Camel Milk: An Emerging Solution for Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance affects a significant portion of the world's population, leading to discomforts such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea due to the inability to break down lactose, the main sugar in cow's milk.
Camel milk has come into the spotlight as a possible alternative, with research indicating its benefits for those with lactose intolerance.
Understanding Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is a digestive disorder caused by a deficiency of lactase, the enzyme required to digest lactose. Without adequate lactase, lactose passes through the gastrointestinal tract undigested, leading to the symptoms associated with the condition.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. While cow's milk allergy is different from lactose intolerance, it affects nearly 5 percent of children, with a higher incidence in children than in adults.
Recent Research on Milk Allergies and Intolerances
A study examining the response of 500 individuals to various types of milk, including almond, soy, and coconut milk, revealed unexpected allergic reactions in some participants. This same study identified camel milk as the second least allergenic milk, next to human milk, highlighting its potential as a suitable substitute.
Camel milk lacks β-lactoglobulin, a major allergen present in cow's milk proteins. Furthermore, while camel milk does contain lactose, it is present in lower quantities compared to cow's milk and is accompanied by a different protein and mineral composition. This unique makeup might contribute to the easier digestibility of camel milk for those with lactose intolerance, offering fewer adverse reactions.
Nutritional Advantages of Camel Milk
Aside from its hypoallergenic properties, camel milk is rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and immunoglobulins. It also possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can support overall digestive health, potentially aiding those with lactose intolerance and associated gastrointestinal distress.
What's worth remembering
For individuals with lactose intolerance, camel milk presents a promising alternative. It offers the nutritional benefits of milk without the discomfort typically associated with lactose-containing products. As with any dietary change, it is advisable for individuals to consult with healthcare professionals before introducing camel milk into their diet, especially if they have a known milk protein allergy or other dietary restrictions.
The scientific community continues to explore the role of camel milk in dietary management for individuals with lactose intolerance. While additional research is needed to fully understand its benefits and mechanisms, current evidence positions camel milk as a favorable option for those seeking lactose-free or low-lactose dairy solutions. Its easier digestibility, along with the nutritional benefits, makes camel milk an attractive alternative for those with lactose intolerance looking to enjoy the benefits of milk without the associated discomfort.
Article sources and scientific research
El-Agamy, E. I. (2007). Camel milk as an alternative to cow's milk for lactose-intolerant individuals: A review. International Journal of Dairy Science, 2(4), 261-271.
Shabo, Y., Yagil, R., & Eti, S. (2005). Camel milk for food allergies in children. Israel Medical Association Journal, 7(12), 796-798.
Faye, B., & Konuspayeva, G. (2012).
Camel milk: a possible alternative for children with cow's milk allergy? (PMID: 31692312)
Camel milk for food allergies in children (PMID: 16382703)
Camel Milk Is a Safer Choice than Goat Milk for Feeding Children with Cow Milk Allergy
The Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory and Immunomodulatory Effects of Camel Milk
Cross-over clinical trial for evaluating the safety of camel's milk intake in patients who are allergic to cow's milk protein (PMID: 29223706)