Benefits of Camel Milk: Low Allergen Alternative to Dairy

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The benefits of camel milk for allergies - autoimmune disease- autism and diabetes
Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » Benefits of Camel Milk: Low Allergen Alternative to Dairy

Several years ago I was at a conference, and during one of the breaks, I noticed they had camel milk as one of the refreshments on hand (along with water, coffee, kombucha, and paleo snacks).

I was slightly taken aback, as I can count on one hand the number of actual camels I’ve seen in my lifetime (only at the zoo), and the thought of drinking camel milk had never crossed my mind before seeing the bottles they had at the refreshment stand that day.

So of course, I had to research it to find out about any potential health benefits. And what I found out is VERY interesting!

Camel milk is unique in its potential ability to help with allergies and autism, to mitigate autoimmune disease and diabetes, and for heart and immune health. It has even been used around the world as a supplement to breastmilk!

Sound crazy?

I thought so too, but it turns out that the milk from a camel is an entirely different animal (pun intended) than milk from a cow or a goat.

Here’s why:

Cows, goats, and other similar animals are hoofed animals. Camels have toes (only two, made of a single bone) and both their foot structure and the proteins in their milk are dramatically different than milk from hoofed animals.

To make things slightly more confusing, camels ruminate but are not considered ruminants. As unique as camels are, their milk is even more so.

What Makes Camel Milk Different?

I started researching this and was absolutely fascinated by the research on camel milk and how it is different from other types of milk.

Protein Structure

For one thing, camel milk does not contain the same proteins that people are often allergic to in cow’s milk. It does not contain A1 casein and lactoglobulin and is usually well tolerated by those with dairy allergies.

Gram for gram, it has about the same amount of protein and carbohydrates as regular cows milk, but impacts blood sugar differently.

Fat Content

This is one area where camel and cow milk differ greatly. Camels produce milk that is naturally low in fat (only 2-3%).

Also unlike cow milk, the fats produced by camels in their milk are completely homogenized naturally occurring Omega-3 fatty acids. This means that camel milk can be frozen and thawed without changing consistency. It also will not curdle or clot like cows milk.

Unique Properties

  • Camels produce a very unique milk that has some rare beneficial properties. For one thing, it is high in potent immunoglobulins, powerful immune-boosting substances. The immunoglobulins in camel milk are smaller than human immunoglobulins and can more easily pass into tissues in the body.
  • Researchers still don’t completely understand why, but these tiny immunoglobulins may be the reason for camel milk’s popularity in helping lessen problems like autoimmune disease, allergies, and even autism.
  • This milk is also high in insulin, which improves its absorption and makes it suitable for diabetics.
  • Research has also found protective proteins in camel’s milk that may be antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial.
  • Though it isn’t a spectacular source, it also contains much more iron and vitamin c than cow’s milk.

Similar to Human Breastmilk

Camel milk is nutritionally more similar to human breastmilk than to regular dairy milk. For this reason, it has been used around the world as a supplement or replacement for breast milk in cases when mom was unable to nurse or baby needed extra milk.

Better for the Environment

Consider the natural habitat of camels. They survive with relatively little water and plant life for long periods of time. For this reason, camels need much less grazing area and can produce milk with a lower environmental impact.

Long History of Use

While the idea of drinking milk from a camel may seem strange to those of us who grew up in the west, cultures around the world have consumed it for thousands of years.

Camels are important to various cultures, especially in the middle east, for their ability to survive and even travel long distances with very little water. Camels can thrive even in areas where horses and cows would have trouble surviving at all.

Benefits of Camel Milk

These unique properties of camels make their milk beneficial to humans in several ways. In researching, I was amazed at the initial studies and anecdotal reports from people who had seen near miraculous recoveries with camel milk.

Help for Diabetes

Studies show that camel’s milk may be very beneficial for those with diabetes. Unlike other kinds of milk, it shouldn’t cause a rise in blood sugar, but the benefits extend beyond that. In fact, some researchers are even using this milk to reduce the amount of insulin needed:

Camel milk has been shown, said the review’s senior author, Dr Uma S Dubey, of BITS Pilani’s Rajasthan campus, to be effective in reducing the level of glycosylated or glycated haemoglobin in the blood. This is haemoglobin to which glucose is attached, and is typically found at high levels in people with diabetes. Camel milk can therefore be used to reduce the dose of insulin that diabetes patients require.

The same review article, published in the Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture, entitled Therapeutic Potential of Camel Milk, by researchers from India’s Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, notes that there are also much lower rates of diabetes in areas where camel milk is a staple.

Another 2005 study out of India looked at camel dairy and its effects on Type 1 diabetes. This study found that regular consumption of camel milk reduced the amount of insulin needed and improved long-term blood sugar control.

