The Effects of Consuming Goat’s Milk to human health based to its Nutritional Composition and Value
Dr Christiana Philippou RDN ¹, ³ Dr Eleni P Andreou, RDN ², ³
¹European University, Cyprus
²University of Nicosia, Cyprus
³Cyprus Dietetic and Nutrition Association
Goat milk has been a vital nutrient of human nourishment for centuries, to some
extent as a result of the more similarities of goat milk to human milk, softer curd
formation, higher extent of small fat globules, and diverse allergenic properties
compared to different milks; Great consideration has been given not exclusively to
protein contrasts amongst goat and dairy animals milk, yet additionally to fat and
enzyme differences, and their impact on the physical and sensory properties of goat
milk and milk products.
Goat milk contains important nutrients for humans, particularly who have issue of
lactose intolerance and sensitivity to other animals’ milk. Goat milk is made out of
various necessary nutrients which are vital to human beings. Among those essential
nutrients that are found in goat milk are fat, protein, the amount of lactose, vitamins,
enzymes and mineral. A large portion of the components of goat milk are more
prominent than that of other milk producing animals. Nonetheless, accessible data
concerning goat milk is limited on its gross composition, and data on the nutritional
quality of goat milk. Besides that, goat milk is additionally utilized as treatment
against various disease including gastrointestinal problems, vomiting, colic,
diarrhoea, constipation and respiratory issues.
Key words: goat milk, nutritional value, nutritional benefits, comparison of milks
Goat milk and milk products are thought to be the dairy items with most noteworthy
showcasing potential. Fermented goat milk consolidating live probiotic cells with great
prospects in the future with regards to their nutritive and therapeutic properties. The
extraordinary qualities of goat milk have been genuinely great overviewed in regards to
dietary value and wellbeing impacts. The predominant digestibility of goat milk the
composition of fatty acids, protein and its substance of bioactive compounds appear to
give properties reasonable for treating or keeping certain medicinal conditions. Goat
drain has gainful impacts on malabsorption problems and inflammatory bowel disease.
Fermented goat milk may lessen the danger of cardiovascular diseases by antioxidative,
anti-atherogenic and anti-thrombotic effects. In accordance with the above, there ought to
be mindfulness creation for the network about the significance of goat milk for their
nutrition and medicinal values, there ought to be upgrades of goat breeds to increase milk
production; additionally studies and research on goat milk ought to be directed.
Objectives of the literature review
- To discuss the composition and nutritive value of goat milk
- To increase awareness of the nutritive and medicinal value of goat milk
One of the most significant contributions of goat milk to human nutrition is the calcium
and phosphate that it supplies. Goat milk comprises about 1.2 g calcium and 1 g
phosphate per litre; these concentrations are similar to those in cow milk (Jenness,
1980). On the other hand, human milk contains much less of these minerals with only
one-fourth as much calcium and one-sixth as much phosphate. Thus goat milk provides
a great excess of Ca and P in relation to energy to human infant, both calcium and
phosphorus of goat milk are absorbed by the human infant (Jenness,1980). Humans
suffering from gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers can be benefited from goat milk
as its curd is very soft and its buffering capacity seems to help for the therapy of ulcers
(Haenlein, 2004; Park 1994). Goat milk has been suggested as a alternative for humans
allergic to other animal milk. Not all people but a high percentage from 40-100% of
patients allergic to animal milk proteins tolerates goat milk (Park, 1994).
Medium chain fatty acid or Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) which are more in
goat milk are well known for their health benefits such as the inhibition of cholesterol
deposition as well as cholesterol gallstones. Also MCT contribute to normal growth of
infants. Furthermore, the eliminate mal-absorption syndromes, chyluria, steatorrhea,
hyperlipoproteinnemia, coronary bypass, premature infant and childhood epilepsy (Roy
and Vadodaria, 2006).
The gross composition of goat milk is higher than that in other animal milk such as
bovine milk, except for lactose which is low. Fat globules are smaller and probably one
of the reasons for easy digestion of this milk.
Goat milk and milk products are high source of protein, fat, phosphate and calcium. Its
synthesis changes with factors, such as breed, environment, and managements (Malau-
Aduli et al, 2001).
Goat’s milk is one of the most complete foods. So it is exceedingly nutritious as it can
be considered as a substitute for a whole meal. It is likewise favored because of its low
fat composition and its ability to neutrilize acids and toxins found in the body
It differs from other animal milks for its better digestibility, distinct alkalinity, higher
buffering capacity, and certain therapeutic values in medicine and human nutrition. The
nutritional and health benefits of goat milk are related to a number of medical
problems, foremost being food allergies and also a substitute for those who suffer from
other animal milk allergy (Morgan et al, 2012).
