ShinDig Study

This study is investigating whether sheep's milk is digested differently to cow's milk in people who are dairy intolerant. We're looking for women aged 18 - 35 to take part.

milk bottles

What is the aim of this study?

ShinDig stands for 'Sheep milk nutrient bioavailability and digestive comfort'. We're trying to find out how sheep's milk is digested compared to cow's milk and whether the process is different in people who are dairy intolerant.

We’ll look at the different effects two milk products have on gut comfort, digestion and metabolism, and we'll measure the digestive and metabolic response after drinking each type of milk.

We're looking for women aged 18 - 35 to take part. If you join the study, you’ll learn more about your own digestive response to milk and whether you can tolerate either type of milk better. You’ll also be compensated for your time and effort.

Why is this study important?

Lots of people report digestive problems after having dairy, but not all of these people are intolerant to the lactose in milk. Instead, sensitivity to dairy might be caused by other components in milk, proteins and fat.

Sheep's milk has different major proteins and fats compared to cow's milk. These proteins and fats are digested differently, which might affect how well milk is tolerated, and how the body is able to use the nutrients in milk.

This study will help us understand if people who usually have trouble with milk digest and tolerate sheep's milk differently from cow's milk.

Who can take part?

We are looking for women who think they may be intolerant to milk or dairy. To take part, you need to:

  • Be 18-35 years old
  • Have a BMI of 18-28
  • Have no chronic metabolic or digestive diseases
  • Be willing to give blood
  • Have no clinically diagnosed allergy to milk

If this sounds like you, please complete the confidential screening questionnaire.

What does the study involve?

If you take part in the study, you’ll come to two four-hour morning visits at the Liggins Institute at the University’s Grafton campus, plus one short screening visit. For the morning visits, you’ll need to have fasted overnight ready for a glass of cow or sheep's milk and a series of tests.

We’ll take blood and breath samples to see how the different milks are broken down by the body.

How do I enrol?

To ask a question or to enrol in this study, please contact the study coordinators, Amber Milan and Shikha Pundir on or call 09 923 1151.

This study is funded jointly through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to AgResearch and in partnership with the Blue River Dairy and Spring Sheep New Zealand.