Bioavailability of iron in goat milk compared with cow milk fed to anemic rats

J Dairy Sci. 1986 Oct;69(10):2608-15. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(86)80708-1.


Bioavailabilities of iron from dehydrated whole and skim goat milk were investigated using iron-deficient rats. Hemoglobin regeneration efficiencies were determined as the percent conversion of dietary iron into hemoglobin. The respective hemoglobin regeneration efficiencies for groups fed whole goat milk, whole cow milk, skim goat milk, and skim cow milk were 50.6, 13.1, 26.0, and 13.0%, indicating that iron bioavailability of goat milk was greater than cow milk. However, rats fed each milk had negative net increases in hemoglobin concentrations, implying that the iron contents of each milk were not adequate. For animals consuming whole goat milk supplemented with ferrous sulfate, the slope relating hemoglobin iron gained versus iron intake was .95. Respective bioavailabilities relative to ferrous sulfate were 54, 14, 28, and 14% for the four sources of milk. Iron bioavailability of goat milk is superior to cow milk when fed to anemic rats.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Hypochromic / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Cattle
  • Goats
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Milk / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Iron