The milk cows produce during the first few days after giving birth may help save thousands of human lives as it can be used to treat a number of stomach complaints, revealed scientists from London’s Hammersmith Hospital and Leicester General Hospital.

The by-product of the milk, bovine colostrum, could save many lives every year, the scientists say, as one of the proteins contained in the matter has been shown by a recent study to help treat problems caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These useful drugs can cause gastric bleeding by attacking the stomach lining and their side effects are responsible for about 2,000 deaths every year.

Professor Ray Playford, consultant and ICSM professor of gastroenterology at the Hammersmith Hospital, told BBC News: “This human study appears to confirm the belief that [colostrum] may be a very worthwhile treatment.

“It is clear that colostrum could offer patients a greater choice in treating a wide range of unpleasant, and sometimes life-threatening, gut problems.”