The natural homogenization of goat milk is considered much better than the
mechanically homogenized milk product of other animal milk. It appears that when fat
globules are compulsorily broken up by mechanical means, it permits an enzyme
related with milk fat, identified as xanthine oxidase to become free and enter the
intestinal wall. Once xanthine oxidase passes through the intestinal wall and into the
bloodstream, it is capable of creating scar damage to the heart and arteries, which in
turn may stimulate the body to release cholesterol into the blood in an effort to lay a
protective fatty material on the scarred areas. This can lead to arteriosclerosis. It should
be noted that this effect is not a problem with natural (unhomogenized) cow milk. In
unhomogenized milk this enzyme is normally excreted from the body without much
absorption (Haenlein, 2002).
One of the more important differences from cow milk is found in the composition and
structure of fat in goat milk. The average size of goat milk fat globules is about 2
micrometers, as compared to 2.5 – 3.5 micrometers for cow milk fat. These smaller
sized fat globules provide a better dispersion, and a more homogeneous mixture of fat
in the milk. Research indicates that there is more involved to the creaming ability of
milk than merely physical size of the fat globules. It appears that their clustering is
favored by the presence of an agglutinin in milk which is lacking in goat milk,
therefore creating a poor creaming ability, especially at lower temperatures
It is imports to note that there are various factors that affect the content of the goat’s
milk. These factors are including breed, stage of lactation, season of kidding, species,
individual animals, age and parity, colostrum, feed (diet), environment (temperature
and humidity, length of dry period and gestation, disease and body weight (Park and
Goats are naturally immune to diseases, such as tuberculosis, and are used in some
countries to actually cure tuberculosis because of their inherent antibodies
Factors that affect goat milk production
There are various factors that affect milk production including body size and weight,
age, udder size and shape, growth, litter size, season of kidding, nutrition, temperature,
disease and breed (Peacock, 1996).
Composition of Goat Milk
The composition of milk varies from goat to goat and differs for the various breeds. The
primary importance is for young goat, and especially for man, who drinks the milk, the
Fats in milk are called butterfat and occur as suspended globules.. Goat’s milk originates
many of its most distinctive properties from its lipid portion. The average total fat
content in the milk is similar to that found in other ruminant species, despite reports that
the percentage of fat in goat’s milk exceeds that of the cow. Such a controversy most
likely derived from the fact that the average percentage of milk fat, as with cow’s milk
fat, is a variable component, often ranging between 3.0 and 6.0 percent. There are also
distinct breed differences in fat composition. It should be remembered, however, the
quality and quantity of feeds, genetics season, stage of lactation, etc all influence the
average percentage of goat milk fat. In terms of cholesterol, goat’s milk appears to offer
a specific distinction in comparison to cow’s milk, cow’s milk typically contains about
14 to 17 mg cholesterol per 100 g milk, while goat’s milk is more usually recorded at 11
to 25 mg per 100 gram of milk (Garry et al, 2000).
The relative percentage of protein is similar in both the cow and the goat despite past
assertions that the protein content of goat’s milk is lower. This variation in range is due
to in part to a lack of standardization of protein testing procedures as well as the wide
differences encountered among animals accepted as the same breed and interbreed
differences (Bruhn and Schutz, 1999).
The quantity and distribution of amino acids in the casein fractions of the milk of the
two species are similar; the sequence of assembly is almost certainly different. A similar
difference appears to be found in the lactalbumin portion as well, with perhaps
more clinical significance. The lactalbumin of bovine milk elicits an allergic response
from many individuals, a serious problem, especially for young children. These
individuals are often able to consume the milk of goats without suffering that reaction,
an effect attributed to the dissimilarities in structure of the two proteins (Ambrosoli et
Goat’s milk differs from cow’s milk in its much lower content of B1 (thiamine). The
meaning of this difference is not entirely clear. It is remarkable that caprine milk derives
its vitamin A potency entirely from the vitamin itself and entirely lacks the precursor
carotenoid pigments characteristic of bovine milk, which also causes goat’s milk and
milk fat to be much whiter in color than the milk of the cow due to higher casein
content. It typically contains 25% more vitamin B6, 47% more vitamin A than regular
cow’s milk, and is mainly contains vit A2 (Bruhn and Schutz, 1999).
