Traditional medicine of the Middle East uses indigenous ingredients to treat life-threatening disorders. Camel milk is one of the chart-toppers.
Camel milk is rich in proteins and good fats. It improves mental health in children and adults. This milk can control inflammatory diseases like diabetes, Crohn’s disease, autism, multiple sclerosis, and eczema (1).
To know what makes camel milk unique, healthy, and popular, you have to read this article.
Table Of Contents
Why Is Camel Milk Popular? How Is It Different From Cow Milk?
The world is witnessing a sudden interest in camel milk. This is because research has proven the nutritional benefits of this milk. Camel milk has shown exceptional antimicrobial effects (1).
Camel milk is a white, opaque liquid with a faint sweetish odor. It is low in fat when compared to cow milk, but tastes similar – maybe a little saltier.
This milk has ingredients like immunoglobulins, vitamins B and C, potassium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, iron, and abundant proteins. It is said to have an insulin-like protein, which gives it an anti-diabetic property. It also contains a higher proportion of zinc than other sources of milk. The immunoglobulins in camel milk may boost your immunity (1), (2).
Interestingly, camel milk gets digested easily than cow, buffalo, and goat milk (1). Hence, it may suit even those with lactose intolerance.
Isn’t that surprising? This, probably, is the reason behind its popularity.
In the next section, you’ll understand why should you try camel milk and what it does to your body. Keep reading!
9 Mind-blowing Benefits Of Camel Milk
Camel milk is known for its anti-diabetic property. It may also prevent bacterial and viral infections. Making it a part of your diet can improve your immunity against chronic disorders and cancer.
1. May Control Diabetes
Camel milk has an insulin-like protein that does not coagulate in your gut. The stomach acids don’t affect the functionality of this protein. Regular consumption of this milk is believed to prevent and control diabetes, according to Middle Eastern beliefs (3), (4).
In an experiment, diabetes-induced rats were fed camel milk for 30 days. The results showed a significant reduction in the levels of blood glucose, urea, uric acid, and creatinine in these rats. Their liver and lipid parameters were also close to healthy controls (4).
Human subjects with juvenile diabetes showed a similar response. Camel milk reduced blood sugar and HbA1C (diabetes marker) levels as well as insulin dependence (4).
2. May Tone Down Autism
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a severe neurological disorder. It commonly sets in before the age of three. Autism or ASD is characterized by impairment in communication, cognitive, and social behavior (5).
Research holds oxidative stress responsible for these issues. Increase in the levels of free radicals has shown to worsen autism and Alzheimer’s. Studies show that most of the autistic individuals have low levels of antioxidants (5).
Administering camel milk may help boost the levels of antioxidants in these individuals. Several experiments were carried to study the impact of camel milk on autism. A 4-year old girl was fed camel milk for 40 days. Her autism symptoms were reported to disappear gradually. Another 15-year old boy showed similar results post 30-day camel milk treatment (5), (6), (7).
3. May Combat Microbial Infections
Regular use (almost overuse) of antibiotics has rendered several microbial strains resistant. Pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Escherichia coli, rotavirus are now practically immune to any antibiotic treatment. Hence, infections caused by them turn chronic within no time (8).
With its abundant protein content, camel milk can reduce the bacterial count in your blood. It has microbe-killing enzymes like lysozyme, lactoferrin, and lactoperoxidase (8).
Camel milk proteins are similar to the ones you find in human saliva, tears, sweat, mucosal membranes, and milk. They limit the supply of nutrients essential for bacterial growth (8).
Therefore, supplementation of camel milk with antibiotics may help in eliminating several drug-resistant microbial strains from your body (8).
4. Treats Gastrointestinal Tract Disorders
Camel milk contains high levels of vitamins A, B, C, and E, magnesium, and zinc. They protect your gut from infections and oxidative stress. It can reduce the severity of inflammatory ulcers and lesions, according to rat studies (9).
The camel proteins heal the mucosal membranes in the stomach. They improve blood circulation through the membranes to accelerate ulcer healing. Fermented camel milk has shown promising results in treating diarrhea – thanks to its high sodium and potassium content (7).
This milk may also help those with lactose intolerance.
5. May Soothe Allergies
Unlike cow milk, camel milk tones down allergies. Since it differs from cow or buffalo milk in chemical composition, camel milk does not trigger lactose intolerance-related symptoms (6).
This milk has immunoglobulins, unique proteins of the immune system. These immunoglobulins (a.k.a antibodies) interact with the allergens in your body. They process the allergens and neutralize the triggered inflammation (7).
Children with food allergies were given doses of camel milk to study its effect. All 8 of them reacted well and recovered fully from respective allergies. However, large-scale clinical trials are needed to validate these findings (10).
6. May Reduce Inflammation And Autoimmunity
Clinical trials report potent anti-inflammatory of camel milk. Animal studies show that this ingredient inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory compounds like nitric oxide, chemical messengers (cytokines), and free radicals (11).
Moreover, camel immunoglobulins (antibodies) aid in treating autoimmune diseases. They activate the human immune system to deal with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, ulcers, and allergies (hypersensitivity) (11), (12), (13).
7. May Improve Kidney (Renal) Health
Camel milk reduces your body’s inflammatory response effectively. It protects your heart, liver, brain, and kidneys from induced damage. In some cases, antibiotic overdose can be toxic to your kidneys (14).
