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Goat Milk: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction: 

If you are searching for an alternative source for cow milk, one of the best alternatives is goat milk. Goat milk is considered one of the nutraceutical health drinks and is rich in oligosaccharides (Derived from lactose). It is widely used to produce different types of cheese and yoghurt. In several countries, goat farming is essential for their livelihood, mostly in the Middle East and the Mediterranean regions. Goats are considered as “Cow of Poor Man”. Around 49% of total world goat milk is produced by Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sudan. Goat’s milk has a soft, creamy texture and is rich in vitamin and mineral content. Therefore, it may be better than cow milk as it is easier to digest.1 Let us discuss the importance of goat milk.  

goat milk with goat in background

Did you know?

  • Goat milk is a rich source of essential nutrients such as calcium, protein, and vitamins. source: NIH
  • Goat milk has a higher concentration of medium-chain fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. source: NCBI
  • Goat milk contains higher levels of certain minerals, such as selenium and zinc, compared to cow milk. source: Pubmed
  • Goat milk is often used in the production of specialty cheeses, such as feta and chèvre. source: Dairy Council of California

Nutritional Value of Goat Milk: 

Goat milk contains the following nutrients in it: 

Nutrient Amount per 100 g 
Protein 3.56 g 
Fats 4.14 g 
Carbohydrates 4.45 g 
Water  87 g 
Energy 69 kcal 
Sugar 4.45 g 
Iron 0.05 mg 
Calcium 134 mg 
Potassium 204 mg 
Magnesium 14 mg 
Phosphorus 111 mg 
Sodium 50 mg 
Copper 0.046 mg 
Zinc 0.3 mg 
Manganese 0.018 mg 
Selenium 1.4 µg 
Vitamin A 57 µg 
Vitamin B1 0.048 mg 
Vitamin B2 0.138 mg 
Vitamin B3 0.277 mg 
Vitamin B5 0.31 mg 
Vitamin B6  0.046 mg 
Vitamin B9 1 µg 
Vitamin B12 0.07 µg 
Vitamin C  1.3 mg 
Vitamin D 51 IU 
Vitamin E 0.07 mg 

Table 1: Nutrients present in 100g of goat milk.2 

Also Read: Almond Milk: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Dr. Rajeev Singh

Properties of Goat Milk:  

Goat milk might possess the following properties:   

  • It may act as antioxidant 
  • It might act as an anti-inflammatory  
  • It may act as anti-mucosal 
  • It may boost the immunity 
  • It might act as anticancer 
  • It might act as prebiotics1 
  • It may act as anti-microbial3 

Also Read: Soy Milk: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

Potential Uses of Goat Milk for Overall Health:  

Goat milk contains several nutrients that may be beneficial to the human body and some of the potential uses of goat milk is: 

1. Potential uses of goat milk for heart 

Goat milk might contain antioxidants that may inhibit low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is also called bad cholesterol. Goat milk contains medium chain triglyceride (MCT), monosaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which might be beneficial for heart-related diseases. It may have low levels of cholesterol when compared to cow milk and a balanced fatty acid profile. The presence of all these compounds may prevent heart diseases like heart attack, atherosclerosis, and stroke.1 If you have serious heart problems consult the doctor and take proper medication. Do not self-medicate.  

2. Potential uses of goat milk for boosting immunity 

Selenium is one of the key nutrients that is involved in the proper functioning of the immune system. This nutrient is present in cow milk in small amounts and more amount of selenium is present in goat milk. Therefore, goat milk may act as an immunity booster and might help in protecting a person from diseases. Recent studies have shown that goat milk/Bakri ka dudh may have immunomodulatory effects in both animal and human studies.1 However, more studies are required to claim the importance of goat milk.  

3. Potential uses of goat milk as a prebiotic 

Goat milk contains a high level of oligosaccharides (carbohydrates) derived from lactose which act as a prebiotic. We all know that prebiotics in the stomach may improve the health of the digestive system. They promote bifidobacterial (good bacteria) in the intestine, which may benefit other activities such as stimulating immunity, preventing infection, fighting against cancer, lowering cholesterol, and improving lactose maldigestion.1 However, more studies are required to claim all these benefits of goat milk on humans.  

4. Potential uses of goat milk for cancer 

Goat milk contains high levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been reported that it may have anticancer properties in animal models and human cancer cells. The CLA mechanism to inhibit cancer growth is not yet understood fully and more research is required. However, the antioxidant effect and another related mechanism of fermented goat milk might benefit cancer.1 Do not self-medicate. Cancer is a serious condition and must be properly diagnosed and treated by a doctor.  

5. Potential uses of goat milk for bone 

In naturopathic medicine, cows are called calcium animals and goats are referred to as bio-organic sodium animals. This bio-organic sodium is a crucial element that may maintain joint movement. Goat milk may provide 35% of the daily calcium needed in a cup. At the same time, a cup of goat milk may provide 20% of the daily needs of vitamin B2. It also contains phosphorus and high level of vitamin B12 and potassium.1 If you have any bone-related problems consult your doctor and do not self-medicate.  

6. Potential uses of goat milk for diabetes 

In a study, kefir made from goat and soy milk may improve pancreatic β cells, reduce glucose levels in the blood, and exhibit an anti-diabetic effect. Therefore, it might be helpful for diabetes. However, human studies are needed to confirm its effectiveness.4 Do not self-medicate. Diabetes is a serious condition and must be properly diagnosed and treated by a doctor.  

