oral treatment with dextran the serum level of IL-10 and IL-22 in control group was decreased. A decrease in IL-10 and IL-22 serum concentration was also observed in the groups that received goat and sheep colostrum. Treatment with cow colostrum demonstrated a potential protective action after inducing the intestinal inflammation with a level of anti-inflammatory IL-10 and close to control serum level (P>0.05) while for IL-22 the increase was not significant. The results of histopathological examination of murine intestine after inducing intestinal inflammation with dextran, confirm the positive effect of the cow colostrum.
Our third study, “Study investigating the effects of colostrum supplementation on human GI and immune function”, showed that chronic supplementation (3 months) of LF and LL cow colostrum has important benefits on gastrointestinal and antioxidant indices of healthy adults. Specifically, we found that chronic supplementation of both LF and LL cow colostrum lead to an increase in lipopolysaccharide binding protein, reduced glutathione, catalase, and total antioxidant capacity. On the other hand, no effects of LF or LL cow colostrum were observed in body fat percentage, blood glucose, blood insulin, TNF-a, INF-g, or IL-6.
The increased levels of reduced glutathione, catalase, and total antioxidant capacity in the blood demonstrate reduced oxidative stress due to the supplementation. Indeed, catalase converts H2O into water and oxygen and can also use H2O2 to detoxify some toxic substances via a peroxidase reaction (Finaud et al. 2006). In our study, catalase activity was increased in the LF and LL cow colostrum groups, compared to either control or placebo groups. It is logical to assume, therefore, that the increased levels of catalase may have increased the antioxidant defence against reactive oxygen species and contributed to attenuated oxidative stress. This is confirmed via our measurements of total antioxidant capacity, as an indicator of the overall antioxidant capacity of serum which was increased in the LF and LL cow colostrum groups, compared to either control or placebo groups.
Furthermore, the GI-Neu partners have collaborated in different studies and the results of science and technology regarding the impact of colostrum-based neutraceuticals on functional gastrointestinal disorders have been published in articles in high-impact scientific journals:
• Vitali A., Lana E., Amadori M., Bernabucci U., Nardone A., Lacetera N. (2014). Analysis of factors associated with mortality of heavy slaughter pigs during transport and lairage. Journal of Animal Science; 92; 5134-5141: doi:10.2527/jas2014-7670.
• Basirico L., Catalani E., Morera P., Cattaneo S., Stuknyte M., Bernabucci U., De Noni I., and Nardone A. (2015). Release of angiotensin converting enzyme-inhibitor peptides during in vitro gastrointestinal digestion of Parmigiano Reggiano PDO cheese and their absorption through an in vitro model of intestinal epithelium. Journal of Dairy Science; 98; 7595-7601: doi:10.3168/jds.2015-9801.
Through the secondments, the researchers gained benefits such as new skills, personal development, career progress, exposure to a different organizational culture, opportunity to change direction, transfer of knowledge, and time for contemplation and re-evaluation of existing skills and abilities.
These are described in the GI-Neu website found at which is continuously updated with all the project’s news and actions. Moreover, the GI-Neu Newsletter was electronically dispatched to all project partners, to the project website, and to interested parties across Europe.

Reported by



Life Sciences
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top