Move over cows, a clinical trial of older Kiwis drinking deer milk has found it’s good for their health.
The New Zealand study, by Massey University and commissioned by the government-owned farming business Pāmu, found drinking the company’s deer milk improved the nutritional status, muscle mass and physical performance of women aged 65 and above.
The trial recruited 120 women over 65 with a lower to normal Body Mass Index (BMI) to consume either 200ml of Pāmu deer milk or a market leading commercial oral nutritional supplement daily for 10 weeks.
Given their BMIs, we suspect that for some, simply eating anything would improve things, but what caught our eye in a nation where cow diary is a top export, is that they’re also milking deer.
Pāmu has been developing the deer milk business for over five years, selling domestically as well as exporting to several markets across Asia-Pacific. The milk is sourced from farmers Peter and Sharon McIntyre, who run a deer farm near Gore, on the South Island, as well as the company’s own farm Aratiatia, in the North Island’s central plateau.
The company also produces cow milk, beef, lamb, venison and wool.
Massey University Lead Researchers, Professors Marlena Kruger and Pamela von Hurst said of their report that alongside the other benefits, the milk “may support bone health in postmenopausal women, by reducing bone breakdown and bone loss over time.”
Hamish Glendinning, Pāmu Deer Milk business lead, said deer milk has significantly higher protein and calcium content compared with other milk products.
“With a rapidly ageing population and the health challenges which come with this, we are confident there will be increased demand for clinically proven, natural product solutions,” he said.
“This is an exciting innovation, a natural product with concentrated nutrition that we believe will make a difference to those who are wanting to restore mobility and strength as they get older.”
Apparently 90% of the trial participants would also recommend deer milk to friends and family. But here’s the thing: it’s powdered milk.
As a child of the 70s who grew up forced to drink powdered milk, we’re a little concerned about the culinary ambitions of our older Kiwi cousins.
So we’ll wait for the deer cheese, thanks.