Goat Milk: Health Benefits And Why It Could Be Better Than Cow Milk

Reviewed By Registered Dietitian Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD
by Ravi Teja Tadimalla

 Goat milk has a higher digestibility than most other types of milk. The milk is also naturally homogenized and offers certain therapeutic values in human nutrition (1).

Interestingly, goat milk happens to contain more calcium and vitamins A and B6 than cow milk (1). Does this mean you can start using goat milk in place of any other? Scroll down to find out.

What Are The Benefits Of Goat Milk?

Goat milk is easily digestible than most other animal forms of milk. Some evidence suggests that it may treat inflammation and strengthen bones better than cow milk. 

1. Is Easily Digestible

The fat globules in goat milk are smaller, and this is probably one reason goat milk is easier to digest (1).

Reports point out the value of goat milk in the treatment of intestinal troubles, thanks to its ease of digestion. The milk’s buffer capacity and the physical character of the curd formed by the coagulation of the milk are also believed to be important factors in its digestibility (2).

In another study, the mechanism of protein digestion in goat milk infant formula was found to be more comparable to human milk (than that of the cow milk formula) (3).

Though goat milk is more easily digestible than cow milk, both contain about the same amount of lactose. Some people believe goat milk has very little lactose, but this is not true. If you are lactose intolerant, you may want to check with your doctor before consuming goat milk (4).

2. May Promote Heart Health

Goat milk is a good source of magnesium, a mineral beneficial for the heart. Magnesium helps maintain a regular heartbeat and prevents the formation of blood clots and increased cholesterol levels. Magnesium also works with vitamin D, which is another nutrient crucial for heart health (5).

Goat milk was found to contain more magnesium than cow milk or buffalo milk. However, the data on indigenous goat milk is scanty. Certain indigenous types of goat milk were found to have lower calcium when compared with buffalo milk (5).

In rat studies, intake of goat milk was found to reduce plasma triglyceride concentration (6).

3. May Help Fight Inflammation

Studies show that goat milk (and donkey milk) can be recommended as a dietary supplement for individuals with allergic and inflammatory conditions. The milk has been shown to trigger innate and adaptive immune responses in the human body (7).

In rat studies, goat milk oligosaccharides exhibited anti-inflammatory effects in cases of colitis. Hence, the milk may be useful in the management of inflammatory bowel disease (8).

In another rat study, the goat milk oligosaccharides reduced intestinal inflammation and contributed to the recovery of damaged colonic mucosa (9).

4. May Strengthen Bones

Administration of 400 ml of goat milk was found to have a positive impact on bone metabolism. This, when combined with therapy, could also help prevent osteoporosis in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (10).

In rats, a particular protein in goat milk (CSN1S2) was found to improve the formation of the femoral bone. The milk was more effective than goat yogurt (11).

In animals fed goat milk, the process of stabilization of bone turnover seemed to start much earlier. This was found to be especially true in the case of iron deficiency, which may impair bone turnover (12).

5. Could Be A Good Metabolic Agent

Goat milk is an excellent metabolic agent as it boosts the metabolic utilization of minerals like calcium and iron. However, studies in humans are still required to confirm the purported metabolic effects of goat milk (13).

Additionally, it has A2 beta-casein, which is far healthier than A1 beta-casein that cow milk contains. A2 beta-casein is considered the safer variant of beta-casein, while its A1 counterpart has been one of the risk factors for diabetes and ischemic heart disease (14).

In mice studies, goat milk was also found to be less allergenic than cow milk when given after the breastfeeding period. We need more studies to clarify if goat milk is suitable as an alternative to cow milk in milk-based formulas for infant nutrition (15).

6. May Help Relieve Anxiety

Rat studies show that the conjugated linoleic acid in goat milk may influence brain development (and physical development). In these studies, the administration of goat milk was also found to reduce anxiety (16).

