Benefits of Goat Milk vs. Cow Milk

High Quality goat milk comes from happy free range goats

“Milk, it does a body good.” This was the marketing mantra employed by the cow industry in the 1980’s to boost interest in cow’s milk. The campaign was wildly successful and as a result, The Dairy Farmers of America have reported sales topping 11 billion dollars in 2007. But does the overwhelming popularity of cow’s milk in the United States signify that it really is the best? Should we assume that quantity equates quality when referring to a substance that is such an integral part of our food supply? Interestingly enough, when worldwide consumption of milk is taken into account, it is not cow’s milk that is most popular but goat’s milk.

In fact 65% of the milk consumption worldwide is from goat’s milk, and this popularity hasn’t come about due to high profile marketing campaigns or big-budget advertisements.

The reasons for the worldwide popularity of goat’s milk are multifaceted. First, we need to remind ourselves that “All milk is not created equal.” The differences between cow’s milk and goat’s milk may not seem apparent upon first examination. A closer look, however, reveals several key factors that play an integral part in how milk (from either cows or goats) matches up with the human body in its various stages. All humans have been created to be sustained entirely upon mothers’ milk for at least the first six months of life. There is no other food in the world better than mothers’ milk, and it truly shows both in the laboratory and the real world. But what about after these first few months are over, and one is faced with the rest of life? Why would someone choose goat’s milk products over the far more popular and accessible cow’s milk?

Here are 5 reasons goat milk is better than cow milk.

1. Goat’s milk is less allergenic.

2. Goat’s milk is naturally homogenized.

3. Goat’s milk is easier to digest.

4. Goat’s milk rarely causes lactose intolerance.

5. Goat’s milk matches up to the human body better than cow’s milk.

1. Goat milk is less allergenic.Goat milk has less allergens

In the United State the most common food allergy for children under three is cow’s milk. Mild side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes and severe effects can be as serious as anaphylactic shock! Needless to say it is a serious condition. The allergic reaction can be blamed on a protein allergen known as Alpha s1 Casein found in high levels in cow’s milk. The levels of Alpha s1 Casein in goat’s milk are about 89% less than cow’s milk providing a far less allergenic food.  In fact a recent study of infants allergic to cow’s milk found that nearly 93% could drink goat’s milk with virtually no side effects!1

2. Goat’s milk is naturally homogenized.Xanthine Oxidase

If you were to place both a glass of fresh cow’s milk as well as fresh goat’s milk in the refrigerator overnight, the next morning you would find that while the goat’s milk looks exactly the same, the cow’s milk has separated into two distinct ‘phases’ of cream on the top and skim milk on the bottom. This is a natural separation process that is caused by a compound called agglutinin and it will always cause the cow’s milk to separate. As Americans, we like everything neat and tidy and so to get the milk to the consumer in a uniform manner, the dairy industry utilizes a process called homogenization. This method works by forcing the fluid milk through a tiny hole under tremendous pressure which destroys the fat globule cell wall and allows the milk and cream to stay homogeneous or suspended and well mixed.

The problem with such homogenization is that once the cell wall of the fat globule has been broken, it releases a superoxide (free radical) known as Xanthine Oxidase. (see picture) Now free radicals cause a host of problems in the body not the least of which is DNA mutations which often lead to cancer! Thus, the benefit of natural homogenization comes into clear view. Goat’s milk has smaller fat globules and does not contain agglutinin which allows it to stay naturally homogenized thus eliminating the dangers associated with homogenization.

3. Goat’s milk is easier to digest.

Goat’s milk has smaller fat globules as well as higher levels of medium chain fatty acids. This means that during digestion, each fat globule and individual fatty acid will have a larger surface-to-volume ratio resulting in a quicker and easier digestion process. Also, when the proteins found in milk denature (clump up) in the stomach, they form a much softer bolus (curd) than cow’s milk. This allows the body to digest the protein more smoothly and completely than when digesting cow’s milk.

