I tried some raw US camel milk yesterday (about 1 pint around 6 pm) and this morning had my first normal blood sugar in a while 87, as compared to the past three days before that where I was around 113-114 with one crazy reading of 142 fasting. I had read that camel milk can help, but I didn’t really expect to find any. Then I had Valentine’s Day dinner at Mission: Heirloom and had a chance to speak to the owner briefly, Yrmis Barroeta. We didn’t talk about camel milk, but I noticed they were selling so I bought a pint and gave it a try. At $20/pint it was not cheap, but this was good stuff, and to have a normal fasting blood sugar was worth it.
Of course, my 87 mg/dL reading this morning may also have been from the hour long hike in the hills on a sunny day with friends the day before, the sprinting I did yesterday or the push-ups, or the nice 8 hours of sleep I got last night. The six sea scallops and fried plantain in cinnamon and coconut oil may have had something to do with it, or my good mood, or the snack of organic turkey meat with YucanCrunch crackers (100% yuca root fiber also from Mission Heirloom) and olive oil. The only way to tell is to repeat some of those things and keep testing.
Here is some information about camel milk and diabetes (or in my case, impaired fasting glucose):
… Some of the most interesting research reports studied the insulin in camel milk. French scientists reported two decades ago that “relatively large concentrations [of insulin] are present in the [camel] milk.” While some insulin is also found in the milk of other animals, including cows, a radioimmunoassay of camel milk “has revealed high concentration of insulin., i.e. 52 units/l,” according to a study in India.Insulin is, of course, a protein, which is normally destroyed in the stomach. But an Israeli report on “Insulin in Milk — A Comparative Study,” found that camel milk is unique in that it does not react to the acid in the stomach so it passes into the intestines ready for absorption. This study concludes that “there is a scientific justification for drinking camel milk by certain diabetic patients.”
Note, however, that some of these studies probably used raw camel milk in their tests. Pasteurization can denature the insulin in camel milk, but it depends on “the length of time and amount of heat that is applied.” The Desert Farms camel milk is “gently pasteurized.” Walid tells me that when he pasteurizes the camel milk he sells, it is for 30 minutes at 145F.
Camel milk also has an anti-inflammatory effect, according to a Saudi study. That study went on to note a “significantly lower fasting glucose level.”
Yet another study, this one by researchers in Egypt, concluded that “daily ingestion of camel milk can aid metabolic control in young type 1 diabetics, at least in part by boosting endogenous insulin secretion.” This was a 16-randomized week of 54 young people (average age 20) with type 1 diabetes. Each day they got 500 mL of camel milk, which is about 2 cups.
The most impressive studies include several led by Rajendra Agrawal, senior professor, Department of Medicine, Diabetes Care and Researrch Centre, Sardar Patel Medical College in Bikaner, Rajasthan, India. This college is in the middle of the Thar desert, which has lots of camels.
One of seven published studies of camel milk led by Professor Agrawal compared camel and cow’s milk in people with type 2 diabetes as well as non-diabetics. This study of 28 men concluded that in people with type 2 diabetes camel milk reduces fasting blood sugar, post-prandial glucose, and A1C levels. In five months of the study the average A1C level went down from 8.4 to 7.3, while it went up among those taking cow’s milk. “It shows hypoglycemic effect of camel milk reducing insulin resistance.”
Milk isn’t a low-carbohydrate food. Two cups of cow’s milk has 23 grams of carbohydrate, and the same amount of camel milk has 22 grams.
This article caught my attention as well:
After having demonstrated that drinking camel milk brings about a significant reduction in the dosage of insulin required to maintain long-term glycaemic control among Type 1 diabetes patients, scientists at National Research Centre on Camel (NRCC), India’s only camel breeding farm, spread over 689 hectares, in Bikaner, in northwestern Rajasthan, are now hoping for other discoveries about the animal that could convince its custodians to not give up raising it. …
The NRCC website says, “The proverbial Ship of Desert earned its epithet on account of its indispensability as a mode of transportation and drought power in desert but the utilities are many and are subject to continuous social and economic changes.”
For one, camels have special antibodies in their bloodstream that are capable of destroying harmful bacteria and viruses or neutralising other disease-causing poisons and pathogens. In medical circles, these antibodies are generally described as “nano antibodies” because of the speed with which these can travel through the animal or human body to reach the spot where they are needed.
NRCC director Dr Patil says that the antigen-antibody reaction in camels is similar to that in human beings, and for this reason, these antibodies, if harvested, can be used as a defence mechanism. “The antibodies need to be modified with biotech tools. We have been able to harvest such antibodies, purify them and test them on mice and rabbits,” he adds.
… Dr. Agrawal explains that camel milk passes into the bloodstream quickly because it has low coagulum. Coagulum is a substance that creates curds in the stomach.
With no digestive solids to impede quick assimilation, the high-insulin milk enters the bloodstream immediately, benefiting those whose own insulin secretions are inadequate. According to Dr. Agrawal, camel’s milk also “benefits cell function of the pancreas, another important benefit to diabetics.”
Camel’s Milk: A Nutritional Powerhouse
The National Nutrition Institute in Cairo analyzed the nutritional profile of camel milk, finding it to be high in:
And especially high in Vitamin C
According to an article in The Washington Post, Camel’s milk is 3 times higher in vitamin C than cow’s milk and 10 times higher in iron.
Camel’s milk is also lower in cholesterol than cow’s milk or goat’s milk, and higher in levels of potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, sodium, and zinc.
Health experts tout camel’s milk as an immune system rehabilitator. Researchers speculate that it may also calm down the immune response to food allergens in individuals who have multiple allergies.
Finally, camel’s milk is low in lactose and very well tolerated by those who react to the lactose in cow’s milk.