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.
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.
One-half cup (120 ml) of camel milk contains the following nutrients:
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.
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.
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).
Camel milk has been shown to lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Autism spectrum disorders is an umbrella term for several neurodevelopmental conditions that can impair social interactions and cause repetitive behaviors.
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.
Lastly, camel milk may benefit neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, but only a few animal studies have investigated this potential.
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.