Lactose is the major free carbohydrate that has been identified in the milk of the goat,
though small amounts of inositol are also found. The lactose concentration is usually
found to be lower than that found in cow’s milk, but the magnitude of the difference is
hard to quantify because of the variation in methods of analysis employed. An
agreement has not been developed on whether to analyze for lactose in the non-hydrated
form or the mono-hydrated form, and this water of hydration is capable of introducing a
five percent variation in the reported concentration of the same actual amount of lactose
(Garry et al, 2000).
A natural minerals nutrition program that includes goat milk can bring excellent health
benefits. The milk contains major and trace minerals including Ca, Na, Mg, P, K and
Zn, Mn, Se, Co, Cu, Fe respectively. For instance, the milk is a good source of calcium,
containing approximately 13% more calcium per serving than cow’s milk, and making it
one of the predominant natural minerals in milk and containing about 134% more K
element (Haenlein et al, 2002).
The enzymes of the milk of the goat are similar to those of the cow, although some
specific differences have been described. Of primary interest, it has been shown that the
level of alkaline phosphatase is slightly lower than that found in the dairy cattle, but the
enzyme demonstrates the same degree of heat susceptibility and therefore serves equally
as well as a pasteurization marker. Peroxidase activity in the milk of both species is the
same in all respects, while the xanthine oxidase level is lower in the milk of the goat.
Higher levels of activity are observed for both ribonuclease and lysozyme (Bruhn and
Schutz, 1999) (Table 1).
Table 1: Composition of goat, cow and sheep milk
According to Malau-Aduli BS and his colleagues goat milk yield and composition are
affected by different factors, including breed, age, stage of lactation, season, plane of
nutrition and the like (Malau-Aduli et al, 2001).
Nutritional Value of Goat Milk
Although the production volume of goat milk is relatively small in total world milk
supply, goat keeping has a significant economic importance in countries where climatic
conditions are not favorable for cattle raising (Tribuila-Clarke, 2003; Park, 2006a).
Goat’s milk is the most complete food known which is highly compatible and
nourishing natural food. It is so highly nutritious that it can actually serve as a
substitute for a meal. It is also preferred due to its low fat content and its capability to
neutralize the acids and toxins present in the body. Cow milk is mucus forming for
many people; however, goat milk is not only non-mucus forming, but actually helps to
neutralize mucus. It is known for its superior in calcium content, in comparison with
other animals’ milk and the healing enzymes present in it
Children with problems digesting cow’s milk may have a viable alternative in raw
goat’s milk which is the second best food option, first being mother’s milk, that can
consume comfortably, even if they are sensitive to cow or other animals milk. In fact,
goat’s milk is very similar to human milk, children who drink goat’s milk tend to remain
more satisfied between meals and sleep through the night (Park, 2006a).
Beyond meeting daily nutrient requirements, it is of special interest that goat milk has
unique properties, which distinguish from cow’s milk and make them a valuable
alternative not just for infants, but also for adults and especially nursing mothers
(Razafindrakoto et al, 1994).
The milk contains vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, trace elements, enzymes, protein,
fatty acids and amino acids (especially tryptophan) that are utilized by human body with
ease. Perhaps the greatest benefit of goat’s milk, however, is that some people who
cannot tolerate cow’s milk are able to drink goat’s milk without any problems. It is not
clear from scientific research studies exactly why some people can better tolerate goat’s
milk; perhaps due to lower in lactose content (7% less from cow milk). In fact, our body
can digest goat’s milk just in 20 minutes while cow’s milk takes 2-3 hours (Park,
The vitamin and mineral content of goat’s milk and cow’s milk are fairly similar,
though goat’s milk contains a bit more calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin A, potassium,
niacin, copper and the antioxidant selenium. On the other hand, cow’s milk contains
more vitamin B12 and much more folic acid. Since goat’s milk contains less than ten
percent of the amount of folic acid contained in cow’s milk, it must be supplemented
with folic acid. For this reason, be sure you get a goat’s milk that is supplemented with
folic acid, which the best brands usually are. Generally, the American Academy of
Pediatrics does not recommend the use of goat’s milk products in infants under one year
because they can cause intestinal irritation and anemia. Infants under one year of age
who are allergic to cow’s milk-based formulas, soy formulas or hypoallergenic formulas
are sometimes put on goat’s milk formula, but only with consultation from baby’s
doctor or a pediatric nutritionist (Tracey, 2001).
