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.

Dr. Thomas Cooke
Doctor of Osteopathy

Graduated in 1976 from Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. For over thirty years Dr. Cooke has been caring for patients in a culture of holistic treatment, practicing a preventative illness approach, while teaching and encouraging patients the importance of wellness care. Dr. Cooke did his internship at Stevens Park Hospital in Dallas TX. The past twenty five years his private practice, family medicine, has been in Centralia/Chehalis, WA. “Health care is an exciting time with technological advances and yet with these scholarly developments I’m still amazed at how our bodies try and compensate, correct and facilitate the healing process under some extreme circumstances.”

  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 []

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

  1. Pingback: Homemade Almond Milk | Eating Real, Being Real

  2. sandy says:

    Hi, Can you recommend a particular product (whey, etc) for someone
    with poor bone density. I read about Dr.Luteyn recommending your products to her patients with poor bone density
    but not sure which one would be beneficial.
    Thank you,

        • sandy says:

          Hi Joe,
          I tried taking Capra whey (you suggested) and I do take enzymes. I started using 2 Tablespoons as directed on the package and had to drop to 1 Tb. I am lactose intolerant but I am continuing to use the goat whey. I have added a lactade pill to help with the side effects.
          Do you think this small amt will help bone density??
          Thank you, Sandy

          • Judy says:

            There is not any appreciable lactose in goat’s milk so you do not need to take lactaid or anything for “side effects.”

            Here is one of my favorite goat’s milk ice cream recipes
            1 cup sugar
            1 cup goat’s milk
            1 tsp vanilla
            2 cups cream (can be skimmed and saved frozen until have enough) I have made with 3 cups milk instead and it is good but not quite as rich.
            Freeze using your favorite ice cream maker.

  3. ling han says:

    May i know if i have heartburn and gastritis problem, can i drink goat milk instead. I cannot take cow milk, chocolate drink, oat and cereal.

  4. Sunshine says:

    I have always been a bit funny about drinking goat’s milk. Maybe it’s their creepy eyes or bony bodies but I’ve always just thought goats were better left alone. I don’t drink cow’s milk except in coffee but I do love cheese and yogurt. I am well aware that dairy, wheat, gluten, sugar, coffee, booze are just a few of the things I don’t digest well but it seems like there’s nothing left to eat. Therefore I have been experimenting with baking without most of these ingredients. I tried goat’s milk in my rice bread and I was pleasantly surprised! It tasted really good and didn’t make me sick. Since I pretty much have to cut out everything but meat and berries, it’s good to know there are some decent substitutes out there. Next I’m going to try some goat’s cheese and see how it goes…

  5. Paul says:

    With the soon collapse of the dollar, and the stock market crash upon us, would it not be a good idea to have a couple of goats for milk instead of a couple of cows? since the stores will be out of milk?

  6. Ali Sparkes says:

    Thanks for this info. I’d ling known about the problems with cow milks and often advise patients to abstain especially those with skin problems or food intolerances on trial basis.
    I’ve suggested alternates such as soy and rice milk, but have never been quite sure if the benefits of goat milk. I’m off to buy my first one to try! don’t suppose you ship:)

  7. W Stuart McCann says:

    For those looking for goats milk, you will find it at Woolworths. Not my favourite store but, when needs must! I love it and when I read all the reports I can understand why.

  8. nobantu says:

    my mum was told both her hip bones are soft and her left leg is so painful ,she handling sense her knee and her foot is always cold.she has difficuties in walking proparely and she was given the goat milk samplement just yesterday and im wondering would that help her and how so will she be able to see the results

  9. jan says:

    Im suffering with terrible skin condition on my face. Tightness, inflamed, itchy and puffiness. Friend suggested I drink goats milk. She aid the properties in the goats milk will help. She had similar condition as a child and her mother started giving her goats milk and it helped clear it up.Im hoping it will do the same.

    • Annie says:

      Drink it and buy goat soap. Chiva’s makes an excellent bar. It works. Amazingly. And FAST. They sell goatmilk lotion and creams too. I ordered online as I live farrrr away from them.

  10. Nick Hannah says:

    I have suffered chronic cattarh in the mornings and a wheezy chest and cough for about a year. Yesterday I replaced cows milk products, yoghurts and ice cream, milk and cheese with goats.
    Wow, what a difference this morning after only one day, much better..

  11. susan cole says:

    I’m drinking goat milk and I buy goat cheese only now . I’ve lost weight every week and I have not been sick at all . I feel great! Now I’m going to make ice cream with it . Thanks for the tip!

  12. shawn says:

    i have 3 goats 2 nubians and a nubian alpine milker. she puts out 1 gal.a day,so i have been trying to find ways of using it. my wife hates the cheese,hates the milk ,and hates the yogurt and kefir. i eat anything but admit goats milk smells and tastes like goat hair. i have found a way to make it taste great. i do the low carb thing so i know milk is mostly carbs but the nutritional benefits are high so i use it.
    here is the secret way to make goat milk taste good. low carb people all know as everyone should, coconut oil is excellent. so take a spoon of coconut oil 1/2 cup stinky goat milk and 2 drops vanilla some sweetener(i use stevia i grow )1 cup hot coffee and blend. (i use the silver bullet) it comes out foamy sweet and no goat taste.
    you can do hot or cold with ice. if you do cold make sure you use melted coconut oil . it makes a darn good milkshake on those hot days .
    and low carbs. i have been droppin the pounds(down 18 in 2 1/2weeks) when nothing else worked and i feel much better 33 so-so pull-ups and adding at 53yrs.

