Camel Milk and it’s 10 secret benefits

If asked to think of a camel, many will invariably call up the emblematic image of a humped animal crossing the horizon in a blazing desert. What they probably won’t think of is a cold glass of milk.

But that might soon change, thanks to research uncovering the surprising therapeutic potential contained within camel milk. Although this might seem unusual to many in the Western world, where camel milk remains an obscure dairy product, it would hardly merit a second thought among those most acquainted with these resilient beasts of burden.

The beneficial effects of camel milk for human nutrition and health had their origin from religious belief and faith within the different Muslim communities in the world, including the Arab countries of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

For the people of these and other regions where camels thrive, their milk has long been a staple food source, usually consumed in fresh or spontaneously fermented form, which resembles tasty yogurt. It has also been used for centuries as a traditional treatment for ailments ranging from tuberculosis to gastroenteritis and many other affections.

Numerous studies have since revealed that camel milk has many of the sought-after properties of so-called “superfoods.” It’s “anti” in the most positive ways: anti-hypertensive, anti-microbial, and is an anti-oxidant.
But what has gained researchers’ attention the most are the favorable effects camel milk appears to exhibit in both animal and clinical studies on various markers of diabetes, from blood sugar control to insulin resistance. Might this folk remedy have new lessons for contemporary diabetes treatment?

What’s So Special About Camel Milk?

Camels were domesticated around 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, which is relatively recent among working animals (by comparison, dogs have been a part of human families for at least 14,000 years). Thanks to a host of unique adaptations, including the ability to store about 80 lb (36.3 kg) of fat in those signature humps, camels can walk 100 miles and survive for nearly a week in temperatures up to 120°F (49°C) without water.

Among the class of animals that ferment their food before digestion, camels consume the largest variety of plants and digest it more efficiently than cows. Nomadic peoples considered camels’ diverse diets a key contributor to the supposed medicinal value of their milk.

camel milk food that you must know about

Significant scientific research into camel milk’s properties began only within the last three to four decades. It revealed that at the most basic level, milk produced from camels and cows provides comparable levels of fat, protein, lactose, and calcium. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that camel milk possesses distinct advantages over its bovine counterpart, including greater levels of vitamin C and essential minerals, and a plenty digestible quality.

Children with known allergy to cow’s milk have been shown to consume camel’s milk without incident ( and they enjoy it ), as it doesn’t appear to cause the same issues in these patients as milk from non-bovine mammals bred in European countries. The truth is that, camel milk is actually closer in substance to human milk: both have the same major protein and lack a common contributor to milk allergies.

Beyond its nutritional value, camel milk composition may offer particular anti-diabetic properties, according to Nader Lessan, MD, and Adam Buckley, MD, endocrinologists at the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi, UAE, who are conducting a clinical trial on the effects of camel milk on insulin response.

A recent lab study from Ayoub and Maqsood shed further light on camel milk’s effects on diabetes.

Getting the Most Out of Camel Milk

Camel Milk may lover blood sugar and insulin.

People living in countries with ready access to camel milk are likely already reaping its benefits. For example, a study of a camel breeding community in northern India found that those who regularly consumed its milk had a 0% rate of diabetes. 

Can fight disease and boost immunity.

Camel milk has been studied for its effects on behavioral conditions in children and may aid those with autism. Most of the evidence is anecdotal,  though a few studies indicate potential benefits for improving autistic behavior. 

 

Global production of camel milk has increased 4.6-fold since 1961 (when data first began to be collected), which indicates its popularity is extending beyond traditional regions. European Union-supported efforts like the CAMELMILK project are aiming to boost interest in the Mediterranean region. More and more consumers, from China to Australia, are seeking out camel milk-based products. In the United States, companies like Desert Farms are partnering with Amish and Mennonite farmers to increase production.

 

This is not to say that camel milk will be on supermarket shelves anytime soon. Although their numbers are increasing, camels remain a minor dairy species, accounting for less than 1% of the world’s milk supply. As a niche product, it’s significantly more expensive than cow and non-dairy milk variations. The daily dose of camel milk thought to improve diabetes markers is around 16 ounces, which may be too expensive for many consumers.