4. Goat’s milk rarely causes lactose intolerance.

Goat milk has less lactose

All milk contains certain levels of lactose which is also known as ‘milk sugar.’ A relatively large portion of the population suffers from a deficiency (not an absence) of an enzyme known as lactase which is used to, you guessed it, digest lactose. This deficiency results in a condition known as lactose intolerance which is a fairly common ailment. (Lactose intolerance and cow’s milk allergy (cma) are two distinct conditions. CMA is due to a protein allergen, while lactose intolerance is due to a carbohydrate sensitivity.)

Goat’s milk contains less lactose than cow’s milk and therefore is easier to digest for those suffering from lactose intolerance. Now the interesting aspect to consider is that goat’s milk isn’t much lower than cow’s milk (contains about 10% less than cow’s milk) and yet, countless lactose intolerant patients are able to thrive on goat’s milk. Although the answer for this is unclear, it has been hypothesized that since goat’s milk is digested and absorbed in a superior manner, there is no “leftover” lactose that remains undigested which causes the painful and uncomfortable effects of lactose intolerance.

5. Goat’s milk matches up to the human body better than cow’s milk.

Cute Baby Goat

This matter is both an issue of biochemistry as well as thermodynamics. Regarding the biochemistry of the issue, we know that goat’s milk has a greater amount of essential fatty acids such as linoleic and arachidonic acid than cow’s milk as well as significantly greater amounts of vitamin B-6, vitamin A, and niacin. Goat’s milk is also a far superior source of the vitally important nutrient potassium which we discussed in a previous High Road to Health issue. This extensive amount of potassium causes goat’s milk to react in an alkaline way within the body whereas cow’s milk is lacking in potassium and ends up reacting in an acidic way.

Thermodynamically speaking, goat’s milk is better for human consumption. A baby usually starts life at around 7-9 pounds, a baby goat (kid) usually starts life at around 7-9 pounds, and a baby cow (calf) usually starts life at around 100 pounds. Now speaking from a purely thermodynamic position, these two animals have very significant and different nutritional needs for both maintenance and growth requirements. Cow’s milk is designed to take a 100 pound calf and transform it into a 1200 pound cow. Goat’s milk and human milk were both designed and created for transforming a 7-9 pound baby/kid into an average adult/goat of anywhere between 100-200 pounds. This significant discrepancy, along with many others, is manifesting on a national level as obesity rates sky rocket in the U.S.

To conclude, we have seen that goat’s milk has several attributes that cause it to be a far superior choice to cow’s milk. Goat’s milk is less allergenic, naturally homogenized, easier to digest, lactose intolerant friendly, and biochemically/thermodynamically superior to cow’s milk. As if these benefits were not enough, Mt. Capra’s goat’s milk products do not contain any growth hormones or antibiotics that massive cow dairies have come to rely upon to turn a profit! So to sum up and paraphrase the cow industry catchphrase: “Goat Milk: It Does a Body Good.”

 

  1. Freund G. Use of goat milk for infant feeding: experimental work at Creteil (France). Proceeding of the meeting Interets nutritionnel et dietetique du lait de chevre. Niort, France: INRA, 1996:119–21 []

272 thoughts on “Benefits of Goat Milk vs. Cow Milk

    • Marilyn says:

      Watch “What the Health” on Netflix and see many reasons. I was a meat and dairy eater until today, but have been getting goat milk and making kefir. Huge difference in my stomach problems,, but now I want to go plant based and see if that’s even better… With maybe some goat milk kefir and cheese!

  1. Jonathan Partridge says:

    I’ve read several times on different websites, including this one, that one of the benefits of goat’s milk over cow’s milk is that it is not homogenised. Looking at the various options for buying goat’s milk in the UK this is certainly not true. The 3-4 brands that I have seen are all pasteurised and homogenized – though one claims to be “lightly homogenised”.

    Granted, the fat in raw goat’s milk is evenly distributed throughout. That doesn’t help much however considering raw goat’s milk is not available from the supermarket.

    Comparing like for like, commercial cow’s and goat’s milk, both are pasteurized AND homogenised.