Glycerol ethers are much higher in goat than in cow milk which appears to be important
for the nutrition of the nursing newborn. Goat milk also has lower contents of orotic acid
which can be significant in the prevention of fatty liver syndrome. However, the
membranes around fat globules in goat milk are more fragile which may be related to
their greater susceptibility to develop off-flavors than cow milk (Haenlein, 2002). Table
2 shows the average composition of goat, cow and human milk and Table 3 shows the
average size, milk yield (MY) and composition of dairy goat breeds. Furthermore Table
4 shows the USDA nutrient composition for goat milk.
Table 2: Average composition of goat, cow and human milk
Table 3: Average size, milk yield (MY) and composition of dairy goat breeds
Table 4: USDA Nutrient Table for Milk, goat, fluid
Additional Uses of Goat Milk
Contribution of goat milk to pathophysiology factors
The symptoms (i.e. gastrointestinal disturbances, vomiting, colic, diarrhoea, constipation
and respiratory problems) can be reduced for some infants or grown-ups when goat milk
is consumed. Usually, pasteurized goat milk is better accepted by the infants with gastro
intestinal or respiratory symptoms. Fermented milk develops a soft curd when paralleled
to cow’s milk and therefore assists in easy digestion and absorption. Systematic
consumption of goat milk advances considerably the body weight gain, enriches
mineralization of bones, and improves blood serum vitamin, mineral and haemoglobin
levels (Morgan et al, 2012).
Goats’ milk is considered a good source of K which is an essential mineral for
maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. A 240ml cup of goat’s milk has
almost 499 mg of K and 122mg of Na therefore it is suitable balance high blood
pressure and safeguard from atherosclerosis. Moreover, it is a good source of protein,
phosphorus, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and potassium
Goat’s milk contains biorganic sodium, an element that it is linked to different health
problems. Arthritis is assumed to be affected by absence of this mineral. The human
stomach stores the maximum amount of sodium compared the other organs. Hence,
there are some digestive instabilities might be resulted when biorganic sodium is
missing. When this mineral is missing, it might prevent the stomach’s production of
necessary enzymes. The absence of this can promotebloating and in some cases ulcers.
When a diet contains processed foods, sodas, sugar, and alcohol, then the bioorganic
sodium can be reduced in the body
Fat globules in goat milk are smaller than in cow’s milk. This smaller size, collectively
with the absence of agglutinin, a protein that causes fat molecules to cluster together (a
protein found in the cow’s milk) has some consequences. It is believed that the smaller
fat globule size in relation with the event that the globules do not cluster together as in
cow’s milk, it can be responsible to the greater digestibility of goat milk and its greater
acceptability by people with various digestive problems
It is very beneficial to health the percentage of medium chain fatty acids that the goat
milk contains. The first three of these Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), 6:0, 8:0 and
10:0 are known as caproic, caprylic and capric acid, respectively. The specific fatty
acids encompass 15% of the total of goat milk fat, whereas the cow’s milk contains
only 5% for. In addition, these substances give inappropriately controlled goat milk its
individual off-taste and smell. As a whole, goat milk has about twice the MCT as cow’s
milk 35% compared to 17%
MCT have different properties on the health. MCT help lower cholesterol in the arteries,
and they dissolve and prevent cholesterol deposits in the gallstones. The MCTs are used
to therapy of various disorders such as malabsorption syndrome, coronary diseases,
cystic fibrosis, intestinal disorders, pre-mature infant nutrition, gallstones, steatorrhoea,
chyluria, hyperlipoproteinaemia, childhood epilepsy
Raw milk: The intake of raw milk decreases total cholesterol level due to the high
proportion MCT compare to cow’s milk, which declines the synthesis of endogenous
cholesterol. More importantly, it assists to enhance the immune system. Goat’s milk
alkalizes the digestive system and also helps to increase the pH level in the blood stream
so prevents gastric ulcers (Alferez et al, 2001).
Moreover, raw goat’s milk fights microbes, primarily due to the healthy medium
chained fatty acids it contains, such as capric and caprylic acids. The raw goat’s milk is
high in selenium, an antioxidant nutrient identified for its immune support. Goat milk
does not produce mucus and it does not arouse a defence response from the human
immune system. Raw goat’s milk appeases the digestive tract causing bloating, diarrhea,
asthma, and irritability that are present for some people consuming cow’s milk , they
may be allergic reaction to cow’s milk
(http://www. naturalnews. com/031586_raw_goats_milk_health.html).
