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 explain the health benefits of camel milk plus 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 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 among those who drank 2 cups, 500 ml of camel milk improved, but not among the cow’s milk group. Another study found adults with type 1 diabetes who drank 2 cups 500 ml of camel milk daily saw low levels of blood sugar than those without camel milk. Insulin was no longer needed by three patients. A 22 papers study found that 2 cups 500 ml per day is the suggested dose of camel milk in those with diabetes to improve blood sugar control. (8, 9, 10)
Camel milk can lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes. Camel milk includes insulin-like proteins, which handle its anti-diabetic properties. The milk has a lot of zinc, which can aid with blood sugar regulation.
Camel Mik is Rich in Nutrients
Camel milk is rich in many nutrients essential for health. The calories in camel milk are like whole cow’s milk. Camel milk contains less saturated fat and provides more vitamin C, B, calcium, iron, and potassium. It is also a useful source of healthy fat, 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 daily Value (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 allergy 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 use 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)
Camel milk may be a preferable option for those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk. Camel milk’s protein profile differs from that of cow’s milk. For hundreds of years, people have used camel milk to cure rotavirus diarrhea. According to studies, the milk contains antibodies that can treat diarrhea.
May Help Those With Autism
Some studies show 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 era, and symptoms 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 compare 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)
Some studies suggest that consuming camel milk can help improve autistic behaviour. The FDA does not suggest replacing normal autism treatments with camel milk for anyone suffering from the condition.
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)
Animal study suggests that camel milk can protect from leukopenia, a low white blood cell count, which 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 the camel milk is effective in fighting harmful organisms, which can help your body fight free radicals. (33, 34)
Camel milk contains compounds that appear to fight several disease-causing organisms. The lactoferrin in camel milk has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. It may also help prevent leukopenia, which is a low white blood cell count.
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)
Bacteria found in raw milk can cause serious diseases. This danger is especially high for pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with impaired immune systems. In addition, camel milk is more expensive than cow milk.
Camel milk has been a component of traditional diets throughout the history. It has received attention in developed countries as a superfood. Studies suggest that people with lactose intolerance and allergic to cow’s milk can better tolerate camel milk. It can also reduce blood sugar, increase immunity, and help with certain behavior and neurodevelopment disorders such as autism.
Suggested article: Health benefits of coconut milk and other uses
- Camel Milk Has Beneficial Effects on Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review. Int J Endocrinol Metab. 2017.
- A study of the anti-diabetic agents of camel milk. Int J Mol Med. 2012.
- Medicinal values of bioactive constituents of camel milk: A concise report. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2017.
- Effect of camel milk on blood sugar and lipid profile of patients with type 2 diabetes: a pilot clinical trial. Int J Endocrinol Metab. 2015.
- Effect of camel milk on glycemic control and insulin requirement in patients with type 1 diabetes: 2-years randomized controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011.
- Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids, brain function and mental health. Microb Ecol Health Dis. 2017.
- Consumption of camel’s milk by patients intolerant to lactose. A preliminary study. Rev Alerg Mex. 2010.
- Camel milk: an alternative for cow’s milk allergy in children. Allergy Asthma Proc. 2011.
- Camel milk and its unique anti-diarrheal properties. Isr Med Assoc J. 2013.
- Patient report: autism spectrum disorder treated with camel milk. Glob Adv Health Med. 2013.
- Behavioral Benefits of Camel Milk in Subjects with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Coll Physicians Surg Pak. 2015.
- Immune potentiating and antitoxic effects of camel milk against cyclophosphamide-induced toxicity in BALB/C mice. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2017.
- Why whey? Camel whey protein as a new dietary approach to the management of free radicals and for the treatment of different health disorders. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2017.