Is goat’s milk better for your gut?
The answer is probably.
The reason is three-fold. First, it is lower in the sugar lactose which can be difficult for some people to digest. Our ability to digest lactose tends to decrease as we age. Likewise, some individuals have a genetic pre-disposition to being lactose intolerant as they do not produce of the digestive enzyme lactase.
Goat milk is about 12 percent lower in lactose than cow’s milk. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it also happens to have the prebiotic fiber oligosaccharides in it as well. These prebiotic fibers help to digest the lactose in the goat’s milk making it less inflammatory than cow’s milk. Likewise, if you choose a fermented goat milk such as kefir or yogurt, you will also get a gut-healthy dose of probiotics to go along with the prebiotic fiber.
Second, goat milk is also low in a protein allergen, A1. A1 casein protein is high in the milk form Holstein and Friesian cows which are typically used in America for dairy productions. These A1 proteins are difficult to digest and can cause inflammation in the gut along with extra-gastrointestinal symptoms such as increased mucus production, hives and even acne.
Finally, goat milk has more of the smaller, medium chain fat globules than cow’s milk which are easier to digest than the larger fat molecules present in cow’s milk. These medium-chain fats are readily metabolized and used for energy instead of being stored as fat. An added benefit is that these medium-chain fats also help to boost the “good” HDL cholesterol which in turn keeps the “bad” LDL cholesterol in check.
Additional benefits to gut and overall health are that the vitamins and minerals in goat milk have a higher bioavailability than those in cow’s milk. Both are excellent sources of vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus and riboflavin however, we can use more of the nutrients from goat’s milk than we can from cow’s milk.
Why not opt for plant milks instead of cow’s milk or goat’s milk? The huge variety that are out there may certainly be a good option for those who do not tolerate cow’s milk. A drawback for a lot of them is they tend to be considerably lower in protein than cow or goat milk. Likewise, some can have fillers, thickeners and gums such as carrageenan which is a known gut disruptor for some.
If you decide to give goat’s milk a try, choose the varieties that are from organic pasture raised goats that have not been treated with antibiotics or growth hormones.