What is alpine milk?

In this brief article, we will provide an answer to the question “What is alpine milk?” and discuss the nutritional composition, taste, health benefits and downsides of drinking alpine milk.

What is alpine milk?

Alpine milk is produced by cows that pasture on the Alpine lands. The milk produced in the Alpine farms have differentiated properties and are defined as “mountain products”.

The cows are grass fed in the summer, which results in the increased amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) omega-3 fatty acid and conjugated linoleic acids (CLA). Therefore, alpine milk is related to improved health benefits (1,2).

What are the characteristics of alpine milk?

The characteristics of the alpine milk are (1,2,3,4):

  • Higher amount of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), ranging from 1.92 to 2.87 g for each 100 g of milk fat
  • Have higher amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids and lower amounts of saturated fatty acid
  • Has a higher concentration of alpha-lactalbumin and lower concentration of beta-lactoglobulin, which can improve the risks of allergies

What gives the alpine milk its particularity?

Many factors give the alpine milk its particularity. The improved properties of the alpine milk is related to the cow breed, its feeding and the location of the cow herd, in higher altitudes. 

For instance, the different feed and farming of the cows, that is, if the cow is fed by grains, grass or silage, if the cows are kept confined or in free gazing, and if the cows pasture is localized at mountainous regions or on planes can affect the chemical composition of the milk, as well as the milk production.

In the table below, characteristics of cow herds of different locations are shown (1):

Location Farming Altitude (m) Milk yield (kg/yr)Number of cows
Germany, ThuringiaIndoor-fed cows, silages and high concentraterations, typical plain situation-200 >6000>300 
Germany ThuringiaOrganic farming, pasturing during the summer, only small amounts of concentrate5004000-5000120-200
Switzerland AlpsSummer pasturing without concentrate  >1200, different places in Switzerland450020-500 
Switzerland AlpsSummer pasturing without concentrate1275-2200, only L’Etivaz450030-50 

What are the benefits of drinking alpine milk?

In addition to the nutrients provided by cow milk, which the high valuable amino acids, vitamins, minerals and health benefits of cow milk, including the antioxidant, antimicrobial properties of the milk whey proteins, the favoring of muscle formation by the casein proteins and bone health by the calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D, the benefits of drinking alpine milk are (1,2,3,4,5):

Conjugated linoleic acids: has been reported to prevent heart diseases by reducing the lipidic gain and body fat accumulation. Its ingestion can help treat cancer possibly due to its antioxidant properties and the action on improving the immune system

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: the ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which is found in considerably higher amounts in the alpine milk (when compared to regular cows treated in confination systems) is related to the improved anti-inflammatory properties, which can help preventing and treating many metabolic diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and others. The lack of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet can also cause neurological disorders.

What are the risks of drinking alpine milk?

The risk of drinking alpine milk is the possible improved possibility of having allergic reactions. The milk allergy is related to the protein fraction alpha-lactalbumin, which is in higher concentration in the alpine milk, when compared to other cow herds or compared to goat milk (4).

In a study, the concentration of alpha-lactalbumin of goat and cow milk was compared. The result showed that the percentage of this protein in relation to total protein was 17.67 ± 0.46 for the Creole breed, 19.18 ± 0.88 for French Alpine, 17.35 ± 0.49 for Nubian cow herds.

The amount of total protein was 4.82 g for creole cows, 3.17 g for alpine cows and 3.57 g for Nubian cows, showing that the alpine milk contains a lower amount of protein when compared to the milk of other cows.

Other FAQs about Milk that you may be interested in.

What causes milk to spoil?

What can I substitute for condensed milk in cake?

What is the difference between condensed milk and heavy cream?


In this brief article, we have provided an answer to the question, “What is alpine milk?” We have further elaborated on the nutritional composition, taste, health benefits and downsides of drinking alpine milk.


  1. Kraft, Jana, et al. Differences in CLA isomer distribution of cow’s milk lipids. Lipids, 2003, 38, 657-664.
  2. Lopez A, Bellagamba F, Savoini G, Moretti VM, Cattaneo D. Characterization of Fat Quality in Cow Milk from Alpine Farms as Influenced by Seasonal Variations of Diets. Animals (Basel), 2022, 12, 515.
  3. Pereira, Paula C. Milk nutritional composition and its role in human health. Nutrition, 2014, 30, 619-627.
  4. Muñoz-Salinas F, Andrade-Montemayor HM, De la Torre-Carbot K, Duarte-Vázquez MÁ, Silva-Jarquin JC. Comparative Analysis of the Protein Composition of Goat Milk from French Alpine, Nubian, and Creole Breeds and Holstein Friesian Cow Milk: Implications for Early Infant Nutrition. Animals [Internet]. 2022, 12, 2236.
  5. Williams, Christine M. Dietary fatty acids and human health. Annales de zootechnie, 2000, 49, 3.

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