Moreover, goat’s milk comprises a smaller amount of the enzyme xanthise oxidase.
When this enzyme is incoming the blood stream, it can promote tissue scar on the heart
which results in the liver supplying more cholesterol in order to protect the heart.
Arteriosclerosis can be the result of this mechanism, and homogenization of milk
products has been linked to heart disease (Alferez et al, 2001).
Goat milk can be used as an alternative option for people allergic to cow milk. It is
believed that 40-100% of those allergic to cow milk proteins can accept goat milk.
Although some caprine milk proteins have immunological cross reactivity with cow
milk proteins, infants suffering from gastrointestinal allergy and chronic enteropathy
against cow milk were allegedly alleviated by goat milk therapy. The higher protein,
non protein N and phosphate in caprine milk give it greater buffering capacity compared
to cow milk. Some physico-chemical properties of caprine milk such as smaller fat
globules, higher percent of short and medium chain fatty acids, and softer curd
formation of its proteins are beneficial for better digestibility and healthier lipid
metabolism comparative to cow milk. Goat milk also has a greater iron bioavailability in
anemic rats than cow milk. However, more studies of the hypoallergenic and beneficial
importance of goat milk to humans are required (Park, 1994).
Complying with international compositional standards along with the establishment of
the appropriateness and nutritional adequacy of infant formulas containing new sources
of protein are necessary (Koletzko et al, 2005; Koletzko et al, 2002).
According to Zhou et al, 2014 the growth and nutritional outcomes goat’s milk formula
fed infants did not vary from those delivered by a standard whey-based cow’s milk
formula. The study of 285 infants fed goat or cow formula or breast milk, provided the
necessary evidence leading to the recent change allowing goat milk as a base in infant
The same study found some remarkable alterations in weight and weight for length z-
scores when relating a formula-fed with a breast-fed group. Their findings were
consistent with other studies comparing the growth of formula and breast-fed infants
(Kramer et al, 2004; Dewey et al, 1992; Agostoni et al, 2000). They found that while the
differences in weight or weight for length z-scores continued at 12 months between the
breast-fed infants and cow’s milk formula-fed infants, there were no differences between
the goat’s milk formula-fed infants and the breast-fed infants. (Zhou et al, 2014) used the
same formula with a lower protein content for goat’s and cow’s milk formulas
(2g/100kcals and 2.1g/100 kcals for goat’s and cow’s milk formulas respectively) until
12 months, rather than changing to a follow on formula at six months, which contains a
higher protein content, as had been done in the other three studies. This might partly
explain the difference observed between the findings of Zhou et al and the other three
formula studies, as it has been demonstrated that weight for length z-score at 24 months
in infants fed a low-protein formula did not differ to that of breast-fed infants, while
infants fed a high-protein formula (2.9g/100kcals) had higher z-scores.
Another study by Zhou et al, 2014 highlighted an interesting aspect, in that they
measured the frequency an infant was offered another formula or non-formula foods
before the age of four months, as a measure of compliance. In the group randomized to
receive the cow’s milk formula, almost 40% of the infants were offered either another
formula or a non-formula food for more than 12 days before the age of four months. The
rates in the infants fed the goat’s milk formula were far less, and more similar to the
breast milk-fed infants.
In addition, fresh pasteurize goat milk lacks folic acid, similarly with other pasteurized
milks, therefore none of the fresh type milks are recommended for infants under one year
of age because they can lead to megaloblastic anaemia. Goat milk has a higher renal
solute load compared to cow’s milk. This milk in higher amounts than recommended can
lead to metabolic acidosis and intestinal irritation when fed to infants in the first month of
life and when it is undiluted. When fed with undiluted goat’s milk, neonates, with their
immature acid-base regulation capacities, can develop metabolic acidosis secondary to an
increased protein load and chloride content. Therefore, the undiluted goat’s milk is an
inappropriate food source for infants during the first month of life (Basnet S, 2010).
The use of goat’s milk formula is a case in point. The suitability and safety of this milk
has only recently been approved, despite the fact that goat’s milk has a history of use for
human nutrition in many cultures (Silanikove et al, 2010; Haenlein, 2004;
Razafindrakoto, 1994) and that there has always been demand for goat’s milk infant
formulas, with reports of home-made goat formula and raw goat’s milk being used.