    Or maybe things are different in the states? Can you buy pasteurized, non-homogenised goat’s milk from the store? By my reckoning that would be highly unlikely given that the act of pasteurising would cause the fat (cream) to separate from the milk anyway, thus making homogenization desireable from a commercial point of view.

  2. Anna says:

    Hi I’m very interested in changing to goats milk as I’ve heard it helps reduce ezcema. Has anyone had any positive results from making this change?

  3. Hank Remington says:

    Hi Joe, I came on this thread while googling ‘species specificity’. I have been buying Mt. Capra Goat colostrum capsules for over a year now and all I know is that since taking just two per day, to better stretch the costs, I have never gotten sick, not even a cold, EXCEPT for the two weeks I got off all supplements leading up to knee surgery, when I then picked up a nasty upper respiratory crud. Since I usually get your product via Amazon Prime and gave it a thumbs up review, Amazon routed a shoppers question I knew nothing about. It was “I have read that bovine colostrum was superior because goat’s is ‘species specific’ and therefore much less effective for human consumption”. Can you speak to that or give me a solid response to make? Thanks (and I must be the right species????). Hank R.

    • Jeff Andersen says:

      Hello, Hank. This is Jeff working the Mt. Capra Comments desk today. Don’t know why anyone would claim that bovine colostrum would be superior, since cow’s milk is a huge allergen in our population today. Alternatively, more people with cow’s milk allergies are able to take goat’s milk, and as a general rule it is understood that the biochemical structure of goat’s milk proteins and other substances are more compatible with human biology, closer to human breast milk than cow’s milk is. But you can find nearly any opinion on the internet these days.

  4. Alistair Metcalf says:

    Our son, who has been diagnosed with severe pan colitis, has been taking Capra Colosrum for the past year and a half. His immune system was suppressed from prednisone, and he constantly had nasty colds., and is experiencing some symptoms of possible osteoporosis from the side effects of the steroids. But he has not had even one cold since taking the goat colostrum! He has not been able to take any of the generally prescribed prescribed medications, even biologics, due to anaphylactic reactions to all such treatments. His gastroenterologist specialist has indicated that because of not being able to take the drugs, if our son’s condition worsens, the colon may have to be removed. Not a nice prognosis! However, so far he is keeping severe colitis at bey using natural supplements , organic diet, and the colostrum.
    The ongoing problem though now is inflammation of his colon that every few days results in bleeding and pain. It has been suggested he take whey isolate to boost the production of glutathione to aid in cell repair of his intestinal tract. The recommendation was to use a bovine whey product, but he has major intolerance and allergic reactions to bovine dairy, My question is does goat whey have a similar glutathione support? You mention the electrolyte benefits of goat whey, and that certainly is beneficial for folk who have ulcerative colitis issues, but am wondering if goat whey will also promote cellular healing which is aided by glutathion, since the goat colostrum by itself is not necessarily addressing this issue? He is hesitant to try a bovine whey product due to severe allergic response to bovine dairy, and would prefer to use goat whey isolate instead. We simply need to know if goat whey isolate has a similar glutathion benefit as bovine or not. Thanks in advance for your response.

    • Jeff Andersen says:

      Hello, Alistair. Apologies for taking so long to respond to you. For some reason we couldn’t see your post until recently.

      Goat milk and goat milk protein has outstanding glutathione pre-cursors, i.e. the primary components that allow the body to make glutathione. Although we have not tested the ISO-Goat Whey specifically for those pre-cursors, we have every reason to believe they are present in the ISO-Goat Whey as well.

      Blessings on you, your son, and your entire family. That’s a very sore trial for someone so young to have to go thru, and we wish with all of our heart that it was not so.

  5. Nuket Tuna Keles says:

    I start just got milk drinking in Chania, Crete Greece. After then never stopped or drink other milk 10 months. My arms and my knees much better. My sholder pain disappeared! I can easily sit and stand up. I am 67 soon 68.

  6. Damian Quijada says:

    Very informative article ; answers many questions . Should have looked this question way before i turned 70. Well i’m going to convert ; no more MOOOO for this KID .Thank you ,Happy Holidays .

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