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Health Benefits of Camel Milk and its Side Effects

Camel milk is an important nutritional source for nomadic populations living in hostile environments such as deserts.

It is now manufactured and marketed in many countries, both in powdered and chilled variants. You may wonder why some people choose camel milk.

In this article, we will explain the health benefits of camel milk and its side effects.

May Reduce Blood Sugar

Camel milk can reduce blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The milk also includes insulin-like proteins that are accountable for their antidiabetic activity. Insulin is a blood sugar-regulating hormone.

Studies show camel milk gives 52 units of insulin equivalent per 4 cups (1 liter). It is also high in zinc, which can improve insulin sensitivity (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).

According to one study, insulin sensitivity improved among those who drank 2 cups (500 ml) of camel milk, but not among those who drank cow’s milk.

Another study found adults with type 1 diabetes who drank 2 cups (500 ml) of camel milk daily saw lower levels of blood sugar than those without camel milk.

Three patients no longer needed insulin. A 22-paper study found that 2 cups of 500 ml per day is the suggested dose of camel milk for those with diabetes to improve blood sugar control (8, 9, 10).

Camel Mik is Rich in Nutrients

Camel milk is rich in many nutrients essential for health. The calories in camel milk are like those in whole cow’s milk. Camel milk contains less saturated fat and provides more vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, iron, and potassium.

It is also a useful source of healthy fats such as long-chain fatty acids, linoleic acid, and unsaturated fatty acids that can promote both brain and heart health.

One-half-cup (120 ml) of camel milk contains the following nutrients (11, 12, 13):

  • Calories 50
  • Fat 3 grams
  • Protein 3 grams,
  • Carbs 5 grams
  • Potassium 6% of the DV
  • Phosphorus 6% of the DV
  • Vitamin C 5% of the DV
  • Thiamine 29% of the DV
  • Riboflavin 8% of the DV
  • Calcium 16% of the DV

Better Option for Lactose Intolerant

Besides other health benefits, camel milk can be a better choice for people with lactose intolerance or milk allergies.

Lactose intolerance is a common digestive disorder triggered by lactase deficiency, an enzyme required to digest dairy sugar, lactose.

After consuming dairy products, it can trigger bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

One study in 25 people with lactose intolerance shows that only 2 respondents had a mild reaction to 1 cup of camel milk (250 ml), while the majority were OK (14, 15, 16).

Camel milk also has a different protein profile than cow’s milk, and those with cow’s milk allergies can better tolerate it.

One study of 35 children allergic to cow’s milk, aged 4 months to 10.5 years, found that only 20% were sensitive to camel milk through a skin-prick test.

People have used camel milk for hundreds of years to treat diarrhea triggered by rotavirus.

Study shows that the milk includes antibodies that can treat diarrheal (17, 18, 19, 20, 21).

May Help Those With Autism

Some studies show the health benefits of camel milk in improving autistic behavior. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a communication and behavioral developmental disorder.

Autism can occur in any age group, and symptoms usually appear in the first two years of life.

One study in 65 children with autism between 2 and 12 years of age reported that 2 weeks of drinking camel milk resulted in significant improvements in autistic behavioral symptoms compared to the placebo group (22, 23, 24, 25, 26).

These studies are promising. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend replacing standard autism treatments with camel milk.

In addition, camel milk may also benefit people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, but only a few animal studies have shown these effects (27, 28, 29, 30).

Can Fight Disease-Causing Organisms

Camel milk contains compounds that seem to fight against various disease-causing organisms. There are two main active ingredients in camel milk: lactoferrin and immunoglobulins.

These compounds can give camel milk its immune-enhancing properties.

Lactoferrin has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties (31, 32).

An animal study suggests that camel milk can protect against leukopenia, a low white blood cell count, that is a side effect of cyclophosphamide, a toxic anticancer drug.

These findings support the immune-boosting properties of camel milk. Another study suggests that the whey protein of camel milk is effective in fighting harmful organisms, which can help your body fight free radicals (33, 34).

Camel Milk Side Effects

Camel milk is more costly than cow’s milk. People consume camel milk raw, without heat or pasteurization.

Because of the increased danger of food poisoning, many health experts do not suggest consuming raw milk.

Raw milk bacteria can cause infection, kidney failure, and even death. This risk is significant for pregnant women, kids, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems.

Any person who consumes raw dairy products is at risk of respiratory distress syndrome, tuberculosis, brucellosis, and other infectious diseases (35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40).

Conclusion

Camel milk has been a component of traditional diets throughout history.

It has received attention in developed countries as a superfood.

Studies suggest that people with lactose intolerance and allergies to cow’s milk can better tolerate camel milk.

It can also reduce blood sugar, increase immunity, and help with certain behavioral and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism.

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