Affiliation: University of Bari, Policlinico, Piazza G. Cesare, 11-70124, Bari, Italy.
Nowadays, donkey's and goat's milk consumption has been reevaluated for its potential benefits to human health. For example, in infants with intolerance to cow’s milk, donkey’s milk represents a good alternative due to its chemical characteristics similar to those of human milk. On the other hand, goat's milk in virtue of its higher content in short chain, medium chain, mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids than that of cow’s milk, is more digestible than the bovine counterpart. From an immunological point of view, donkey's milk is able to induce release of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines from normal human peripheral blood lymphomononuclear cells, thus maintaining a condition of immune homeostasis. Similarly, goat's milk has been shown to trigger innate and adaptive immune responses in an in vitro human system, also inhibiting the endotoxin-induced activation of monocytes. Finally, in these milks the presence of their own microbiota may normalize the human intestinal microbiota with a cascade of protective effects at intestinal mucosal sites, even including triggering of intestinal T regulatory cells. In the light of the above considerations, donkey's and goat's milk should be recommended as a dietary supplement in individuals with inflammatory and allergic conditions, even including elderly people.