Doses of this milk can reverse drastic imbalance in creatinine and urea. Camel milk also deals with an autoimmune disorder of the kidney called Crohn’s disease. It equips your immune system to lower the severity of such conditions (12).
8. Possesses Anticancer Effects
One of the most explored properties of camel milk is its anticancer effect. It can inhibit the proliferation of cancerous cells in your body. It does so by altering the expression of genes involved in the growth and metastasis (spreading) of tumors (15).
As per clinical data, camel milk proved to be effective against human cancer cells of the breast, larynx, liver, and colon-rectum. Vitamins E and C, proteins like lysozyme and lactoferrin, and immunoglobulins play a critical role in cancer prevention (15).
This milk induces cell death and DNA damage in cancerous cells by triggering corresponding cellular mechanisms (15). Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties also come into play in these cases.
More studies are required to extend this theory to prospective clinical trials.
9. Protects Your Liver
Egyptian traditional medicine used camel milk to treat patients with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Several studies were carried out to understand the role of camel milk in liver function. It can be inferred that this milk has hepatoprotective effects (13), (16).
It controls the levels of liver enzymes (alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST)). Camel milk reduced hepatitis viral load in 75% of the patients (16).
Camel milk supplementation, along with a controlled antiviral drug regimen, can ameliorate liver diseases (16).
The nutrients of camel milk are responsible for its benefits. It differs from cow milk because of the chemical composition. Hence, it can be consumed by the lactose-intolerant too.
Want to know how? Check out the next section!
Composition Of Camel Milk
Camel milk has (7):
- Protein: 3.1%
- Fat: 3.5%
- Lactose: 4.4%
- Ash: 0.79%
- Total solids: 11.9%
Camel milk contains most of the amino acids in fair amounts. Its proteins can be divided into two groups: caseins and whey proteins. Albumin, lactoferrin, immunoglobulins come under the whey group (7).
This milk is low in short-chain fatty acids. But it has high levels of long-chain fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids like linoleic acid are abundant, which is why camel milk has a better health quotient (7).
It also contains vitamins, such as vitamins A, E, D, B, and especially vitamin C, which cow and buffalo milk might lack. Minerals like calcium also appear to be relatively higher (7).
It becomes almost mandatory that you look at alternatives to cow’s milk. Some of them, like camel milk, might offer better nutrition and digestibility too.
All said and done, there are good chances of camel milk being rejected by your body, like cow or buffalo milk.
After all, this milk is from another mammal. Wouldn’t it trigger allergies or adverse effects?
Find out in the next section.
Can Drinking Camel Milk Have Side Effects?
There is not enough evidence to prove the side effects of camel milk. Probably because it has fewer impurities when compared to other sources, there are almost no reports of toxicity.
But a major downside could be its price. Camel milk has high production costs. Some countries might have to pay hefty taxes to import them.
Moreover, it has low shelf-life. Yogurt and curd from camel milk also take longer to process and set.
Whether camel milk should be boiled/pasteurized or unpasteurized (raw milk) is debatable. Boiling might deactivate the enzymes (lysozyme, lactoferrin, etc.), but a few believe it could kill bacteria.
Recent issues about animal torture make camel milk consumption difficult and mysterious. It might not be ethically right to exploit an animal for satisfying increasing human needs.
Camel milk is one of the richest sources of protein, vitamins, and good fat. The benefits show it is better than cow milk in certain aspects. This milk is a blessing for those with lactose intolerance.
It may also boost your immunity against pathogens, allergens, and oxidative stress. Drinking camel milk regularly may help children deal with autism and brain disorders.
Since there is ambiguity about the dosage and safety of camel milk, it is best to consult your healthcare provider. You can also leave your queries and comments in the section below.
- Medicinal values of bioactive constituents of camel milk: A concise report, International Journal of Health Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Got Camel’s Milk? Drink To Your Health, USCTrojanFamily, University of Southern California.
- Camel Milk Has Beneficial Effects on Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review, International Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- A review on medicinal properties of Camel milk, Review Article, World Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Academia.
- Camel Milk as a Potential Therapy as an Antioxidant in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Camel Milk – A Boon for Human Health, International Journal of Trend In Scientific Research and Development, Academia.
- Nutritional and Therapeutic Characteristics of Camel Milk in Children: A Systematic Review, Electronic Physician, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Antimicrobial Effects of Camel Milk against Some Bacterial Pathogens, Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, The Pennsylvania State University.
- Gastroprotective and Ulcer Healing Effects of Camel Milk and Urine in HCl/EtOH, Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (Indomethacin), and Water-Restraint Stress-induced Ulcer in Rats, Pharmacognosy Magazine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Camel milk for food allergies in children. The Israel Medical Association Journal, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Camel Milk Attenuates Rheumatoid Arthritis Via Inhibition of Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase Pathway. Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Chemical Composition and Medicinal Values of Camel Milk, International Journal of Research Studies in Biosciences, Academia.
- Effect of Camel Milk Supplementation on Blood Parameters and Liver Function of Hepatitis Patients, American Journal of Ethnomedicine, The Pennsylvania State University
- Effect of camel milk against renal toxicity in experimental rats. Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Anticancer Activity of Camel Milk via Induction of Autophagic Death in Human Colorectal and Breast Cancer Cells, Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Influence of camel milk on the hepatitis C virus burden of infected patients, Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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