Equidae milk promises substitutes for cow and human breast milk


Abstract: Milk is the most nourishing natural biofluid. Milk bioactives contribute significantly to meeting nutrient requirements while minimizing the risks of cancers, traumas, and metabolic complexities. Some mothers may not be able to feed their infants breast milk for a prolonged period. Very young infants and the elderly may be intolerant to cow milk and its proteins and cholesterol. Thus, viable substitutes are needed to complement human breast milk in such cases. This review describes the most significant research findings to date and highlights the special nutritional and health properties of donkey and mare milks as promising substitutes for cow and human milks. Donkey and mare milks have similar biophysical and biochemical characteristics to human milk. Thus, their consumption can minimize allergies, hyperlipidemia, and related abnormalities occurring with cow milk consumption, particularly in infants, children, and the elderly. Despite the limited Equidae dairy production and research data, the emerging perspectives should fuel more research that will form the base for commercial investments in breeding dairy Equidae and manufacturing value-added Equidae dairy products. Effective education and renewed data dissemination are among the requirements for developing the unbiased science of cow, human, and Equidae milk. These are to ensure adequate public awareness of livestock milk's nutritional and functional values and its contribution to maintaining optimum human health.

Keywords: Milk, human, breast, donkey, mare, health

Full Text: PDF