Though there are studies that show the potential uses of goat’s milk in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of goat’s milk on human health.  

In an interesting study, it was seen that goat milk might be beneficial for people suffering from malabsorption syndrome. The results suggest that goat milk may have benefits for the metabolism of iron and copper, especially in cases of malabsorption syndrome. So, if you’re looking for milk that might be better for your body’s iron and copper absorption, goat milk could be worth considering. However, further research is needed to understand how these findings translate to humans.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: Buffalo Milk: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

How to Use Goat Milk: 

Goat milk is rich in vitamins and minerals which is also called a functional and nutraceutical drink. You can drink your goat milk just like that. You can also substitute your regular milk with goat milk to make delicious recipes like tea, coffee, and cake. However, it is important that you seek advice from your doctor before taking goat milk.  

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking a large amount of goat milk or any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

In my view, one great advantage of goat’s milk is that it might be a suitable alternative for people who have trouble digesting cow’s milk. Some individuals who experience issues with cow’s milk find that they may drink goat’s milk without any problems. This might be because goat’s milk contains 7% less lactose, compared to cow’s milk.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Side Effects of Goat Milk: 

In a few cases, people who are allergic to cow milk might also be allergic to goat milk. Certain proteins in goat milk are similar to that of cow milk and this may develop an allergy to goat milk. Also, if a person drinks unpasteurized goat milk, it can cause serious side effects such as food poisoning.5,6  

According to what I’ve noticed, goat milk might provide relief for those who are sensitive to mucus production or experience respiratory discomfort. Goat milk may have the advantage of not causing mucus or phlegm production, which might be beneficial for individuals with asthma or allergies.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Also Read: What is Kefir? A Comprehensive Guide to Its Health Benefits

Precautions to Take with Goat Milk: 

You must consume goat milk after knowing that it is pasteurized. Unpasteurized goat milk can cause severe health issues. Also, people allergic to goat milk should avoid drinking goat milk or food items containing goat milk.5,6 It is essential that you take goat milk after consulting your doctor and be cautious.  

From what I have seen, goat milk has high levels of silicon, fluorine, and chlorine, potentially exceeding other household cattle. These elements might have their own unique benefits. Chlorine and fluorine are natural germicides, which means they might help fight against harmful bacteria and germs. Additionally, fluorine is potentially believed to play a role in warding off diabetes.

Dr. Anuja Bodhare, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

Goat milk might react with certain medicines and affect their action. However, there is not much information available on the interaction of goat milk with medicines. For this reason, more studies are required to check its effects on any medicines. Therefore, consult your doctor after knowing it’s safer to consume goat milk, mainly if you are under medications. 

Also Read: The Health Impact: Understanding Organic Milk Benefits

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What are the benefits of goat milk?

Goat milk might be helpful against diabetes, cancer, atherosclerosis, and heart attack. However, these effects must be confirmed with human studies. Therefore, do not self-medicate and consult your doctor before taking goat milk.1,4 

Is goat milk good for the skin? 

Goat milk might be good for the skin, which is why it is now used in skin care, beauty, and cosmetic products.7 However, consume goat milk after a doctor’s recommendation. 

Is goat milk good for diabetes? 

Goat milk might be good for diabetes. In an animal model, goat milk exhibited an anti-diabetic effect. However, human studies are needed to confirm that goat milk is helpful for diabetes.4 Diabetes must be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Do not self-medicate. 

Is goat milk good for the heart? 

Goat milk might be good for the heart as it may balance the fatty acid profile and fight against heart-related diseases.1 

What are the side effects of goat milk? 

Some people are allergic to goat milk which may cause a severe allergic reaction. Therefore, such people should not consume goat milk.5 Therefore, consult your doctor before taking goat milk. 

References: 

  1. Lad S, Aparnathi K, Mehta B, Velpula S. Goat Milk in Human Nutrition and Health – A Review. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences [Internet]. 2017;6(5):1781-1792. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bhavbhuti-Mehta/publication/317021326_Goat_Milk_in_Human_Nutrition_and_Health_-_A_Review/links/5931404345851553b68c588f/Goat-Milk-in-Human-Nutrition-and-Health-A-Review.pdf  
  1. Milk, goat, fluid, with added vitamin D [Internet]. FoodData Central. 2022. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171278/nutrients  
  1. Yadav A, Singh J, Yadav S. Composition, nutritional and therapeutic values of goat milk: A review. Asian Journal of Dairy and Food Research [Internet]. 2016;35(2). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303721433_Composition_nutritional_and_therapeutic_values_of_goat_milk_A_review  
  1. Hammam A, Salman S, Elfaruk M, Alsaleem K. Goat Milk: Compositional, Technological, Nutritional, and Therapeutic Aspects. [Internet]. 2021; Available from: https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202108.0097/v1  
  1. Milk – Better Health Channel [Internet]. Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. 2022. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/milk  
  1. Unpasteurized Milk Can Pose a Serious Health Risk [Internet]. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2022. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/dangers-raw-milk-unpasteurized-milk-can-pose-serious-health-risk  
  1. Nutritional and Health Aspects of Goat Milk Consumption [Internet]. Dergipark.org.tr. 2015. Available from: https://dergipark.org.tr/tr/download/article-file/1186419  

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