Donkey Milk as a Cow's Milk Alternative | Lifelab Testing

Dairy Alternatives

Last Updated: 21st November 2022 · Written by Donna Mastriani

Donkey’s Milk; Drink Like An Egyptian’

There are a lot of dairy alternatives on the market if you’re looking to avoid cow’s milk: Soya, Almond, Cashew, Hazelnut, Hemp, Pea to mention a few. People with cow’s milk intolerances or people who are vegan rely on them for their replacing their consumption of milk and dairy products. Thankfully, those new dairy alternatives are now very common and you can find easily in the every supermarket, but we have one you won’t have heard of: Donkey milk! That’s’ right, you heard us, donkey’s milk has a combination of health benefits and due to the similarity to human milk in structure, can be used as cow’s milk dairy alternative for people with Cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA).

Donkey’s milk has been around since the Egyptian era. It is reported that the Queen Cleopatra was bathing in donkey’s milk to keep her skin beautiful and soft! Imagine what it’s doing for your insides…

Dairy Alternatives

This milk has antioxidant, antimicrobial, antitumoral, antiproliferative and antidiabetic activity. In addition, it stimulates the immune system, regulates the gastrointestinal flora, and prevents inflammatory diseases.

Several types of milk (goat, dromedary, donkey, and horse) are known to have lower allergenicity than cow milk, and it has been suggested that differences in nitrogen distribution and digestibility of milk proteins play an important role in determining the allergenic capacity of milk(1).

The amount of Donkey’s milk components, such as whey protein, lactose, and caseins, are similar to that of human milk, although they differ significantly compared to cow, goat, and camel milk(2). For this reason, it can be used for people with CMPA, whilst it is not recommended for people that are lactose intolerant due to the higher concentration of lactose that could accentuate symptoms as bloating and digestive problems. Several studies have revealed that donkey’s milk is an adequate alternative to children suffering from CMPA(3), due to its low composition of caseins, which constitute the main allergenic components of milk. Sarti et al. (2019)(3)have shown that DM has no negative influence on infants and children and have assessed its ability to manage the ‘Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome’ (FPIES) caused by cow’s milk.

Donkeys are great storytellers; they always have the best tales!

Several scientific studies showed that donkey’s milk has an anti-bacterial property against a wide range of pathogenic bacteria such as: Escherichia coli, Salmonella enteritidis, Listeria monocytogene, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Enterococcus faecalis, Shigella dysenteria, and against some yeasts(2). A study comparing the donkey’s milk, cow milk and donkey’s milk powder in terms of antioxidant activity has shown that DM has a higher antioxidant capacity than cow milk. It has a high ability to remove anionic superoxide radicals and to eliminate hydroxyl radicals, which are free radicals generated by body metabolism(4). Anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and anti-diabetic effects were also reported in literature(3,5).

Other positive effects were also observed in the skin care showing that the retinol present in donkey’s milk gives your skin a youthful appearance. A rich source of vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, the milk has skin therapeutic properties that are incredibly beneficial for the skin. Regular applications can help you with luminous youthful skin.

So, after all that, Queen Cleopatra was right! If you would like to boost your immunity, switch to dairy alternatives and get all the benefits reported in this article you need to start drinking like an Egyptian!

Here at Lifelab Testing we are providing you with all the useful information and scientific advancement in the field of allergies and intolerances. Hope you enjoyed that reading and please keep an eye on our website for news and updates.


  1. Fantuz, F.; Salimei, E.; Papademas, P. Macro- and micronutrients in non-cow milk and products and their impact on human health. In Non-Bovine Milk and Milk Products, 1st ed.; Tsakalidou, E., Papadimitriou, K., Eds.; Elsevier Academic Press: London, UK, 2016; pp. 209–261.
  2. Vincenzetti, S.; Pucciarelli, S.; Polzonetti, V.; Polidori, P. Role of proteins and of some bioactive peptides on the nutritional quality of donkey milk and their impact on human health. Beverages 2017, 3, 34.  
  3. Sarti, L.; Martini, M.; Brajon, G.; Barni, S.; Salari, F.; Altomonte, I.; Ragona, G.; Mori, F.; Pucci, N.; Muscas, G.; et al. Donkey’s Milk in the Management of Children with Cow’s Milk protein allergy: Nutritional and hygienic aspects. Ital. J. Pediatrics 2019, 45, 102.
  4. Li, L.; Liu, X.; Guo, H. The nutritional ingredients and antioxidant activity of donkey milk and donkey milk powder. Food Sci. Biotechnol. 2017, 27, 393–400.
  5. Simos, Y.; Metsios, A.; Verginadis, I.; D’Alessandro, A.-G.; Loiudice, P.; Jirillo, E.; Charalampidis, P.; Kouimanis, V.; Boulaka, A.; Martemucci, G.; et al. Antioxidant and anti-platelet properties of milk from goat, donkey and cow: An In Vitro, Ex Vivo and In Vivo study. Int. Dairy J. 2011, 21, 901–906.

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