Hump Day Every Day! Drink Camel's Milk!

By: Callie Pillsbury on Jul 17, 2017

Have you ever seen a dairy farm full of camels, camels grazing on open pasteurs, or your neighborhood grocery store selling “hump milk”?  Well, don’t be surprised if your next carton of healthy milk comes from a camel!  

BACKGROUND OF CAMEL’S MILK

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Many Asian and Middle Eastern countries have been drinking camel’s milk for years. Originally, nomads from these countries would travel on camels’ back in the desert for days on days and the only nourishment they had was camels milk.  Camels have the unique ability to produce milk even after 21 days without water.

Historically, people from Middle Eastern, Asian, and African societies have been drinking camel’s milk for years. Traditional Iranian Medicine state that camel’s milk is nutritionally very similar to human milk. In the United States, the consumption of camel’s milk is rare. Camel’s milk in the U.S. is more expensive than cow’s milk because of the small quantity of camels raised for milk. There are only a few camel dairy farms located in Michigan and California. Camel’s milk is FDA approved. Camel’s milk is normally consumed fresh, so the milk is sour, with a  in comparison to the smoother flavor of cow’s milk. In the United States, most people find this sour taste unenjoyable.

However, it should be warned that most of the camel’s milk produced is unpasteurized!  This raises the risk of pathogenic bacteria (1).

COMPOSITION OF CAMEL'S MILK

Calories

107 kcal

Water

81-87%

Fat

5.6%

Protein

4.9%

Lactose

5.85%

Other minerals

0.99%

The nutrient composition of camel’s milk is very similar to human milk. In suffering countries, camel’s milk is often given to malnourished children to help increase calories with this nutrient dense drink. 

HEALTH BENEFITS  

Vitamins and minerals. Camels milk is considered a good source of protein, phosphorous, B vitamins niacin, iron, and calcium. A unique nutrient in camel’s milk is vitamin C. Although the vitamin C content in 1 cup of camel’s milk is only 5.7- 9.8 mg, this represents 3X as much vitamin C as in 1 cup of cow’s milk!

Fat. Camel’s milk is lower in total fat than cow’s milk

Digestion. Compared to cow’s milk, camel’s milk is easier to digest. People who are lactose intolerant might be able to receive the health benefits of milk without such discomfort (2).

Type 1 diabetes. In a limited study on 24 individuals, Camel’s milk was shown to potentially improve long term glycemic control. In this study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition,  they propose the possibility that if camel’s milk is repeatedly consumed, the use of insulin dosages could be decreased. It is theorized that camel's milk contains a protein that mimics the action of insulin. It should be taken into consideration that the research of camel’s milk for type 1 diabetics is limited. There should be more scientific research completed before recommending camel’s milk for type 1 diabetics (3).

Based on these healthful properties, camels milk has the potential to become the new superfood. Camel’s milk is actually the only paleo approved milk! 

CAMEL’S MILK PRODUCTS

Butter. Although, it is difficult to produce butter from camel’s milk because the proteins are bound to the fat, it can be done. Camels milks butter is more thick and white with a neutral taste.

Cheese.  Similar to butter, the creation of cheese from camel’s milk is also problematic because it has limited coagulation properties.

Skin products. Often times, camel’s milk is even used as skin products such as soaps and lotions for moisturizing the skin.  Camel milk skin products can be found here  

CAMELS MILKS AND SPRAY DRYING PRODUTS.  

Milk products, like camel’s milk, can be spray dried to be used in a variety of products such as sports drinks, infant formulas, and hospital use. On an economical level, spray dried milk powder can be added to drinks to supply milk and its healthful nutrients in tropical locations where fresh milk is limited. Spray dried camel’s milk would also have a longer shelf like than raw milk.  

Learn More

Learn more about Spray Drying on our website.


References

1. Camels and camel milk. (n.d.). Retrieved June 6, 2017, from http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/X6528E/X6528E02.htm

2. Brezovečki A, Čagalj M, Dermit ZF, Mikulec N, Ljoljić DB, Antunac N. Camel milk and milk products. Mljekarstvo / Dairy. 2015;65(2):81-90. doi:10.15567/mljekarstvo.2015.0202.

3. Agrawal RP, Jain S, Shah S, Chopra A, Agarwal V. Effect of camel milk on glycemic control and insulin requirement in patients with type 1 diabetes: 2-years randomized controlled trial. European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition. 2011;65(9):1048-1052. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2011.98.