camel milk benefits

Camel Milk – is it Really That Good?

It’s not new news to Middle Eastern cultures, but to westerners Camel Milk news is spreading far and wide. You say ‘camel milk’ and people say “ewww…” yet question them ‘have you tried it’ and the answers is always ‘no’. It’s hard to believe that camel milk can be as good as it’s proclaimed… didn’t cow milk get a good flogging of ‘healthy super food’ only to be to have it’s status discarded years later? Where there are humans there is error, and we’re always excited about ‘discovering a ‘new’ superfood that will help us be heather and suffer less.

The camel creature itself has many uses, but of the late Camel Milk is hitting the market particularly towards people with underlying health issues. Even their urine (yep!) is said to help heal liver cancer!

A recent post from National UAE write about scientific studies being undertook with camel milk and people with health issues. it writes:

“Those who drank camel milk in past millennia were onto a good thing, because modern-day science has shed light on a host of health benefits associated with its consumption”.

There was a recent review article 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 (BITS Pilani). The involvement of scientists from India is appropriate because, just as camel milk has long been a favourite in the Gulf region, so too it is drunk by some traditional communities in South Asia.

Reducing Diabetes… “One of the key illnesses camel milk has been shown to be effective against is diabetes, a particular problem in the Gulf because of poor diets and sedentary lifestyles”.

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. This is because camel milk has been shown to contain an insulin-like molecule,” said Dr Dubey.

“Diabetes is a disease in which the therapeutic potential of camel milk can be maximally utilised. It has well-observed clinical benefits.”

All too Good to me True…? So you can see why Camel Milk has much excitement around it’s health benefits. This ain’t your ordinary dairy cow.

It goes on to say…

Human Milk vs Camel Milk…. “Another important issue concerns the immune system. Human milk contains a variety of immunological substances that can help to protect babies from infection, with studies showing that a breast-fed baby can receive up to 1g of the main type of antibody in human milk, secretory immunoglobulin A, each day. Camel milk, too, contains large quantities of antibodies that, similarly, can help to protect against infection. Enzymes it contains, such as lysozyme and lactoperoxidase, are likely to help combat bacterial infections.”

“There are also dietary reasons why drinking camel milk makes sense. It has a high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that can lower the concentration in the blood of harmful forms of cholesterol. Camel milk is also high in mineral content and contains significant amounts of certain types of vitamins. It has also been shown to reduce lactose intolerance, combat hepatitis and decrease kidney and liver damage due to alcohol.”

So what’s the fuss…?

“it is no wonder that Dr Dubey “certainly” recommends that people regularly drink camel milk to maintain good health, although she cautions that unpasteurised “pooled milk” from multiple camels could pose health risks because of unidentified microbes.

“Fresh milk from a healthy camel undoubtedly has multiple nutritional and health benefits,” she said.

However, camel milk is, as of now, perhaps being underutilised as a therapeutic agent. Dr Dubey notes that, in terms of its medical benefits, it is typically used “only at a local level and on the basis of traditional knowledge”.

And Even Cancer…?

“More research is needed to harness these medical applications, with cancer treatment one area where it could be used in future. As Dr Dubey says, the presence of a specific anti-cancer molecule in camel milk has not yet been established, but camel milk has been shown to lyse, or destroy, cancer cell lines. It is thought that it does this by interfering with transcription, the process in which DNA is converted into RNA, which in turn forms proteins.”

“As modern science discovers more about the therapeutic benefits of camel milk, specific components could be used in a more targeted ways to combat illness. It is an outcome that, were they to have known, would probably have pleased those who began drinking this precious liquid all those thousands of years ago.”

So there you have it! Camel Milk has exciting new scientific studies underway in the UAE which hopefully can spread globally to benefit human health, and in particular make use of our so called ‘feral camels’ in Australia. 

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