A natural product derived from Australian dairy cows may confer up to 90 per cent protection against the primary cause of the highest-reported illness in globe-trotters – travellers’ diarrhoea (TD) – according to new landmark research.

A natural product derived from Australian dairy cows may help protect against travellers’ diarrhoea.

Travelan® (bovine colostrum) significantly reduces the risk of developing TD, an illness afflicting up to six-in-10 travellers to high risk destinations. The caplets, which contain milk proteins derived from the colostrum of Australian dairy cattle, neutralise the enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strain of bacteria – the leading cause of TD – before the onset of symptoms.

In a randomised-controlled clinical trial, published in the peer-reviewed Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology this month [July], Australian and Polish researchers found that an oral formulation of hyperimmune bovine colostrum powder (BCP) contains antibodies that significantly reduce the risk of diarrhoea caused by ETEC, with or without a bicarbonate buffer, and helps reduce the symptoms of minor gastrointestinal conditions.

According to Professor Roy Robins-Browne, study author and head of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne, these results demonstrate an important step forward in ensuring the health of travellers who may be exposed to ETEC in less-developed countries or regions.

“Our double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trials demonstrated that people who take a BCP formulation regimen may be up to 90 per cent protected against diarrhoea caused by ETEC compared to those who do not take the tablet formulation. This should give doctors and pharmacists the confidence to offer Australian travellers a clinically-proven and natural, preventative medication,” Prof Robins-Browne said.

“The oral BCP formulation, taken immediately prior to meals, binds to the bacteria, inhibiting their ability to attach to the intestinal wall, and enables their passage through the digestive system.”

TD – also known as Bali belly, Delhi belly, or the trots – is the most commonly reported illness by people travelling from developed countries to less-developed regions.

The golden rule, endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), for preventing TD is to “boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it”. However, people travelling to high-risk destinations need to take extra precautions to avoid contact with ETEC.

Travelan contains milk proteins derived from the colostrum of Australian dairy cattle.

According to Dr Grant Rawlin, veterinarian, Travelan co-creator and Chief Scientific Officer at Immuron, the concept behind Travelan stems from the protection colostrum provides newborns against disease.

“Travelan represents an interesting mix between the medical and veterinary fraternities to create an oral immunotherapy product for travellers.

“The bovine colostrum powder in Travelan is derived from the first milk of Australian dairy cows which have been immunised with antigens derived from 14 different ETEC strains,” Dr Rawlin said. “Australian dairy cattle were used for the clinical studies, as Australia is approved by the European Union (EU) as being free from bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or ‘mad-cow disease’.

“Travelan is indicated to decrease the risk of TD and the symptoms of minor gastrointestinal disorders. The product is contraindicated for those under 12 months of age. People with allergies to dairy products should not take the product as allergies to ingredients, including bovine milk proteins and lactose in Travelan may cause itching, a rash, swelling and trouble breathing.”

For more information about Travelan, please call Nycomed on 1800 675 957 or visit the Travelan website.