Goat milk’s infant formula is now permissible throughout the EU since March 2014. This
decision was made when the Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies of European Food
Safety Authority (EFSA) panel concluded that protein from goat’s milk is suitable as a
protein source for infant and follow on formulae, as long as the final products comply
with the compositional criteria as per the EU Directive 2006/141/EC.
The Effects of Consuming Goat’s Milk Infant Formula on the Growth of Infants
and Children Compared to Cow’s Milk Infant Formula (evidence based studies).
Breast milk has been documented to be the most suitable food for infants. Nevertheless,
in the current society, there are many factors that can make breast milk not available to
infants. For example, breast milk may not be available to an infant when the mother is
working and busy, or when the infant is adopted or within the foster care system.
Therefore, substitute food sources could be offered to these infants to support their
growth. Factually, milk from other mammals such as cows and goats has been used to
feed infants (Stevens et al, 2009). Though, feeding infants with unmodified milk from
other mammals will likely cause indigestion, which is not appropriate in terms of
ensuring the growth and development of infants (Howcroft et al, 2012).
Goat’s milk infant formula, as another alternative to breast milk, has become more and
more popular in different countries in recent years (Grant et al, 2005). Evidence based
literature showed that goat’s milk has been shown to be more digestible compared to
cow’s milk due to having smaller-sized fat globules, which is probably a reason why
goat’s milk infant formula has gained more popularity. Commercially available goat’s
milk infant formula is usually made by modifying the protein content of goat’s milk, and
adding in vegetable oil (Zhou, 2014). Goat’s milk infant formula resembles cow’s milk
formula in that both of them provide more protein compared to breast milk in one serving
(Zhou, 2014). Nevertheless, goat’s milk infant formula comprises dissimilar proteins
compared to cow’s milk (Zhou, 2014). For infants who are not allergic to goat’s milk, no
common adverse effects have been found when they are fed goat’s milk infant formula
(Grant et al, 2005; Zhou et al, 2014); Han et al, 2011; Razafindrakoto, et al, 1994; Xu et
As cow’s milk allergies have been observed in many infants, goat’s milk, as well as
goat’s milk infant formula, can also cause allergic reactions in infants. Since cross-
reactivity exists between cow’s milk and goat’s milk, infants who are allergic to cow’s
milk formula have a risk of also being allergic to goat’s milk formula, in which case
goat’s milk formula will not be able to serve as a safe alternative food source. Though,
current literature has also indicated that goat’s milk is less allergenic compared to cow’s
milk, and that people who have cow’s milk allergies do not always develop allergic
reactions towards goat’s milk (WHO, 2009). These findings make the development of
goat’s infant formula valuable (Grant et al, 2005; Zhou et al, 2014); Han et al, 2011;
Razafindrakoto, et al, 1994; Xu et al, 2015).
If goat’s milk formula can lead to the same or better growth outcome in infants
compared to cow’s milk formula, then it can be used as an appropriate alternative food
source for infants who do not have access to breast milk. In addition, if goat’s milk
formula is found to be appropriate for infants, then countries with high amounts of
goat’s milk production might be able to benefit economically (Razafindrakoto et al,
Grant et. al. (2005, +quality) conducted a double-blind RTC on 62 healthy, term
infants in Auckland, New Zealand (Grant et al, 2005)). The study enrolled infants of 0-
3 days old, and lasted until the infants reached the age of 168 days (Grant et al, 2005).
The infants were randomized and divided into two groups. The intervention group was
given goat’s milk infant formula (GMF), and the control group was given cow’s milk
infant formula (CMF) (Grant et al, 2005). Measurements of weight, length, and head
circumference of the infants were taken at enrollment as wells as when the infants
reached 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 weeks old (Grant et al, 2005). No differences were
found in the weight (P=0.09), length (P=0.09) and head circumference (P=0.23) of
infants between the two study groups (Grant et al, 2005). However, there was a
difference in the length (P=0.03) and head circumference (P=0.02) of male infants
compared to female infants at the end of the study (Grant et al, 2005). The study
justified the gender-related growth differences to be consistent with previous literature
(Grant et al, 2005). The WHO Head Circumference-for-Age and Weight-for-Length
Percentiles chart (WHO, 2009) and Length-for-Age and Weight-for-Age Percentiles
char (WHO, 2009) also showed differences in length and head circumference between
male and female infants. One of the major strengths of this study was that it explored
many of the factors that might be affecting the validity of the result such as the pricing,
availability, and popularity of GMF compared to CMF, demographic information of
the mothers of the participating infants, and maternal health history. Maternal
information was found to be similar between the two groups, and thus created more
internal validity for this study. One of the major weaknesses of this study was that the
article did not describe where they sourced their participants in detail. This made it
hard to decide whether the participating infants were hospital-born or non-hospital-
born, and thus affected external validity (Grant et al, 2005).
