T Nation

Cow Milk vs Goat Milk, Estrogen, Etc.


Ok, so there's a lot of info floating around here and elsewhere about how in the USA we milk pregnant cows which results in 33x the amount of Estrogen in the milk. This is stemming from a recent study and numerous articles about it. I've seen plenty of threads about this here, and most of what I've seen in response to this study is, "Duh, get grass-fed organic milk," and "Look at all the dudes here who drink milk, they don't have tits or a vagina, and are super swol."

Here's the thing. The grass-fed organic dairies milk pregnant cows too. They basically ALL do this to stay profitable - cows generally produce a calf a year, and since they have the same gestation period as humans (9 months), that means at a given time, more than half of the cows being milked are pregnant. On the flip side of this, there is Goat milk - which is supposed to be just as nutrient dense (if not more so), and have an even higher quality and easier to digest protein than Cow milk.

Furthermore, Goats only have a 5 month gestation period, and have been known to lactate for up to 2 years between kids. The common practice is to keep goats from milking after 3 months into their pregnancy, giving them 2 months to recuperate and bear their young. This leaves them (if they breed once yearly, which is normal) pregnant for only 3 months out of a year as opposed to 7 for cows (cows are also taken off the milking machine for two months), greatly reducing potential exposure to milk from a pregnant animal. Theoretically, this could mean less estrogen.

We basically bend over backwards to do anything possible to increase our T levels, and avoid Soy like the plague because it contains trace amounts of phytoestrogens. Oncologists are now often advising cancer patients to avoid eating milk products because of the hormone content which can cause some cancers to grow. If this is happening, that means we're talking about more than "trace" amounts of hormones, and instead, noticeable exogenous levels with a very real effect on our bodies.

What I haven't seen are the hard facts comparing the alternatives. How much estrogen is in an 8 oz glass of whole cow's milk on average? Goat Milk? Soy Milk? What about IGF-1? (obviously none in Soy) I've been POUNDING the interwebz for days about this and just cannot find the hard data I feel like I need to draw accurate conclusions. If anyone knows where such data might be hiding, or how I can test for estrogens myself, I'd really appreciate it.

Obviously most of us rely on milk products and have for years - the good must outweigh the bad judging by the results of our bodies, but if there's a BETTER solution, I think I'd rather know about it than not, and I suspect Goat milk IS that better solution. That's the hypothesis, anyhow.


Really?? No responses on this? I was hoping to at least get a "dood, goats are totally pussies compared to bulls" response to this. T-Nation, what have you become?


Seems your guess is as good as ours, Knewsom. Personally, I don't drink much milk. I have bought goat milk from time to time when I felt like drinking a glass of milk on the theory that the goats are less intensely factory farmed (since it's such a tiny market compared to cow's milk) and therefore the goat milk won't be nearly as loaded with crap.

I have no idea what kind of milk is better from an estrogen standpoint, other than being sure soy milk would be at the bottom of the list.

The whole factory farming thing is pathetic. I recently found out they add arsenic to commercial chicken feed because it makes the chicken meat look plumper when it's displayed in the store. I was like, "Shit - I eat a whole chicken a day, I'm probably on the verge of arsenic poisoning!" Meanwhile our wonderful FDA is running sting operations on evil Amish raw milk distributors! Glad we have the FDA around to feed us arsenic and protect us from ephedrine and raw milk. More tax money brilliantly spent.


This is very interesting. I had never looked at the particular estrogen issue in milk. I buy organic raw grass fed milk from a local farm and it is something a consume regularly (~1 gallon - 1.5 gallons a week). I will speak with her about this next time I go to pickup to ask whether she milks the pregnant cows. I am also curious about the number you gave (33x) what was that in comparison to? Goats milk, non-pregnant cows milk? I consider myself one who is very interested in food quality and food politics so I find this interesting. Also even though the estrogen levels may be higher in the preggo milk is there any evidence to show that this would have any influence on human hormone levels, especially when combined with the pro-testosterone effects of the high quality animal fats in raw grass fed milk? If I had raw goats milk available I would probably opt for that but since the only Raw milk I can get is cows, I'll prob end up sticking with that because I think the benefits of raw cows milk (even with a little extra E) outweigh the benefits of pasteurized goat's milk.



The 33x number was late-stage pregnancy cows' milk vs non-pregnant cows' milk.

As for evidence that the bad outweighs the good, no, there isn't any, nor would I suggest there is, unless you've got cancer or pre-cancer of some sort. As I said, I'm sure the good still outweighs the bad, but the question remains: is there a better solution than Cow Milk?