    • Nelda says:

      If your milk is bad tasting you may be doing something wrong. How is your sanitation ? Are you cooling the milk down rapidly as soon as you milk. You should strain your milk and cool it down quickly, you can use cold running water to cool it. If your milk is handled properly and your goats are eating a good diet your milk should not have a strong taste. Nubians are known for their great tasting milk.

  13. Mike says:

    Goats milk is widly available in Australia from the two major supermarkets and a large network of health food shops. My grandmother attested her good health and longevity ,95 to being raised on goats milk. I believe variety is the best diet. Not too much of anything and a lot of vegetables after all it is obvious looking at most people now that as a society that we eat too much.

  14. Mary says:

    This was a very informative article. Thanks for all the info on goats milk. I’m a student of T Colin Campbell and colleagues, who all express the dangers of casein in dairy, probably one of the most serious animal protein carcinogens, and the need to cut out ALL dairy from the diet. I will point out that the 27 years of study Dr. Campbell did was based on the effects of cow’s milk casein, no reference to goats milk casein. The research showed that they could actually turn cancer tumors on and off by keeping the animal protein casein to 5% of the diet of lab animals. If they gave them more than 5% of casein in their daily diets, the tumors would redevelop.

    My question , is there less of the animal protein-casein in goats milk?

    Although I had no problem giving up animal protein in the form of meat, eggs and almost all cows milk products…..I really miss my cheese. I would really be interested in your thoughts. I am a colon cancer survivor and I now follow a plant based whole food regime and exercise regularly. So far, so good. I have also had great improvement n lipids as well. Thanks and will look forward to your advice.

  15. Jeffrey Stout says:

    In one of your fact sheets you state the goat milk protein is superior to cows milk on digestion rate. Can you supply the peer reviewed published study demonstrating that claim?
    Dr. Stout

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  17. Mike says:

    I started giving my son goat’s milk a few months after he was born. We tried every formula on the market and he was very sick. When born he was 10 lbs by the time he was 2 months old he was close to 6 lbs he couldn’t hold any formula down and the screaming pain he was doing was unbearable to hear. He was seen by 3 different doctors and they could figure out the issue. His doctor said we could try Goats milk it is hard to find but to try it. I was able to find it at a market hour and half away and within a day he had no more issues. I was able to find a farm near my home that sells it. It has been a life saver. This farm sells milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. I would recommend goats milk for anyone dealing with an allergy. Most Walmarts sell it now in the dairy section by the quart.

  18. Janet says:

    My second son was put onto goats milk at around 3 weeks of age and his crying and wind improved. From the goat dairy owners I added Bengers (old fashioned digestive enzymes) I had a perfect baby then – no more wind a happy fed baby every 4 hours.
    Now I have a grand daughter – so very windy (colic) tried on normal formulae just cried – tried soya (for 2 weeks ) – the same so much disagreement of the Dr and the Health Nurse no baby should be given this until 12 months of age – I put her onto Goats milk – she is better – with a vitamin liquid supplement. I have also given probiotics.

  19. Alan says:

    Lactose intolerance is definitely not a defect or ailment. It is the normal state for lactating animals. Lactose tolerance is a relatively recent evolutionary step made by different groups (and involving a variety of genes) across the world following the introduction of animal husbandry thousand of years ago.

    Nomadic peoples are universally lactose intolerant since they did not take up animal husbandry. The Masai of Kenya keep cattle but are lactose intolerant because they found a cultural method of ‘killing’ the lactose. They drink milk with cow’s blood and so do not need lactose tolerance.

  20. Bethany says:

    Do you think switching my daughter to the homemade goats milk ‘formula’ will clear her eczema? Its so severe it keeps her up at night, she’s covered in blood when she wakes from scratching her face and legs, and she has horrible reactions to all formulas. Shes currently on donor breastmilk but its next to impossible to find a dairy free donor. Shes 8 months.

  21. Pingback: Benefits of Goat Milk Vs Cow Milk | Firestone Creek Farm

    • Alyssa says:

      My daughter tried nursing and just couldn’t produce enough. We now have an almost 2 month old baby granddaughter that is constantly crying and not tolerating formula at all. They have switched it 4 times and the only time we had a happy baby that was doing well was when she was on goats milk. We did goats milk and the Dr. put a stop to that, but we are going back to it because it has been the only thing that she can seem to take and tolerate.

  22. Alyssa says:

    The reason the Dr. put a stop to the goats milk was because of the potassium percentage in goats milk and that it made her dehydrated but then I realized it wasn’t being properly mixed. I have since done research and came upon this site, and we will be going back to goats milk but adding in a vitamin supplement.

  23. Alyssa says:

    Thank you so much. We have some powdered milk but will be getting fresh pasteurized goats milk. How do you mix the recipe with the fresh pasteurized milk. Thank you so much.

  24. Jesi Chrisman says:

    Hi Joe,
    so I’ve doing lots of research on formulas. (unfortunately I can’t breastfeed my baby anymore.) One thing that all these medical professionals say that isn’t good about goats milk is that it lacks folic acid and vit. B-12 which are very essential in babies growth. Will reading through the recipe i didn’t see any products that contain those? Am i missing something or do you have any input on that?
    Jesi & Baby Charlie

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