Immune Boost

Camel’s milk contains many of the same immune-protecting substances as human milk. It can be an effective supplement to breastmilk for this reason.

It contains high levels of immunoglobulin A and beneficial enzymes like lysozyme and lactoperoxidase, which are helpful to the body in fighting infection.

Alleviate Allergies

Perhaps the most notable potential benefit of this unique milk is its effect in those with allergies.

Not only is it considered a good dairy alternative for allergic individuals, but there is some research indicating that it may actually help reverse allergies.

Surprised? I was too:

As I mentioned, this milk lacks A1 casein and lactoglobulin present in cow’s milk which often cause allergic reactions. There have also been studies showing that camel milk may even reduce allergies due to its immune benefits.

In fact, one 2005 study in the Journal of the Israel Medical Association investigated the effects of camel milk on children with severe allergies who didn’t respond to other treatments. Researchers had these children consume camel milk under the care of their medical team. They observed the results, which were even more astounding than expected.

Amazingly, all of the children recovered from their allergies according to the reports in the study. Additional study is needed, but the researchers in that study claimed that camel milk was more effective than medical treatments in those particular cases with no observed side effects.

This shows tremendous potential as a hope for those struggling with life-threatening allergies.

Heart and Blood Health

The monounsaturated fats (especially oleic acid) present in camel milk give it some of the same benefits as olive oil. It also contains A2 beta-casein, which is different than the A1 casein found in most dairy milk. (A2 casein is present in goat milk as well, which is why some people who cannot handle cow dairy can handle goat-based products.)

The A2 beta-casein in camel milk may be partially responsible for the heart and immune protective effects. From Live Science:

A1 beta casein is broken down into an opioid-like peptide called beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7). BCM-7 has been shown to suppress the immune system, cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and contribute to arterial plague formation, according to Lori Chong, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “It has been implicated in the development of Type 1 diabetes — probably related to its immune suppression and role in GI tract inflammation.”

Other research indicates that the unique fatty acid profile in milk from camels is more beneficial to the heart and to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Autism Connection

There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence and stories from people who have used camel dairy in cases of autism.

This article delves into the potential ways that camel dairy products may help against autism. In short, some researchers believe that autism is similar to autoimmune disease in that the body attacks its own healthy cells.

Whatever the cause, there are many anecdotal accounts of recovery and entire online groups dedicated to its use.

“Dr. Jodie Dashore, a mom and doctor, heard about the milk from Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, a highly regarded neurobiologist who treated her son Brian’s autism. In 2011, when Brian started consuming camel milk, his motor tics initially became three or four times worse—a “healing crisis,” Dashore says, as the milk killed off harmful bacteria. But after two weeks, they started to drop off. The milk also seemed to clear up a host of Brian’s other maladies, from hives to mobility difficulties, caused by an autoimmune disorder (most autism patients have other simultaneous ailments according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). It also eased Brian’s digestive pains and helped him gain weight, common issues in autistic children.

Other reports are equally amazing. A 2005 study in the International Journal of Human Development watched autistic patients who started consuming camel dairy instead of cow dairy and found:

  • A 4-year-old girl noticed a complete disappearance of autism symptoms in 40 days
  • A 15-year-old boy noticed recovery after only a month
  • Multiple other patients were noticeably better after only two weeks

Of course, much more research is needed to understand the way that camel dairy products may help with autism, but the initial evidence is definitely encouraging.

Autoimmune Disease Help

As mentioned, there are researchers that believe that autism is similar to autoimmune disease. This connection may also be why some people have seen improvement from autoimmunity with camel milk.

It is generally understood that autoimmune disease is a scenario in which the immune system mistakenly attacks part of the body, thinking that healthy cells are foreign or harmful antigens. Conventional treatments for autoimmune disease often include immune-suppressing drugs that have substantial side effects.

Camel dairy, on the other hand, contains those potent but tiny immunoglobulins that may penetrate cells and help improve the immune system while targeting only harmful antigens.

In fact, Dr. Reuven Yagil, an Israeli physiology professor who is considered an expert on Camel milk and its benefits, explains that in his years of research he has seen patients control or even reverse autoimmune disease with camel milk.

On a personal note, this was how I found research on the benefits of camel milk and I am personally testing it for my own Hashimotos (I’ll update you with the results).

Risks and Dangers of Camel Milk?

Often, something that seems too good to be true really is. In this case, I’m yet to find the downside. As I said, more research is needed, but I couldn’t find any downsides of drinking this unusual milk.

In fact, I didn’t find any cases of allergic reactions or harmful side effects. In my limited personal testing, I haven’t noticed any negative effects, even though I often react to regular dairy.

