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: MAMACAMEL) 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

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

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

  1. Jo Avatar

    I’m super curious on whether anyone knows if the pasteurized version would still help with things like leaky gut and histamine reaction? I would also like to try it for my child with same issues but am uncomfortable using raw at this time. According to their website it should still be quite beneficial but first hand experiences would be great too!

    1. Lien Avatar

      Camel milk has been miraculous in healing my 5-yr old’s leaky gut. She has histamine intolerance and camel milk (8 oz/ day) got her off daily anti-histamines in two weeks (!). I was skeptical of raw also but we’ve been drinking it since April with no issues.

      The pasteurized version is not as healing but it’s supposed to almost as good. Something like 80% of the effectiveness of raw (my guess only based on what I’ve read) since it’s very gently pasteurized.

      1. Kelly Vice Avatar
        Kelly Vice

        Curious if he had a detox reaction to it? My Daughter has been on it. For 5 days and has had an upset stomach most of the time.

  2. Lien S. Avatar

    I’ve been giving my daughter raw camels milk from desert farms for 3 months and it has dramatically improved her leaky gut and histamine reactions. I can honestly say it’s been the single most effective intervention we’ve tried; more so than even the GAPS diet, and probiotics.

    Those new to camel milk need to start low and increase slowly (especially ASD kids) cause it does have detox symptoms (mostly diarrhea) when you first start.

    Also, if you notice constipation while drinking camel milk, you may need to try another source/distributor as some camels are fed more grains than others which can cause constipation in some.

    1. Addison Avatar

      Thank u so much for this! I have been wanting to try camel milk for my babies allergies and we have started gaps on him. I will show my husband this in hopes of convincing him it will work!

  3. Miz Avatar

    While I would definitely give camel milk a try out of curiosity and for its supposed benefits, I wonder at what point is this all getting a bit too much.
    I mean if milk is best if it’s nutritionally similar to breast milk, wouldn’t a gorilla’s milk be the most similar? We are 99% identical in genes after all…
    Or why aren’t we just drinking our own breast milk if anything or using human breast milk as supplements for autism etc…
    I am starting to feel like humans are constantly trying to find the next best exotic thing to exploit.. But hopefully I’m wrong.

  4. Elizabeth Avatar
    Elizabeth

    In Genesis Jacob (Israel) was journeying back to his father’s land with his wives and children and their milk camels. I’ve always thought it interesting. It’s possibly what Benjamin (the youngest of the 12 sons) was fed till weaned since his mother (Rachael) died soon after birthing her second child. Thanks for sharing your experience with it.

  5. Jo Avatar

    Hi,
    Thanks for this post! We are very interested in trying this milk for two of our kiddos who have allergies to cow, soy, and almond milks (and one even to goat’s). (We are vegetarian but would prefer to get some type of animal protein into them besides eggs, sigh…) My question is, why do you believe that Desert Farms is the best choice? What criteria do you use to decide? We have a local camels milk company http://www.coloradocamelmilk.com which would make sense for us to purchase from, but I have NO idea how to tell what companies are considered the safest in terms of health regulations etc. What do you think?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      The desert farms is the only one I’ve found that ships throughout the US and that I’ve been able to verify the quality of. If you have a local source, I’d just check to make sure that they are raised in a healthy environment and ask a lot of questions.

  6. Kellie Avatar

    This is a Fascinating article! I have chronic low immunoglobulin A’s. There is no way to increase them other than a possible herb or colostrum and I don’t tolerate dairy well. Few questions!! Does the fresh milk ship intact and come cold or is refrigeration not needed? Wondering if the frozen actually comes frozen or melts in transit. Do you know if the freeze dried is the same as the raw? Can we use the discount code? ? Thank You!!

  7. Alexandra Avatar
    Alexandra

    My twin 4-yr-old boys have autism and we use desert farms raw camel milk! LOVE IT!!!!!!

  8. Kim Avatar

    Thank you so much for this helpful information. I am so grateful to know there are options and hope for the different ailments/challenges that we face as a family. God bless you and keep up the good work.

  9. Kym Avatar

    Thanks so much for this information. I went right out and bought some camel milk in Nairobi near where I live. The price is great here-$1.60 per pint. The taste is great-I was a bit hesitant to try. The only problem is that the milk is pasteurized and I would prefer it raw. I do have neighbors who let their camels roam and they come over to my place to eat the trees. I will have to go over and see if they milk their camels. Appreciate you sharing!

    1. Debs Avatar

      Hey Kim In too live near Nairobi and recently discovered Camel milk. I love it and looking at ways to convert my hubby. We are lucky that the price is not as outrageous as in the USA or other parts of the world. My askari is Samburu, thought about asking him if he can raise camels on our 10 acre property ….

  10. Lisa Avatar

    I see a couple of other people have also asked, Id be really keen to know what dosage you would suggest please Katie for someone using to try and overcome allergies.
    and would you suggest fasting when using, as I noticed that children in the study ate nothing except the milk for the duration of the study it seems

  11. Eddie Avatar

    Where can I buy powdered camel milk? Any recommendations are appreciated. Thanks

  12. Andrea Avatar

    For dosing, contact Dr Millie Hinkle at http://www.camelmilkusa.com/.

    We started with 2 oz and worked up gradually to 16 ounces daily for 2 weeks than backed down to 8 ounces per day.

    For us, it has proven very beneficial for Inflammatory Bowel Disease that was vaccine induced.

  13. Vicki Avatar

    I’m interested in the camel kefir. Same benefits? And how much per day?

  14. Liz C Avatar

    I am intrigued! I am a diabetic and have a niece with Autism and a nephew just newly diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Very intrigued!

  15. Beverly Avatar
    Beverly

    Thank you for this great article. I’ve been wanting to try camel milk both for my 16 year old son and myself. My son is on the autism spectrum, has multiple food and seasonal allergies and has a tentative diagnosis of schitzoaffective disorder. If he’ll drink this and it will help at all I’m all for it!!! I’ll be in contact to let you know how we’re doing. I’m ordering the milk and kefir. Please pray that this works because I’m at my wits end as to how to help him. He is currently taking meds because he would not stay on his diet and was spiraling out of control. I’m a complete believer in the opiate effect of dairy and gluten on people with autism, at least for my son. Thank you again for this information.

      1. Beverly Avatar

        No Sandy I haven’t. I’ll check with his doctor or psychiatrist. I’ve heard of PANDAS but not PANS.
        Thanks for the suggestion.
        Blessings

    1. Carla Avatar

      You might consider testing for the genetic mutation, MTHFR, if you haven’t already done so. Best of luck!

  16. Tabatha :D Avatar
    Tabatha 😀

    Katie,
    Please tell me of any good health food conferences, etc. I am looking but am new at the idea of going to one. You would probably be able to point me to a good one or so.

  17. Sara Avatar

    Udder milk creamery delivers raw camels milk to the NYC and NJ areas. It is cheaper than the price you posted online.

    1. Adam Avatar

      Sara,
      Desert Farms has sales up to 50% off all the time and always free shipping. So it’s actually cheaper if you hit it at the right time!

  18. Audrey Avatar

    I KNEW I needed a camel!! Here’s my excuse! ?
    Thank you for this interesting article. I raise & milk goats and am very open to trying “alternative” milks. After all, why not? Who degreed that cows milk is THE milk?

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