Time to pay attention to goat milk: Highly nutritious food for everybody


By Prof. Shirani Ranasinghe.
Department of Biochemistry
Faculty of Medicine
University of Peradeniya

The substances in milk provide both energy and the building materials necessary for growth. The best nutritional option for newborn infants is mother’s milk; however some infants may not be exclusively breast fed during the first months of life. In that case, another substitute must be available. Cow’s milk contain more than 25 different proteins, but only the whey proteins alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, BSA and its substitution results in an allergic disease known as cow milk protein allergy (CMPA) in 2-6% of children . As a remedy, nowadays, most common alternatives are soy and extensively hydrolyzed formulae. However, there is evidence that 10-20% of children allergic to cow milk do not tolerate soy derivatives. In developed countries there is increasing interest in goat milk to replace cow’s milk and its derivatives.

Goat milk is preferable for many consumers with respect to its composition. Scientific and clinical studies also suggest that infants and children who are sensitive to milk and dairy products often thrive better when a goat milk based product is substituted. In many extensive clinical studies with children with reported allergies, the treatment with goat milk produced positive results in 93% of the children and therefore it was recommended as a valuable aid in child nutrition because of less allergenicity.

Nutrient content of goat milk:

The value of goat milk inhuman nutrition has received very little attention probably due to lack of information on its importance. As a remedy for the increasing level of food allergy caused by commonly consumed dairy products, goat milk has been recommended for new born and infants in many developed countries. Only breast milk contains the combination and quantity needed for a young baby. It is apparently evident from research that goat milk is very close in composition to human milk which is incomparable.

Goat milk is easily digestible

The fat of goat milk is more digestible because the fat globules of goat milk are smaller and have a greater surface area. Because of this reason fat digestive enzymes can act on these fat droplets more rapidly. Further size of the fatty acids found in goat milk is fairly shorter than that in other milk, which makes more rapidly digestible. Therefore, consuming goat milk is very useful for both adult and growing children;

As an infant alternative diet

The importance of goat milk in infant diet is growing rapidly because it is easily digestible and the absence of agglutin combined with short and medium chain fatty acids, hence the fat globules does not cluster together, making it easier to digest. Goat milk is richer in most of the medium chain fatty acids like the Palmitic acid, oleic acid, as well as Mysristic acid, Lauric acid, Capric acid, Caproic acid, Caprylic acid compared to other sources. The energy density in goat milk is 167.9calorie/cup which is a good source of energy.

Health benefits of goat milk:

In recent years, goat milk is becoming more popular due to its medicinal value especially in infants affected with various ailments with protein sensitivities. About 40% of all patients sensitive to other milk protein tolerate goat milk protein probably due to lactoalbumin which is immune-specific between

species and lactoglobulin which appears to be the major allergen in many other milk.

Special milk food for premature babies

Goat milk is unique in medical profession due to their uniqueadvantage in many metabolic diseases of human. Capric, Caprolic acids and other MCT have been used for the treatment of malabsorption syndrome, intestinal disorder, as well as pre-mature infant nutrition. This could be due to the unique metabolicabilities of providing energy at the same time. The premature babies’ vital organs such as brain, liver and kidney are not mature enough to maintain the electrolytes and goat milk will be the ideal which keeps all the electrolytes at proper levels. But with respect to cow milk, goat milk has the closet levels of electrolytes to human milk.


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