There are also uncertainties about how consistent camel milk’s benefits will be in commercial form. Camel milk quality varies depending on factors like lactation stage, geography, and feeding habits. Some have questioned whether moving camels from their wide-ranging eating practices to factory farming will dull the medicinal effects of its milk.

It may also matter what kind of camel produces the milk. Milk produced by the 90% of camels worldwide categorized as one-humped is not the same as that produced from the less common double-humped camels found in central Asian countries, such as China and Mongolia

Advice for Curious Patients

In the end, camel milk might offer the greatest promise as a blueprint for designing new treatments, Ayoud and Maqsood conclude in their recent study.

Yet, it is also likely that curious patients may want to try the real thing in the meantime. For them, what considerations should they keep in mind?

First and foremost is to avoid camel milk in raw form. Although camel milk appears to have greater antimicrobial properties than cow’s milk, it carries about the same risk of containing E coli and can harbor pathogenic strains such as Streptococcus or Staphylococcus. Evidence suggests that one-humped camels are the only animals that can host the strain of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that infects humans.

Although several studies have indicated that camel milk improves blood sugar control and lowers insulin requirements among those with type 1 diabetes, Lessan and Buckley strongly advise against patients with this disease using it as an insulin substitute. They note that “none of the mechanisms we’ve seen suggested for the effects of camel milk are really applicable to the disease process of type 1 diabetes.”

 

 

Is camel milk good for health?

There is also the matter of setting appropriate expectations for conditions outside of diabetes. The research surrounding camel milk is slanted toward positive results from studies of variable quality, which has led to unfounded claims. This was on display when the FDA listed camel milk among the products and therapies with no evidence to support their use in autism.

As the use of camel milk moves from basic research to clinical studies, its ultimate therapeutic value in diabetes and beyond should become clearer. For a millennia-old treatment, there’s still much to learn.

Although you might think camels are exclusively used for transportation, people in Middle Eastern, Asian, and African cultures have drunk camel milk for centuries. In fact, it’s highly sought after.

About 5.3 million tons of the stuff is produced around the world each year, mostly coming out of Somalia.

Unlike other kinds of milk, camel milk has low levels of sugar and cholesterol and high amounts of vitamins and minerals.

How to prepare camel milk?

Nutrition Information

Camel milk is high in antioxidants, which help prevent damage to your cells that can lead to serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases.

It’s also high in several vitamins and minerals, including:

 

  • Potassium , Iron, Copper, Magnesium, Kalium, Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, Calcium
  • — One cup of mik contains:
  •  107 calories
  •  5.4 grams of protein
  •  3 grams of saturated fat
  •  8 grams of sugar
  •  11 grams of     carbohydrates
  • 4.6 grams of fat
 

Potential Health Benefits of Camel Milk

Camel milk is the closest natural substance to a human mother’s milk. Just like breast milk protects newborn babies from various health issues, camel milk can provide a number of health benefits, including: 

Safety from milk allergy. If you have one, camel milk could be a safe alternative.  This is likely because camel milk contains a different protein than other dairy products — one that doesn’t trigger an immune response. Camel milk can help with other food allergies in children, as well. 

Lower chances of diabetes. Researchers studied a community in India that has zero cases of diabetes and concluded that it was likely due to their regular consumption of camel milk. 

Camel milk protects against diabetes and improves its symptoms by: 

  • Controlling blood sugar levels

  • Reducing fasting blood sugar

Potential Risks of Camel Milk

Camel milk is very expensive. It can cost between $16 and $18 a pint. This is because camels produce a lot less milk than a cow does.

Healthy Alternatives

If you have a milk allergy and you’re looking for an alternative, you can try:

  • Soy milk – Almond milk – Oat milk – Rice milk

Make sure that what you choose is fortified with vitamin D and calcium and the results will appear immediately.