6 Surprising Benefits of Camel Milk (And 3 Downsides)

1. Rich in nutrients

Camel milk is rich in many nutrients that are important for overall health.

When it comes to calorie, protein, and carb content, camel milk is comparable to whole cow’s milk. However, it’s lower in saturated fat and offers more vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, iron, and potassium (1Trusted Source2).

It’s also a good source of healthy fats, such as long-chain fatty acids, linoleic acid, and unsaturated fatty acids, which may support brain and heart health (34Trusted Source).

One-half cup (120 ml) of camel milk contains the following nutrients (2):

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

2. May be a better option for people with lactose intolerance or milk allergies

Lactose intolerance is a common condition caused by a deficiency of lactase, the enzyme needed to digest the sugar in dairy known as lactose. It can cause bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain after consumption of dairy products (5Trusted Source).

Camel milk contains less lactose than cow’s milk, making it more tolerable for many people with lactose intolerance.

One study in 25 people with this condition found that only 2 participants had a mild reaction to roughly 1 cup (250 ml) of camel milk, while the rest were unaffected (6Trusted Source7Trusted Source).

Camel milk also has a different protein profile than cow’s milk and appears to be better tolerated by those with an allergy to cow’s milk (8Trusted Source9Trusted Source).

One study in 35 children ages 4 months to 10.5 years old with cow’s milk allergy noted that only 20% were sensitive to camel milk through a skin-prick test (10Trusted Source11Trusted Source).

What’s more, camel milk has been used to treat diarrhea caused by rotavirus for hundreds of years. Research suggests that the milk contains antibodies that help treat this diarrheal disease, which is especially common in children (12Trusted Source).

3. May lower blood sugar and insulin

 

Camel milk has been shown to lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes (13Trusted Source14Trusted Source15Trusted Source16Trusted Source).

The milk contains insulin-like proteins, which may be responsible for its antidiabetic activity. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Studies indicate that camel milk provides the equivalent of 52 units of insulin per about 4 cups (1 liter). It’s also high in zinc, which may help improve insulin sensitivity (13Trusted Source17Trusted Source18Trusted Source19Trusted Source).

In a 2-month study in 20 adults with type 2 diabetes, insulin sensitivity improved among those drinking 2 cups (500 ml) of camel milk, but not among the cow’s milk group (20Trusted Source).

Another study found that adults with type 1 diabetes who drank 2 cups (500 ml) of camel milk daily in addition to diet, exercise, and insulin treatment saw lower blood sugar and insulin levels than those not given camel milk. Three people no longer needed insulin (21Trusted Source).

In fact, a review of 22 research articles determined that 2 cups (500 ml) per day is the recommended dose of camel milk to improve blood sugar control in those with diabetes (13Trusted Source).

4. May fight disease-causing organisms and boost immunity

Camel milk contains compounds that appear to fight various disease-causing organisms. The two main active components in camel milk are lactoferrin and immunoglobulins, proteins that may give camel milk its immune-boosting properties (22Trusted Source).

Lactoferrin has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. It inhibits the growth of E. coli, K. pneumoniae, Clostridium, H.pylori, S. aureus, and C. albicans, organisms that can cause severe infections (22Trusted Source).

What’s more, one rat study found that camel milk protected against leukopenia (low white blood cell count) and other side effects of cyclophosphamide, a toxic anticancer drug. These results support the immune-boosting properties of the milk (23Trusted Source).

Additional research suggests that camel whey protein is responsible for the milk’s ability to fight harmful organisms. It may have antioxidant properties that help your body fight free radical damage (24Trusted Source).

5. May aid brain conditions and autism spectrum disorder

Camel milk has been studied for its effects on behavioral conditions in children, and people suggest that it may aid those with autism. Most of the evidence is anecdotal, though a few small studies indicate potential benefits for improving autistic behaviors (25Trusted Source26Trusted Source).

Autism spectrum disorders is an umbrella term for several neurodevelopmental conditions that can impair social interactions and cause repetitive behaviors (27Trusted Source).

One study found that camel milk may improve autistic behavior in children on the spectrum. However, this study used cow’s milk as a placebo and noted that many of the participants had lactose intolerance or milk allergy (7Trusted Source28Trusted Source).

Another study in 65 children with autism ages 2–12 years old noted that 2 weeks of drinking camel milk led to significant improvements in autistic behavioral symptoms, which were not seen in the placebo group (26Trusted Source).

Though research is promising, replacing standard treatments for autism with camel milk is not recommended. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns parents that these claims are not warranted and lack sufficient evidence (29Trusted Source30Trusted Source31Trusted Source).

Lastly, camel milk may benefit neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, but only a few animal studies have investigated this potential (32Trusted Source33Trusted Source34Trusted Source).

6. Easy to add to your diet

Camel milk can almost always replace other types of milk.

It can be consumed plain or used in coffee, tea, smoothies, baked goods, sauces, soups, mac and cheese, and pancake and waffle batters.

There may be subtle differences in taste depending on where the milk comes from. American camel milk is said to have a sweet, slightly salty, and creamy taste, while camel milk from the Middle East has a more nutty and smoky flavor.

Camel milk products like soft cheese, yogurt, and butter are not widely available due to challenges in processing that are attributed to the composition of camel milk (35Trusted Source).

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