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J Dairy Sci. 2011 Jun;94(6):2752-61. doi: 10.3168/jds.2010-4043.

Goat milk during iron repletion improves bone turnover impaired by severe iron deficiency.

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Department of Physiology and Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, University of Granada, E-18071 Granada, Spain.


The effect of goat or cow milk-based diets, with either normal Fe content or an Fe overload, on bone turnover and the mineralization process was studied in control and anemic rats during chronic Fe repletion. One hundred eighty male Wistar rats were studied during a pre-experimental period of 40 d in which they were randomly divided into 2 groups, a control group receiving the AIN-93G diet with normal Fe content (45 mg/kg of diet) and the Fe-deficient group receiving the AIN-93G diet with low Fe content (5mg/kg of diet) for 40 d. After the pre-experimental period, the rats were fed for 10, 30, or 50 d with goat or cow milk-based diets with a normal Fe content (45 mg/kg of diet) or an Fe overload (450 mg/kg of diet). In anemic rats, goat milk with normal Fe content increased levels of the biomarker of bone formation N-terminal propeptides of type I procollagen and diminished parathyroid hormone levels after only 10 d of supplying this diet, indicating the beginning of restoration of the bone demineralization induced by the anemia, which was not observed with cow milk. After 30 d of supplying the milk-based diets with normal Fe content or an Fe overload, biomarkers of bone formation and bone resorption were not different between control and anemic rats, indicating that the bone demineralization induced by the Fe-deficiency anemia had recovered, although the process of stabilization of bone turnover began earlier in the animals fed goat milk. In addition, a higher Ca deposit was observed in femur, which positively affects bone mineralization, as well as an increase of Fe in sternum, which indicates that the hematopoietic process essentially recovered earlier on the goat milk diet compared with the cow milk diet.

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