Beneficial effect of goat milk on nutritive utilization of iron and copper in malabsorption syndrome

J Dairy Sci. 2002 Mar;85(3):657-64. doi: 10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(02)74120-9.


The search for diets that improve the digestive and metabolic use of iron and copper in malabsorption syndrome led us to study goat milk for particular nutritional characteristics and compare it with cow milk, which is usually supplied. We studied the metabolism of iron and copper in transected rats (control) and in resected rats (resection of 50% of the distal small intestine). The diets used were the standard diet recommended by the American Institute of Nutrition and diets based on goat or cow milk. Intestinal resection reduced the apparent digestibility coefficient (ADC) of iron in the three diets tested. In the transected and resected rats, the ADC of iron was highest with the goat milk diet, followed by the standard diet and lowest with the cow milk diet. The ADC of copper was not affected by intestinal resection in the animals fed the goat milk diet, and was higher than that in the two groups of animals fed the other diets. Intestinal resection reduced the ADC of copper with the standard diet and the cow milk diet. When both groups of animals were fed the goat milk diet, the deposit of iron in the organs was greater than with those fed the cow milk diet and similar to that in those animals given the standard diet. The copper content in the kidneys was lower in the resected than in the transected animals, except in the case of those fed the goat milk diet, in which it was similar to that of the control (transected) rats. This study shows the beneficial effect of goat milk, with respect to cow milk, on the metabolism of iron and copper in control rats, especially those with malabsorption syndrome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Cattle
  • Copper / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Goats
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism
  • Intestine, Small / surgery
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Milk / chemistry*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Copper
  • Iron