If you gave up drinking cow’s milk because it made you sick, or because you were worried about hormones and chemicals that are in cow’s milk, and you’ve missed having an occasional drink, or a dab that you can add to your coffee or tea, there is a new intriguing alternative.
I was recently re-introduced to camel’s milk while attending my quarterly mastermind meeting, which I share with other medical providers with an online business. A friend and colleague, Walid, shared his new brand of camel’s milk, and to be honest, I was quite curious, so I drank some plain, put a bit in my tea, and even tried some in coffee—it was pretty good! So intrigued, I researched the potential benefits of camel’s milk.
When I say “re-introduced” to camel’s milk, I should clarify, because the last time I had tried camel’s milk was back in the 1970’s. During a break from college, I was traveling across Asia via local buses, in route to work as a volunteer in a hospital in India. During this six-week bus ride across Asia, we got a flat tire in the middle of rural Afghanistan, which took an entire day to get fixed. Nearby was a group of local Afghan herders with camels. I walked over to visit and was greeted with bowls of camels milk and yogurt, and I remember being surprised at how good it tasted—fresh from the camel. I paid them back for their generosity by entertaining them as I held on for dear life while riding a camel around their campsite. They laughed themselves silly.
How Is Camel’s Milk Different from Cow’s Milk?
It turns out camel’s milk is as different from cow’s milk as a camel is from a cow, by a great deal.
- IT HAS DIFFERENT PROTEIN: While both are high in protein, camel’s milk does not contain Casein A1 and lactoglubulin (which are responsible for dairy intolerance in many people)
- IT HAS DIFFERENT FAT: The fat is different too, as it has smaller fat molecules and camel’s milk does not need to be homogenized. Homogenization is the process by which milk is blended to create less curdling. However, the milk gets oxidized in the process, which creates potential harmful free radicals. The fact that camel’s milk does not need to undergo homogenization makes it free of free radicals, which is a benefit when comparing it to cow’s milk. Camel’s milk has less saturated fat and cholesterol content.
- NUTRIENT CONTENT IS DIFFERENT –Camel’s milk has a greater concentration of:
- Vitamin C
- Organic copper
- CAMEL’S MILK IS LESS ALLERGENIC THAN COW’S MILK. In a study published in Allergy Asthma Proceedings, researchers showed that in children with cow’s milk allergy as shown by skin prick testing, only 20% of them reacted to camel’s milk.
- CAMEL’S MILK HAS MORE IMMUNOGLOBULINS. Camel’s milk is closer to the makeup of colostrum in human breast milk than is cow’s milk, with a rich supply of immune supporting whey based immunoglobulins.
Are there Risks to Drinking Camel’s Milk?
- One thing that both camel’s and cow’s milk have in common is lactose. If you are lactose intolerant, you won’t tolerate either, so avoid both.
- If you are allergic to cow’s milk, there is a 20% chance you’ll be allergic to camel’s milk as well. To be sure, consider a skin prick test with your allergist. Or if you have a mild reaction to cow’s milk, then you could just drink it to experiment and find out.
- It isn’t a risk, but as you can likely imagine, when you add shipping expenses, camel’s milk isn’t cheap. It is 3-5 times the price of cow’s milk (not counting shipping). If you only use a bit in your tea or coffee, that shouldn’t affect you greatly, but if you are planning to substitute camel’s milk for cow’s milk and consume a few glasses per day, you will clearly notice the difference in price.
- Some forms of camel’s milk are sold as raw milk, which is unpasteurized. While this improves the nutritional content, it does mean that there is a rare risk for bacterial contamination. Therefore, if you have an immune deficiency or other complicated medical problems, either I suggest you talk to your own physician or avoid drinking raw milk products. Be sure to clarify what type of milk you are buying if you order camel’s milk.
What Does It Taste Like?
My impression is that camel’s milk tastes a great deal like whole milk, creamy and satisfying. Although I like using almond milk in my smoothie, I can’t say I like drinking almond milk or coconut milk plain, nor do I like the flavor of almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk in my coffee or tea. So for someone looking for a cow’s milk alternative, camel’s milk is a good option.
If you are looking for a cow’s milk alternative, without the hormones and allergic reactions, consider giving camel’s milk a try. Below is my link to sample it.
You likely won’t find it on the aisle of your local grocery store, nor at your local health food store. Since camel’s milk is not produced from a hoofed animal (such as a cow or goat), it isn’t regulated by the same laws and is available online.
The best source I’ve found for camel’s milk is from Desert Farms, pasture-raised, hormone-free, and is available for shipping anywhere in the continental US and Canada. Click here, to receive 4 sample bottles of camel milk, just cover the shipping & handling.
I wish you the best of health!
Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS