August 10, 2007/Biotech Law Weekly-- Research carried out at the Department of Physiology of the University of Granada (UGR) has revealed that goats’ milk has more beneficial properties to health than cows’ milk. Among these properties it helps to prevent ferropenic anaemia (iron deficiency) and bone demineralization (softening of the bones).

This project, conducted by Doctor Javier Díaz Castro and directed by professors Margarita Sánchez Campos, Mª Inmaculada López Aliaga and Mª José Muñoz Alférez, focuses on the comparison between the nutritional properties of goats’ milk and cows’ milk, both with normal calcium content and calcium enriched, against the bioavailability of iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. To carry out this study, the metabolic balance technique has been used both in rats with experimentally induced nutritional ferropenic anaemia and in a control group of rats.

In order to know how the nutritive utilisation of these minerals may affect their metabolic distribution and destination, the UGR researcher has determined the concentration of these minerals in the different organs involved in their homeostatic regulation and different haematological parameters in relation to the metabolism of the minerals.

Better Results with Goats’ Milk
Results obtained in the study reveal that ferropenic anaemia and bone demineralixation caused by this pathology have a better recovery with goats’ milk. Due to the higher bioavailability of iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, the restoration of altered haematological parameters and the better levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH), a hormone that regulates the calcium balance in the organism was found in the rats that consumed this food.

Javier Díaz Castro points out that the inclusion of goats’ milk with normal or double calcium content in the diet “favors digestive and metabolic utilization of iron, calcium and phosphorus and their deposit in target organs -- parts of the organism to which these minerals are preferably sent -- involved in their homeostatic regulation”.

According to this researcher, all these conclusions reveal that regular consumption of goats’ milk -– a natural food with highly beneficial nutritional characteristics -- “has positive effects on mineral metabolism, recovery from ferropenic anaemia and bone mineralisation in rats. In addition, and unlike observations in cows ’ milk, its calcium enrichment does not interfere in the bioavailability of the minerals studied.”

Although there is no doubt that these findings may be a base for further in depth study of the multiple health benefits of goats’ milk, the UGR [] researcher warns that “studies in humans are still required in order to confirm the findings obtained in rats and to promote goats ’ milk consumption both in the general population and in the population affected by nutritional ferropenic anaemia and pathologies related to bone demineralisation." Part of the results of this research has been published in the prestigious scientific journals International Dairy Journal and Journal Dairy Science.

From the August 13, 2007, Prepared Foods e-Flash