Han et. al. (2011, +quality) carried out a prospective cohort study on 976 infants in
Seoul, Korea. Infants in this study were categorized into five groups based on the
different food source that their mother had chosen for them (Han et al, 2011). The five
groups included: “breast milk; goat infant formula; cow infant formula; the mix of
breast milk and goat infant formula; and the mix of breast milk and cow infant
formula” (Han et al, 2011). The study duration was 12 months long, and infants were
enrolled right after birth (Han et al, 2011). At 4, 8, and 12 months of age, the
participating infants were measured of their weight and length. No significant
differences in weight (P>0.05) and length (P>0.05) were found between the GMF
group and the CMF group. One of the major strengths of this study was that the infant
height and weight data were collected even after the first 4 months, at which solid food
was introduced (Han et al, 2011). This could help indicate if the different food sources
or feeding types had any long term effects on the growth of the infants. The
weaknesses of this study included high drop-out rate (25%), uneven sizes between the
five study groups, the lack of recording and comparison on the amount of formula
consumed by the infants, and the fact that this article did not list out the specific P–
values (Han et al, 2011).
Zhou et. al. (2014, +quality) conducted a double-blind RTC in 285 healthy, term
infants in Adelaide, Australia. The study duration was 12 months long, and the infants
were enrolled when they were 0-2 weeks old. The infants were randomized and
divided into three groups. The two intervention groups were exclusively fed goat’s
milk infant formula, or exclusively fed cow’s milk infant formula. The control group
was exclusively breast fed. At “enrollment, 2 weeks and 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12 months”,
weight, length, and head circumference data were collected (Zhou et al, 2014). The
article explained that weight (P>0.05), length (P>0.05), and head circumference
(P>0.05) did not differ between the two groups that were fed formula (P-values >0.05,
yet specific P-values were not shown in the article), but did differ from the breast fed
group (specific P-values at all the measurement points were reported in the article).
The interest of this systematic review, only data from the GMF group and the CMF
group were taken into consideration. The strength of this article included that there
were detailed intention-to-treat and adjustment made on the outcome data, which
lowered the confounding factors. One of the major weaknesses of this article was that
the time at which solid food was introduced, as well as the content of solid food were
not recorded nor analyzed, which could potentially lower internal validity. A
systematic review presented studies that looked at the growth of infants receiving
goat’s milk infant formula and cow’s milk infant formula are analyzed (Zettwoch
Xu et. al. (2015, +quality) carried out a double-blind RTC in 79 healthy, term hospital-
born infants in Beijing, China. The study duration was 6 months long, and the infants
were enrolled when they were 0-3 months old. The participating infants here
randomized and divided into two groups. The intervention group received goat milk-
based formula, and the control group received cow milk-based formula. The
participating infants were measured of their weight, length, and head circumference at
enrollment, and also when they reached 3 and 6 months of age. There were no
significant differences between the weight (at 3 months: P=0.10; at 6 months: P=0.43),
length (at 3 months: P=0.95; at 6 months: P=0.56), and head circumference (at 3
months: P=0.32; at 6 months: P=0.22) measurements of between the infants of these
two groups. One of the major strengths of the study was that the nurses had paid
regular visits to the infants, and had collected many primary data such as weight,
length, head circumference, and compliance levels at each visit. This enhanced the
accuracy of the primary data. Another strength of this study was that it had a follow-up
rate of 100%. However, study had a small sample size and had sourced all the
participants from the same hospital. This lowered the external validity of the study. In
addition, the commercial availability of these two types of formula used in the study
was not discussed. This also limited the generalizability of the study result.
For Grant et. al. (2005, +quality); Han et. al. (2011, +quality); Zhou et. al. (2014,
+quality); and Xu et. al. (2015, +quality) a Graded Conclusion Statement suggests that
feeding healthy, term, infants of different ethnicities between 2 weeks to 12 months of
age with goat’s milk infant formula compared to cow’s milk infant formula did not
yield any different growth outcomes in weight, length, and head circumference. Grade:
Razafindrakoto et al. (1994, +quality) conducted a double-blind RTC on 30
malnourished kids of 1-5 years old in Madagascar. The study duration was 15 days.
