Benefits of goat milk

Benefits of goat milk v.s. cow milk

What are the characteristics of goat milk?

The features of goat milk give rise to a number of potential benefits, when compared with cow milk such as:

  • A lower amount of αs₁-casein.
  • The same total quantity of essential amino acids.
  • A higher content of medium-chain fatty acids (C6-14).
  • More conjugated linoleic acid.
  • Rich in Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Cupper.
  • Source of Vitamin A, B2, Potassium, Magnesium and Zinc.
  • Higher levels of taurine than cow milk.
  • Contains 5 times more oligosaccharides.
  • Animal study shows that with goat milk nutrition better use is made of nutrients in the milk than the nutrients from cow milk.
  • In particular, the utilization of nitrogen from goat milk proteins is greater than from cow milk proteins.
  • Nucleotides levels in goat milk are closer to the levels in breastmilk.
  • Phospholipids content is closer the breastmilk.
  • Polyamine levens als closer to breatsmilk.

Source: Ceballos et al, 2009; Claes et al 2014 , Food Control 42 188-201, Biadala et al, 2018
Mljekarstvo / Dairy 68(4):239-253; Lee et al, 2018 Front. Pediatr. 6:313; Guiffrida et al, 2013 Lipids.; 48(10): 1051–1058; Garcia et al,2012 Food Chem, 135(3):1777-83.
Protein Digestion

  • The digestion of goat milk proteins is nearly a third faster compared to cow milk proteins.
  • Three times more beta-lactoglobulin from goat milk is digested compared to the same protein from cow milk.
  • Casein fractions of the goat milk differs from cow milk as it has a higher level of ß-casein and a lower level of αs₁-casein, making the casein profile of goat milk closer to breast milk. Lower level of αs₁-casein produces a softer curd which makes the proteins easier to digest.
  • Coagulated goat milk, to form cheese, is softer and more fragile than cheese made from cow milk.
  • Casein micelles of goat milk are one and half times larger than casein micelles from cow milk. This would be enough to explain the loose, more fragile casein curd structure of goat milk.
  • For example, in infant foods, when in the baby’s stomach, this soft curd is digested more rapidly

Source: In vitro studies by Almaas et al, 2006; International Dairy Journal 16, 961–968; Pintado & Malcata, 2000; Bioprocess Engineering 23, 175-182; Maathuis et al. (2017), JPGN 65, 6, 661-666, Ye A et al. Int. Dairy Journal 2019;97:76-85; Park, 2007, Claes et al 2014;

GABA (ƴ-aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter, is present in high concentrations in goat milk. GABA has multiple physiological effects, such as modulation of blood pressure, immune function, insulin sensitivity and stress. Recent study has shown that it has a positive effect to the reduction of abdominal pain.
Source: Limon et al, 2014
Fat digestion from goat milk

  • In a double-blinded randomized study of 64 infants, there was a 5% greater absorption of fat from the goat milk diet.
  • The infants in the study had digestive disorders and suffered from fat mal-absorption due to gluten deficiency. One group was randomized to a diet containing goat milk and butter and the other to cow milk and butter.

Source: Hachelaaf et al, 1993
Medium Chain Triglycerides
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) are particularly abundant in goat milk. MCTs are quickly taken up by the body thereby providing energy rapidly.
Source: Rial et al, 2016

  • As per one study, goat milk contains between 250 to 300mg/L oligosaccharides, which is lower than what is present in human milk, but 4-5 times higher than the content in cow milk.
  • In a new study published in 2013, goat milk samples were found to contain 1.17g/L, which is nearly 4 fold higher levels than these earlier measurements.
  • Although the amount of oligosaccharides measured in goat milk is still lower than the amount in human milk, the oligosaccharides found in goat milk shared similar structural elements critical to the bio activity of human milk oligosaccharides.

Source: Martinez-Ferez et al, 2006, Meyrand et al, 2013; Small Ruminant research, Claeys et al. Food Control 42 (2014) 188- 201; Verduci et al, 2019; Nutrients, 11, 1739; Giorgio et al, 2018, Small Ruminant Research 160 23–30, Leong et al, 2019; British Journal of Nutrition, 122, 441–449

Goat milk better than cow milk? – Non Protein Nitrogen

  • Goat milk infant formula contains 10% non-protein nitrogen, expressed as a proportion of total nitrogen, compared with 7.1% for cow milk formula.
  • Goat follow-on formula contains 9.3% and cow 7.4% non-protein nitrogen.
  • Non protein nitrogen consist of nucleotides and nucleosides, urea, creatinine, polyamines and free amino acids.
  • Goat milk infant formula contains 4mg/100ml total nucleotide monophosphates, all derived from the goat milk itself.
  • Nucleotides and nucleosides are major components of RNA and DNA. Due to their role in development of the immune system, nucleotides are often added to infant formula.
  • Goat milk, in contrast of cow milk, contains the highest concentration of polyamines.
  • Polyamines are important for optimal growth, gastro intestinal tract cell function, maturation of gastro intestinal tract enzymes and reducing of food allergy in infants.
  • Urea, at 30%, is quantitatively the most abundant component of the protein nitrogen fraction of goat milk and formulae, followed by free amino acids at 7%.
  • Taurine, glycine and glutamic acids are the most abundant free amino acids in goat milk powders.

Goat milk has a very different profile of the non-protein fraction to cow milk, with several constituents such as nucleotides at concentrations approaching those in human breast milk.

Source: Prosser et al, 2008; Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 59(2):123-33 Silanikove et al 2010, Small Ruminant Research 89 (2010) 110–124 Claeys et al, 2014 Food Control 42 188-201, Muñoz-Esparza et al, 2019 , Front. Nutr. 6:108, 1-11. 2. 
Adult Nutrition
The following properties of goat milk are suitable for application in adult nutrition:
•    Easy digestibility of goat protein.
•    Better bio-availability of protein (i.e. more lactoglobulin digested).
•    Easy digestibility of goat milk (i.e. as a whole).
•    Higher oligosaccharide content.
Infant / Toddler Nutrition
The use of goat milk infant formula has been investigated in several studies. Although the indicative proof exists that goat infant formula is better than cow infant formula, it’s the conclusion of the EFSA that feeding infants with goat milk formula compared to cow milk formula did not yield any different growth outcomes in weight, length and head circumference. The EFSA has incorporated in recent legislation that protein from goat milk can be suitable as a protein source for infant.
Source: EFSA Journal 2012; 10(3):2603
There are various studies published which indicate that if infants are fed with infant formulas based on goat milk, the stools frequency and composition is closer to those infants drinking breast milk. Parent confirm that their infant are more satisfied when consuming goat based infant formulas.

Source: Lowdon 2014 Family Health:
Zhou et al, 2014 British Journal of Nutrition (2014), 111, 1641–1651
The following properties of goat milk are suitable for application in infant/toddler nutrition:
•    Higher oligosaccharide content.
•    Better bio-availability of micronutrients.
•    Better bio-availability of protein (i.e. more lactoglobulin digested).
•    Easy digestibility of goat protein.
•    Easy digestibility of goat milk (i.e. as a whole).