The one downside, unfortunately, is the price. As you may imagine, camel dairies are not very popular in this part of the world, and limited access means higher costs.

Where to Get Camel Milk

You won’t find camel milk on the dairy aisle of a regular grocery store. Some health food stores are starting to carry it, but it can be difficult to find a good source.

Since this milk is not from a hoofed animal, it isn’t regulated by the same laws, and it is available online and can be shipped in many places.

The best (and least expensive) source I’ve found for camel milk is the Desert Farms brand which is available for shipping anywhere in the continental US and Canada. In fact, after researching camel milk and where to purchase it, I negotiated a 15% discount from them (code: wellnessmama) and am personally testing this for my own autoimmune disease. A friend is also testing for her child with severe allergies.

What does it taste like?

I found the taste closest to cow’s milk to any alternative milk I’ve tried. It is a little sweeter but not overly earthy or grassy like stronger-flavored goat milk.

My kids all liked it, even the ones who don’t prefer coconut or almond milk.

If you are curious and would like to try camel milk, Desert Farms has offered to send you four bottles for free! You simply pay the shipping and handling fee. Find their free offer here.

Camel Milk: Bottom Line

This “new” milk to us in the western world has been used for thousands of years in other parts of the world. Camels are unique animals and have unique milk that may benefit diabetics, autistic patients, and those with autoimmune disease.

I was also unable to find any negative side effects of camel milk (other than the price) and am willing to become my own guinea pig to test its benefits (or lack thereof).

Your turn! Have you ever heard of camel milk? Grossed out or intrigued?

Benefits of Camel Milk

Sources
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

178 responses to “Benefits of Camel Milk: Low Allergen Alternative to Dairy”

  1. Rhiannon Avatar
    Rhiannon

    In a novel I once read, it’s used as a substitute for mare’s milk for an orphaned foal who grows up to be the Godolphin Arabian, the founder of the Thoroughbred breed – and one of the fastest horses at the time.

  2. Lanette Avatar
    Lanette

    No one has answered the question posed by several: How much does one need to drink to reap the benefits? 8 oz a day? Or a Tablespoon a day? Or somewhere in between? Wellness Mama….what quantity are you trying in your experiment?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      I’m trying 8 ounces a day on an empty stomach. In the study, they did 2 ounces and worked up to 16 per day for the duration and then tapered back down.

      1. Lauren Avatar

        I have the same question. I am interested in the possibility of camel milk being able to reverse autoimmune disease. Do you have any idea what dosage would be needed to accomplish that? The milk is very expensive so I would want to use as little as possible since it would seem it would have to be used regularly/continually to realize results. Any indication that 2 ounces/day could have an effect?

  3. Heather Avatar
    Heather

    Have you researched raw a2 cows milk much? Wouldn’t you see many of the same benefits from that too? Maybe a more affordable alternative..

  4. helene Avatar

    i think a camel is unclean but the im sure the cost is absolutely prohibitive anyway.

  5. Ruth Avatar

    It is all very well to promote camel’s milk, but you haven’t really mentioned the benefits of goat’s milk, in spite of the fact that it is better regulated because of the laws re hoofed animals, and far cheaper because of greater availability. Goat’s milk has the added advantage that it can often be tolerated even by babies allergic to human breast milk. For those living in the Andean countries, llama’s milk has the same benefits, which is not surprising considering that llamas and camels are cousins, but you pretty much have to raise your own and milk them, because it isn’t commercially available. Llamas being smaller and more easily acquired than camels, that is another option for the DIY crowd.

    1. Dawnlaura Avatar
      Dawnlaura

      To Clarify, babies are NOT allergic or sensitive to human breastmilk but rather something in the mother’s diet. Some babies (like mine) who cannot tolerate cow milk proteins can tolerate goat or mare milk but not all.

  6. Jennie Avatar

    I actually live in Saudi, but I haven’t tried camel’s milk. It’s not readily available, and you have to really seek it out. I have respiratory allergies. Do you know if it helps with respiratory allergies as well, or just food allergies? A friend of ours said it gives him severe diarrhea every time he drinks it, and advised us not to try it. Have you heard of others having a reaction like that? Thanks for the article!

    1. arthur Avatar

      Hi there, if the milk is resulting in diarrhea there are two possibilities: 1) perhaps the milk is procured from a vendor who milks his camel by hand in which case the milk is perhaps not as hygienic or 2) if the milk is raw and came from hygienic conditions then it is probably purging the gut, resulting in the bad bacteria exiting the system before re-establishing good flora. It’s called ‘die off’ and can be expected from people with toxic systems/guts.

