Benefits of Goat Milk vs. Cow Milk

by Dr. Thomas Cooke on August 20, 2010

Free range goats

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.

Thomas R. 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.

  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 []

{ 194 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann June 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm

The very best sweet pancakes ‘crepes’ are made with goats milk ,eaten at once they are delicious and just as good from the freezer

Reply

Anna Coralee June 9, 2013 at 9:43 am

I love goat milk and can’t imaging ever going back. It’s mainly the growth hormone that naturally occurs in cows milk that I almost feel I can pick up on now when I have cows milk after month of drinking goats milk only. I’ve always loved cheese (in small doses) and was over the moon when I found goats Camembert at my local Sainsburys!
As for the milk I buy St. Helen’s whole milk but whenever I can I order raw natural biodynamic goat milk from red23.co.uk – the absolute best in my humble opinion!

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Trent June 12, 2013 at 11:25 am

I drink both cow and goat milk, I have cows milk for visitors and just because I like to drink it also, I like dairy products in general, but I prefer goat milk to cow milk. I buy an unhomogenized variety that is in a 1 litre carton. I buy cow milk yogurt, and organic unhomogenized cow milk, but I prefer the taste of goat milk.

So after drinking it for quite a while I can definitely attest to he health benifits of fresh dairy and goats milk inparticular. I think goats milk goes great in a cup of tea or just a glass on it’s own. I prefer the taste of goats milk and I like to support the goat dairies in Australia, as I think goat milk is a good product and people should try it. I don’t like the fact that a lot of regular cows milks have had the cream processed throughout the product it tastes quite bad in my opinion, whenever goats milk in a carton (shake before use) is available I get it, it tastes great and is a fresh natural product.

Should be more of it available. I tell everyone give it a try, in my opinion it’s the best tasting milk.

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Pamsey June 24, 2013 at 10:32 am

I drink a lot of tea with cows milk in it…have yoghurts for breakfast with cereals and enjoy ice-cream on some nights after dinner. I’m going down with colds now every 3 months could this be a sign that its not agreeing with me anymore. I used to be down with colds all the time as a child and mom and dad put me on goats milk which calmed them down a lot…maybe a sign to go back on goats milk?

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Geraldine Radovanovich August 1, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I have the same problem. If I drink more than three Chai lattes with cows milk or goat milk I start getting cold symptoms. I also have keifer ( cow) in my breakfast at least three times a week. Also eating Icecream adds to the problem. After drinking/ eating a combination of these several times a week I have neck gland swelling and sneezing. If I cut out all of these I feel better. I found drinking cleavers tea for one day the symptoms go very quickly. The Blood group diet has a lot of good information on the physiology of the effects of these products on the immune system. I had been drinking Soy for a few years and became quite ill with bowel symptoms. Stopped drinking soy and recovered within three weeks but felt much better by the end of week one. I think Goat milk in moderation may be the best choice.

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Pamsey June 24, 2013 at 11:10 am

I eat yoghurt and cereals for breakfast, drink tea with cows milk a lot and usually have ice-cream after dinner…I’m finding that about every 3 months I’m down with a cold/flu…could this be caused through the cows milk. When I was young I used to get colds a lot until mom and dad put me on goats milk then they calmed down. Could this be triggering it off again?

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rick December 26, 2013 at 11:42 am

Absolutely. I had chronic sinusitis until I stopped all dairy.

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avis July 20, 2013 at 8:44 pm

How does goats milk affect person who easily has gout/ uric acid?
I started drinking goats milk …not sure if its the milk or not but my toes ache a bit. I found conflicting info online. .. some say it cures gout others say it causes it.

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Joe Stout, MS January 21, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Hi Avis. I’ve never heard of anyone having gout as a result of goat milk. Thanks

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Rolando July 27, 2013 at 9:34 pm

I like goats milk with my post work out protein shakes instead of moo juice. I feel better, more energetic and not sick like I did with cow milk.

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Susan Decourcy August 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm

After suffering from stomach flu I noticed I was always sick after breakfast due to the fact I like milk on my cornflakes etc. Then my aunty told me to change to goat milk and assured me it tasted nice. I’m glad I listen to her because not only it tast good but I’m no longer feeling sick and if I’m not mistaken my skin looks better.
Never going back to cows milk again.
Shdc1.

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Barbara September 4, 2013 at 3:44 am

Both of my kids drank goats milk every day because of allergies to milk. At one time we were getting 6 gallons a week. We also had a recipe for French Vanilla homemade ice cream that is to die for!! Yum!YUM!

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Joe Stout, MS January 21, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Awesome to hear!

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Sonia September 13, 2013 at 5:31 am

One very important question:
Does goat milk&produce contain CHOLESTROL?
Thank you
Sonia

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Joe Stout, MS January 21, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Yes it does. But don’t be scared of cholesterol. We could live without it!

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Dr G Phillips October 23, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I would appreciate reading results of scientific investigations and especially of any disadvantages physiologically. Many thanks, Gerard

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Jodie October 28, 2013 at 8:21 am

I’m a small-time dairy goat breeder, and I love my goat milk products. The milk itself tastes so much nicer than supermarket cow milk. I also make yogurt, cheese, butter, ice cream and kefir. I’m having trouble getting my 10yo to accept goat milk on his cereal, though. Some of this info will hopefully help change his mind :)

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Rod Haan November 4, 2013 at 2:04 am

To Pamsey,
I have been making my ice cream out of goat milk and havent had a cold in over a year ,thats about the time I started drinking goat milk and making ice cream.Also I was wondering if anyone out there knows if goat milk creats much fat that developes into plaque that plugs up arteries.I would appreciate any info on the subject.
Thanks rod Haan

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Natisha January 11, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Heya great blog! Does running a blog like this require a great deal of work?

I have no expertise in programming however I was hoping to start my own blog soon.

Anyhow, should you have any suggestions or techniques for new blog owners please share.
I understand this is off topic nevertheless I simply wanted to
ask. Cheers!

Reply

ToniRenfrow January 18, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Where can I buy goat’s milk?

Reply

Joe Stout, MS January 21, 2014 at 9:11 pm
sandy February 15, 2014 at 12:20 am

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

Reply

Joe Stout, MS February 18, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Hi Sandy,

These two would be ideal: Capra Mineral Whey & CapraFlex

Reply

sandy February 20, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Thank you, Sandy

Reply

ling han February 18, 2014 at 8:05 am

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.

Reply

Joe Stout, MS February 18, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Yes you can Ling!

Reply

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