The goodness of sheep’s milk and how our bodies benefit from it

Nowadays, a sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity, and an inadequate diet contribute to the development of many diseases. In recent years, consumer awareness of foods that contain biologically active ingredients that directly affect our health has increased.

Functional food plays a key role in human health. Sheep’s milk and its products are an important source of fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium. According to Lordan et al. (2018) and Megalemou et al. (2017), fermented milk products have a health-promoting effect, especially on the cardiovascular system and civilisation diseases. Consuming yogurt and kefir reduce obesity and the risk of metabolic syndrome and prevents type 2 diabetes.

Sheep’s milk is an important source of bioactive substances that have health-promoting functions for the body. The valuable composition of sheep’s milk is due to the high content of fatty acids, immunoglobulins, proteins, hormones, vitamins, and minerals. Many biopeptides found in milk have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Sheep’s milk also contains many biologically active, antibacterial, immunomodulatory, and antioxidant substances. The high content of valuable nutrients and biologically active substances in sheep’s milk prove the dietary value of this milk and the products derived from it.

Sheep’s milk is used in the production of prebiotics and probiotics and as an ingredient in infant formulas, thus being a suitable alternative to mother’s milk and for the production of nutraceuticals. Owing to the content of bioactive substances, sheep’s milk can be used for the production of medical food.

The different Amino acids and their benefits

The bioactive substances of sheep’s milk also show anti-cancer properties. Sheep’s milk, thanks to its content of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid), and Orotic Acid prevents the occurrence of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.

Sheep’s milk, as a product rich in bioactive substances, can be used as a medical aid to support the body in the fight against neurological and cancer diseases. It has been found that Orotic acid improves the metabolism of folic acid and vitamin B12. The presence of orotate in mammals is important to the development of the central nervous system.

An important endogenous amino acid of sheep’s milk protein is Proline. Both Proline and Hydroxyproline are found in the highest amounts in sheep’s milk proteins and in collagen.

Functions of Proline include helping form collagen, regenerating cartilage, forming connective tissue, repairing skin damage and wounds, healing the gut lining, and repairing joints.

It seems like an oxymoron. Fattier milk without the fatty residue; comes from a similar sub-family as a goat but without the gamey flavour; sweet? The difference between sheep milk, goat milk, and cow milk is essentially fat and protein content. 

The role of milk proteins in the functioning of the body

Milk proteins include casein complexes (80%) and whey proteins (20%). The whey protein fraction contains several extremely important ingredients, including lysozyme, lactoperoxidase or lactoferrin. Research by Caboni et al. (2019) showed that sheep’s milk contains the most lactoferrin [1] and proteins that have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.

Lactoferrin (LF) [1] as a sheep’s milk protein has antibacterial, antioxidant, anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects. Research by Zheng et al. (2020) proves that LF has the ability to alleviate oxidative stress in the hippocampus [2].

LF has a high affinity for iron ions. According to Sanchez et al. (1992), LF is the most important protein that binds iron, thus blocking the growth of some microorganisms and the development of infections.

The importance of fatty acids

For many years, attention has been paid to the importance of fatty acids in preventing the risk of cancer. Fatty acids are one of the most important bioactive components of mammalian milk. Due to their high nutritional value and influence on the physicochemical processes of the body, they are necessary for the proper development of the nervous system and the growth of the young.

Sheep’s milk contains a good amount of monounsaturated fats which have been shown to help lower cholesterol. In conjunction with this, sheep milk also contains more short-medium chain fatty acids and only-type A2 beta caseins. Medium-chain fatty acids have been shown to break down quicker in the body and aid the absorption of lactose. A2 beta caseins seem to be more accepted by people’s bodies than A1 beta caseins. Bovine milk commonly has both of these, but only sheep’s milk has A2-type, this is part of the reason why researchers believe people can consume sheep milk when other milk varieties give them an upset stomach.