The children were randomized and divided into two groups. The intervention group
received high energy goat’s milk powder, and the control group received high energy
cow’s milk powder. No differences in weight-for-height Z score (P>0.05, specific P–
values were not included in the article) was found between the two groups of children.
The major strength of study was that it was conducted in a hospital setting. The level
of study control and participant compliance should be high under the hospital setting.
In addition, the actual intake after each meal was always, recorded, likely by a trained
nurse. These factors increased the accuracy of the primary data and enhanced internal
validity. One of the major weaknesses of this study was its short duration of 15 days.
The intervention duration of 15 days might not be long enough because the
participants were all malnourished and had a fairly low body weight to start with (41).
Even after 15 days of intervention, the average weight of the participants were still
much lower than, or on the lower side of the WHO child growth standard (WHO,
2009). This showed that these children might need longer period to recover. If a longer
study duration was given, different growth result or outcome might occur. In addition,
the sample size of this study was also small (Razafindrakoto, 1994). These factors
decreased the internal and external validity of the study.
For Razafindrakoto et. al. (1994, +quality) a graded conclusion statement suggests that
when comparing the effects of the consumption of high energy goat’s milk powder and
high energy cow’s milk powder for 15 days in malnourished children between 1-5 years
of age in Madagascar, both groups showed the same level of improvements in their
weight-for-height Z score. Grade: III
Bovine growth hormone: human food safety evaluation
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), based to the evidence based investigation,
have determined that the usage of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH) in dairy
cattle does not increase health risk to people. Bovine GH is not biologically active in
humans, and oral toxicity studies have demonstrated that rbGH is not orally active in rats,
a species receptive to parenterally administered bGH. Recombinant bGH management
creates an escalation in the concentration of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) in cow’s
milk. Though, oral toxicity studies have shown that bovine IGF-I lacks oral activity in
rats. Moreover, the concentration of IGF-I in milk of rbGH-treated cows is in the normal
physiological range originated in human breast milk, and IGF-I is denatured under
situations used to process cow’s milk for infant formula. Based on estimates of the
amount of protein absorbed intact in humans and the concentration of IGF-I in cow’s milk
during rbGH treatment, biologically significant levels of intact IGF-I could not be
absorbed (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/249/4971/875 ).
Conclusion and Recommendations
Currently goat milk intake and production rises internationally as people identify the
advantage of goat milk. It is well known that goat milk has high nutritional value than
other species of animals, where there is adequate browse and water supply and they are
mainly raised in rangelands in semi deserts and sub tropic conditions. Goat has the
ability to produce milk of good composition and quality for human consumption. These
compositions of milk are fat, protein, ash, vitamins, lactose and enzymes. While it is
recognised that goat can produce milk which have high nutritional value and
composition, various factors including breed, nutritional status, udder size and shape,
body weight and litter size affect the composition and the contents of the milk. Different
inducing factors that cause variation to the milk content are genetics, litter size, season,
and stage of lactation, parity, and daily variation, type of diet, physiological status,
udder health and physiological factors. Furthermore, it also has medicinal value for
human being and is healthy alternative to cow’s milk that may be more easily digested
than regular cow’s milk, particularly to children and those who have sensitive stomachs
to other animals’ milk.
Based to the literature review, the following recommendations are suggested:
- It is appreciated to be mindful of the factors that are affecting the composition
and nutritional value of goat milk as the composition is significant to humans. It
is essential to be familiar about the nutritional value of goat’s milk
- People should be aware of the health benefits of consuming goat milk
- The government should participate in the animal and human health care, and
developing the sector goat production since it very important to improve the
health of the population
- Studies should be conducted on impact of higher chlorine content of Goat milk
for less than one year infants.
- Most of the world’s population drinks goat milk.
- Goat milk is more digestible because the fat molecules are a smaller size than
those from cow milk – making it easily tolerated by those with compromised
- Goat milk has less cream separation because of smaller fat molecules.
- Goat milk contains the precursor to vitamin A in the milk fat that allows it to be
readily available for use by the body.
- Goat milk is closer to human milk and is more easily accepted especially by
those young or frail.
- Goat milk does not form mucous and is better accepted by asthmatics and those
- Goat milk contains more chlorine, fluorine, and silicon than any other domestic
livestock. Chlorine and fluorine are natural germicides and fluorine assists in
- Goat milk contains 2% curd, which precipitates in the stomach. Cow milk is
- Goat milk is tolerated by a compromised/damaged liver because of the smaller
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