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A Systematic Review on the Beneficial Effects of Goat Milk on Iron Deficiency Anaemia

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Background: Iron deficiency anaemia is one of the most prevalent nutritional deficiencies in the world which indicates poor nutrition and health. It is characterized by the reduction or absence of serum iron as well as iron stores in the body. Supplementation of calcium rich diet such as animals’ milk is known to have inhibitory effect on iron bioavailability. However, recent studies have found that goat’s milk does not only increase iron bioavailability in iron deficiency anaemia but also minimized the interference of iron absorption. This systematic review aims to evaluate the potential of goat’s milk as a treatment for iron deficiency anaemia. Methods: The search was conducted for relevant articles published in four electronic indexed databases namely Medline, Ovid, Scopus, and PubMed. Relevant reviews, manuscripts and bibliographies of screened studies were searched using Google search engine. Data reporting involved systematic reviews and report of the study according to PRISMA guidelines. Results: A total of eight articles were found to meet the inclusion criteria. It was reported that iron deficient rats treated with goat’s milk showed increased hemoglobin regeneration efficiencies. This was evidenced by increased serum haemoglobin, red blood cell count, packed cell volume, haematocrit and mean cell volume. The DMT-1 receptor in the small intestine was also up-regulated indicating induction of erythropoiesis. These findings were more significant with whole goat’s milk than skim powdered goat’s milk. In iron deficient subjects treated with iron therapy, iron bioavailability was not affected with goat’s milk supplementation whereas it was significantly low with cow’s milk. The serum iron, ferritin, hepcidin levels as well as iron stores in liver, spleen and bone marrow were improved when treated with goat’s milk. In normal rats, iron stores were reduced in the group treated with cow’s milk and high calcium diet but not in the group supplemented with goat’s milk and high calcium diet. Conclusion: This review identified several reports on the beneficial effect of goat milk in iron deficiency anaemia. The findings support the hypothesis that goat’s milk is beneficial in iron deficiency anaemia. The diet of iron deficient subjects is recommended to include goat’s milk as the hemoglobin regeneration efficiencies as well as the iron store are increased. It was also noted that goat’s milk did not interfere with iron absorption and it improves the metabolism and digestion of calcium.
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Keywords: Anaemia; Goat’; Haemoglobin; Iron Deficiency; Milk; Systematic Review

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Pandan Indah, Kuala Lumpur, 55100, Malaysia

Publication date: May 1, 2017

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