Goat's Milk vs. Cow's Milk...
While the fat content of cow and goat milk is similar, the fat globules in goat milk are smaller, making it easier for your body to digest. (2) Once it reaches your stomach, the protein in goat milk forms a softer curd than cow milk — only about 2 percent of goat milk is curd, compared to about 10 percent in cow milk — helping your body digest it with less irritation than cow milk.
Goat milk is also lower in lactose, or milk sugars, than cow milk. Because many people aren’t as lactose intolerant as they believe — or simply have trouble digesting cow milk and aren’t actually allergic to lactose — goat milk can be a viable option. (3)
Most people who are intolerant of cow milk are actually sensitive to one of the proteins found in it, A1 casein, and lack the ability to digest A1. Additionally, cow milk is the number one allergy among children and can persist throughout adulthood. That’s because it contains more than 20 different allergens (including A1 casein) that can cause allergic reactions — often confused for seasonal allergy symptoms — which can range from hives and runny noses to abdominal cramping and colic in babies. (4, 5)
So what’s the big deal with A1 casein? This protein is highly inflammatory for some people, and inflammation is at the root of most diseases. A1 casein can contribute to gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s, leaky gut and colitis — and some less obvious problems, like acne, autoimmune diseases and skin issues like eczema. (6, 7, 8)
While there are some cows who don’t produce A1 casein, namely Jersey and Guernsey cows, the majority of bovines in the U.S., Western Europe and Australia are Holstein and Fresian, which are A1 casein producers.
On the contrary, milk that contains mostly or exclusively A2 casein produces none of these inflammatory effects. Goat milk contains only A2 casein, making it, protein-wise, the closest milk to human breast milk. (9) In fact, one study suggests that goat milk, when used as the first protein after breastfeeding, is less allergenic for babies than cow milk. (10)
While cow milk is often touted as one of the main calcium-rich foods, there’s no need to worry about not getting enough of calcium when switching to goat milk. It’s actually richer in the mineral, with about 33 percent of the daily recommended value versus 28 percent in cow milk.
Goat milk also has high levels medium-chain fatty acids — 30–35 percent as opposed to 15–20 percent in cow milk. These fatty acids provide an energy boost that isn’t stored as body fat, help lower cholesterol, and can even help treat conditions like coronary diseases and intestinal disorders. (11, 12, 13)
But wait, there’s more! Goat milk helps increase “good” cholesterol levels while reducing the bad ones. In fact, it’s got healing properties similar to olive oil and is recommended for keeping high cholesterol in check. (14)
The fatty acids and triglycerides found in goat milk not only keep your insides running smoothly, but they help you look great on the outside, too. Their moisturizing qualities help keep skin baby soft. Goat milk also has high levels of vitamin A, which can improve your complexion, fight acne and improve overall skin health. In fact, it should be considered one of the home remedies for acne. The lactic acid found in goat milk helps rid your body of dead skin cells and brighten skin tone; no more pasty face! (15)
Because goat milk has a pH level similar to humans, it’s absorbed by the skin with less irritation and helps keep bacteria at bay (goodbye, pimples!).
Moo-ve over, cows. While goat and cow milk might rank similarly for mineral content, goat milk might still be the winner.
That’s because early studies have found that nutrients like iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous were more easily digested and used by the body in goat milk than cow milk. Because of the bioavailability of these minerals, goat milk also looks promising for treatment of nutritional deficiencies like anemia and bone demineralization. (16) In addition, it can help address all-too-common iron deficiency and magnesium deficiency.
In fact, researchers suggest that goat milk should be consumed regularly by individuals with malabsorption issues, anemia, osteoporosis or prolonged treatments with iron supplements.
Regularly consuming goat milk enhances the body’s ability to use iron and boosts regeneration of hemoglobin, making it a safe and natural way to treat osteoporosis and combat anemia. Its high levels of zinc and selenium also help prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
So how does goat milk stack up against cow milk? Take a peek at our cheat sheet:
When you look at how your digestive system works, you can see how a gut problem like leaky gut can so easily crop up. Fortunately, goat milk is easily digestible by the body, making it a great option for those with gastrointestinal problems. Goat milk is also better tolerated by those with lactose issues and doesn’t cause inflammation the way cow milk can. It’s also a great option for children once they’ve moved past breastfeeding, as it contains fewer allergens than cow milk.
Because it’s not as common, goat milk can be substantially more expensive than cow milk, causing sticker shock at the onset. Raw goat milk, the best for you, can be difficult to find outside of health food stores and farmers markets. The taste and smell might not also be pleasing to everyone, particularly those raised with cow milk.
Regular cow milk is cheap and can be found everywhere. If you manage to get your hands on A2 casein cows’ milk from Jersey and Guernsey cows, you can enjoy many of the benefits enjoyed by goat milk drinkers, an excellent option for those who just can’t get used to the taste of goat milk.
A2 cow milk is difficult to come by in many areas and usually has the price tag to prove it. And whether it’s A1 or A2, cow milk is still more difficult for the body to digest, taking hours versus about 30 minutes with goat milk. For those with cow milk allergies — and this is a big group — this type of milk just isn’t an option.
If you have any gastrointestinal issues, leaky gut or irritable bowel syndrome, you might want to keep away from cow milk anyway. If you want to find out if you have such a problem, take my leaky gut test to find out.
Information from: Dr. Axe, Food & Medicine