Calcium-enriched goats' milk aids recovery of iron status better than calcium-enriched cows' milk, in rats with nutritional ferropenic anaemia

J Dairy Res. 2008 May;75(2):153-9. doi: 10.1017/S0022029908003178.


Ca-Fe interactions are known, but no studies are available about the effects of Ca-enriched goat or cow milk on Fe status in nutritional ferropenic anaemia (NFA). To examine this matter, control and Fe-deficient rats were fed for 14 d with goat or cow milk diets containing either normal or high Ca content (5000 or 10,000 mg/kg diet), and different indices and parameters related to iron status were measured. The apparent digestibility coefficient (ADC) and the Fe retention/intake (R/I) ratio were higher in control and anaemic rats fed goat milk diet (G diet), despite high-Ca content. Ca enrichment decreased Fe stores in liver and sternum in anaemic rats fed cow milk diet (C diet), however G diet did not modify Fe content in the organs studied in control and anaemic rats. In anaemic rats, Ca-supplementation decreased haematocrit, but platelets and serum Fe were not affected, however, in control rats platelets increased except for Ca-enriched G diet, this fact reveals that Ca-Fe interaction is minimized with G diet. Serum ferritin was always higher in rats fed G vs. C diet, both in control and anaemic rats fed either normal or Ca-enriched diets. Ca-supplementation decreased ferritin levels in control and anaemic rats fed C diet and also, though to a lesser extent, in those given the G diet. This indicates that with this G diet there is a better recovery of body Fe stores in anaemic rats, despite Ca-supplementation. In this study it is noteworthy that despite high Ca content, a goat milk diet resulted in minimal Ca-Fe interactions and did not adversely affect Fe status in rats with NFA.

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / therapy*
  • Animal Feed
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Calcium / analysis*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Goats
  • Male
  • Milk*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Calcium