  7. Sandy Avatar

    We tried camel milk first, but had even better results with my daughters autoimmune disease when we switched to Donkey Milk (the closest in composition to human breast milk with high lysozyme content and immune modulating properties.). So much so that we got our own donkeys to milk for our daughter!

    1. Stacy Avatar

      That is so awesome! What kind of results did u see for both cow and donkey, and how long did it take at what dosage? Where was your source of donkey milk before u purchased one? I have a son with autism and looking for help.

      1. Sandy Avatar

        Our story is all on my blog, you can search PANDAS and Donkey Milk or Camel Milk and you should be able to find it. Sorry, I can’t put a link to it here. Blessings!

  8. sif Avatar

    Hi! Camel milk is wonderful try to drink it raw you get the utmost benefit else what ever is available. And thank the Good Lord for creating camels for us!

  9. Debby Avatar

    Does anyone know if it can be used to make homemade baby formula per Weston A price cow goat or liver formula?

    1. Marsha Avatar

      I would say you could use this in homemade formula since many people use this as an alternative breast milk.

  10. Amy Avatar

    How interesting! I can’t wait to see how you and your friend’s child fare. How wonderful that you are personally testing this out and sharing with us. God bless you!

  11. Carol L Avatar
    Carol L

    I would really love to try this product (interested in the raw milk and soaps) but the prices!!! Totally prohibitive for ‘normal’ people! And I never even got to the shipping! I know people need to make a living and a profit, but often, it seems they charge WAY too much. I’m sure this is a great product, and, again, I’d LOVE to try it, but just can’t afford it.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      I think the prices are because of basic supply and demand. There’s not very many options to purchase it domestically, so the supply is low, but the demand is increasing because of how healthy it is, so hopefully, the supply will increase to meet the demand and prices will come down because of it. 🙂

  12. Janelle Avatar
    Janelle

    The link to Desert Farms will not open for me, anyone else having that problem?

  13. Desirae Avatar
    Desirae

    I was excited to give this a try. However, Desert Farms and other farms in the USA that make soap use palm oil. It is an unfortunate crime against this earth and many of its beautiful inhabitants to use palm oil. I will not use a company that uses palm oil. I have yet to find one that does not make camel soap with palm oil. If anyone knows of a place, I would be appreciative of having that information. Thank you.

    1. arthur Avatar

      Hi there, humpalicious in south Australia make soap with no palm oil. A very ethical company.

    2. melissa Avatar

      Not sure if you’re still interested- Big Mama’s Camel Milk Soap uses organic shea butter or organic cocoa butter. Great scents, she uses a lot of essential oil in each batch so the scent lasts.

  14. Brooke Simpkins Avatar
    Brooke Simpkins

    Can you drink this while pregnant ? Would it be safe ?

    1. Angela wingate Avatar
      Angela wingate

      did you ever get an answer to this? Or did you end up using it?? Any issues?

  15. April Avatar

    I’ve been wanting to try this for my son. I will say I have heard that you must start off VERY slowly for children–like 1/4 teaspoon and work your way up from there gradually. In order to do that, it seems most cost effective to buy frozen and defrost a little at a time. Katie, did you buy frozen and did it affect taste? Thanks for the research and especially the source.

  16. Hicunni Avatar
    Hicunni

    I am willing to test it out! Our children has lots of allergies. In addition our son has CAPD and other learning challenges. My husband has seasonal allergies and allergic to hay. Thanks for negotiating a discount.

    1. Amanda Avatar

      We use camel milk because of allergies and it works great. We cant use cow milk at all because of allergies or goats milk but have no problems at all with camel milk. Fortunately we live close to a camel farm in Indiana (usacamelmilk) and buy direct. We freeze it to make it last longer and just put what we want in the fridge overnight. Its not salty to me like some say but more like a 2% cow milk. We’ve had it fresh too and it taste the same. Hope this helps. Great resource site here btw!

  17. bill Avatar

    Interesting article and of course if there is evidence that prolonged ingestion can be beneficial to the autoimmune system, terrific. If there ever became a demand for it, I can certainly see a huge backlash from the established dairy industry within North America. The industry has duped us in believing milk is essential throughout our lives, which is not the case, I myself have no problems with milk, but use it sparingly in baking, and scrambled eggs.
    Thanks for exposing us to this information.

  18. Linda Avatar

    What is the shelf life of the milk? Does it sour like cow’s milk? I’m also interested in how much to consume in a day.

  19. Christina Avatar
    Christina

    Thanks for sharing this Katie. It’s fascinating, and I wonder if this is the milk of the future. I definitely won’t hesitate to try it when I do come across it. Blessings <3

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