7. May Assist In Anemia Treatment

A study states that iron bioavailability goat milk is superior to that of cow milk. Rats fed whole goat milk had a much higher hemoglobin regeneration efficiency (which is the percent conversion of dietary iron into hemoglobin) (17).

Though goat milk doesn’t often appear in television commercials, it sure does seem like a healthier alternative. The most popular type of milk is cow milk, and we are sure you would have grown up consuming it. But is it time you changed to goat milk?

Goat Milk Vs. Cow Milk – Which Is Better?

Serving size = 1 cup (244 g) 

Goat Milk*Cow Milk**
Calories 168149
Calcium 327 mg276 mg
Protein 9 g8 g
Magnesium34 mg24 mg
Phosphorus 271 mg205 mg

*values sourced from USDA, Milk, goat, fluid, with added vitamin D

**values sourced from USDA, Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat, with added vitamin D

  Both types of milk have similar amounts of lactose. While 100 grams of goat milk has 4.1 grams of lactose, the same amount of cow milk has 4.6 grams of lactose (18).

Goat milk also enhances the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients from foods. The milk has a beneficial effect over cow milk in terms of the absorption of copper and iron in rats with malabsorption syndrome (19).

In terms of nutrition and research, goat milk fares better. Is it goat milk all the way? Well, not so fast.

Does Goat Milk Have Any Side Effects?

The only major side effect of goat milk studied by science is an allergy. Goat milk allergy, which is usually not associated with cow milk, is a rare disorder. This allergy could be attributed to the casein protein in the milk (20).

Goat milk allergy seems to affect older children and appears later. The allergy requires strict avoidance of goat milk and other milk-derived products as the reactions could be severe. Minimal doses of goat milk or milk products can cause reactions (21).

Conclusion

A growing body of research states that goat milk could be the ideal alternative to cow milk. It is higher in important nutrients. However, it contains similar amounts of lactose. Hence, if you are lactose intolerant, you can go for nut milk (like almond milk).

Goat milk is a healthy option, but if you are allergic to milk in general, stay away from goat milk.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What is the difference between fresh goat milk and powdered goat milk?

Powdered goat milk is a manufactured product that is made by evaporating the milk to dryness. Though it may not be as beneficial as fresh goat milk, powdered goat milk sure does have a longer shelf life.

Can we drink raw goat milk?

Raw milk is basically milk that hasn’t been pasteurized to kill the harmful bacteria. It might cause problems. Hence, it is safe not to drink raw milk as it is.

Can we use goat milk if we are sensitive to cow milk?

Not always. Even if you are not allergic to cow milk, you may be allergic to goat milk. However, this disorder is rare (20).

Does goat milk make you gain weight?

Some research shows that goat dairy may have a moderately higher appetite-suppressing potential when compared to cow dairy (22). Though this may seem like goat milk may help in weight loss (and not make you gain weight), there is no direct research to state so.

Does goat milk have estrogen?

All milk, including goat milk, contains small amounts of various hormones, including estrogen.

Is goat milk safe for babies?

Some research shows that goat milk formula may have strong prebiotic and anti-infection properties, which may protect infants against gastrointestinal infections (23). However, more research is warranted, especially with respect to goat milk (and not the formula).

Is goat milk good for skin? Would goat milk soap help?

There is no research stating that goat milk can benefit the skin. However, certain proponents of goat milk promote goat milk soap for skin benefits. Though anecdotal evidence suggests that goat milk soap could help treat acne, eczema, and dry skin, there is no research to support this.

23 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Ravi Teja Tadimalla

Ravi Teja Tadimalla is an editor and a published author. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the digital media field for over six years. He has a Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition & Research from Wageningen University. He considers himself a sculptor born to chip away at content and reveal its dormant splendor. He started his career as a research writer, primarily focusing on health and wellness, and has over 250 articles to his credit. Ravi believes in the great possibilities of abundant health with natural foods and organic supplements. Reading and theater are his other interests.
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