Why so sure Soy is evil? Until I've got the data sitting in front of me, I'm going to reserve judgement. There are millions of lean, healthy men who rely on soy.

As for the FDA etc, I think there's something terribly wrong with their priorities, and the arsenic thing is ridiculous.


I would imagine that a majority of (or all perhaps?) estrogen absorbed would be broken down by the liver before it reaches the systemic circulation. Although I haven't read any bioavailability or kinetic studies to know for sure.


Goat milk products are foul, I can't stomach it no matter how good it is for me.


nothing on estrogen from milk specifically, but still relevant and an interesting read


Thanks relentless, that is a good article. Makes me want to read more on this.

It seems the estrogen content in cows milk is in the nano gram range for the average consumer - although highly variable.
Personally, I didn't like reading this article and thought the methodology had a lot of issues, but somebody might get more out of it than me.


Check this out.......



x2. I've had 10 pints of milk today. i dont think I could have even half a pint of goats milk.. I don't worry about things like in the op


Why is soy evil? Type "soy" in the site search box in the upper right hand corner. Anyway, it's mostly UNFERMENTED soy that's the problem. Yeah, I know Japanese men don't all have estrogen issues, but they also eat fermented soy, which is not what most soy-eating North Americans eat. Also, soy is not necessarily a primary protein source in Japanese diets. They use miso and tempeh more as side dishes, from what I hear.

Besides, unfermented soy is not just bad idea for guys. My girlfriend used to train many female clients and noticed the ones most committed to their "healthy" soy products tended to be the ones who had serious estrogen issues. She also pointed out to me that all it takes is to read the ingredients list on something like a tofu patty... 20 different ingredients just to avoid a few grams of fat from beef, which is not unhealthy to begin with?? Please!

Soy has been oversold to us as super-healthy mostly based on misinformation plus a strong financial need to find a way to market all the excess soybeans that are grown thanks to farm subsidies. I'm not saying eating a tofu dog once in a while will turn you into a tranny, but all the hype about it as health food is totally erroneous.


I think I'd be way more concerned about the hormones that you guys put in your milk than the small amounts of E that's in it. What about looking into that evil and illegal raw milk?


if you're referring to the gh used, gh is a peptide hormone and is broken down during digestion the same way any other string of amino acids would be


Whether the BGH hormones get broken down or not, it's probably true that it may be more of a concern than small amounts of estrogen naturally found in the milk. Besides, we all get more exposure to estrogens from air fresheners, shampoos, and all the rest of the chemical junk we encounter each day.

As for that demonic raw milk and those bearded technophobes who push it on our innocent kids, I for one am glad that we have a hard-working FDA to put a stop to it! Why, if it wasn't for the FDA, who else would keep Americans safe from the surprising fat loss brought on by ephedrine or the organic goodness of non-pasteurized milk, while making sure pharmaceuticals proven to cause heart attacks and strokes remain on the market? :wink:

Seriously, I would love to see video of the FDA's sting operation on the Amish milk producers. I wonder if the agents grew chin beards and dressed in 19th-century clothing to maintain their cover till the bust went down. And I want to know if the paddy wagon that carted those those milk-dealers off to jail was drawn by a team of horses.


Dude if you're milking bulls and drinking what comes out...

I drink raw goats milk I get from some Mennonite farmers here. It tastes better and doesn't bloat me. I saw a study a few months ago about how commercial milk cows today are forced to produce thousands more gallons a year than a few decades ago, that can't be healthy.


when raw milk was outlawed TB was cut to a fraction of what it used to be. There is a reason raw milk is illegal


Im not sure why people fuss about hormones in food. If getting hormones into your blood stream was so easy to do just by eating them I dont think pharm companies would go to the great lengths to make injectible testosterone and oral (estrogen based) contraceptives for females.

Basically what Im saying is you cant take a bowl of estrogen juice and drink it and expect your stomach to just shut off and not do its normal function.


So what you're saying is that I should rest easy and eat all the soy I want.

The simple fact of the matter is that not everything you eat is fully broken down in your stomach. That's why you have the rest of your digestive tract. If we couldn't absorb ingested hormones, we wouldn't have oral testosterone or oral contraceptives for women, nor would we be seeing the adverse health effects of things like soy and western style cows milk.



She also pointed out to me that all it takes is to read the ingredients list on something like a tofu patty... 20 different ingredients just to avoid a few grams of fat from beef, which is not unhealthy to begin with?? Please!

I fucking hate this. I see it all the time too with regards to avoiding a couple of grams of sugar in a product and load it with a ton of artificial sweetners instead.
A little bit of fat or sugar aint going to hurt you.