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Friday, February 19, 2010

More Camel Milk Lactose Nonsense

Camel milk is pretty much like all the other milks that humans drink on a regular basis. According to a respected expert - me, on my Lactose Zoo page - cow's milk has a range of 3.7-5.1% lactose. Sheep's milk is 4.6-5.4% lactose. Goat milk is 4.1-4.7% lactose. And camel milk has a range of 3.3 to 5.0%. There may be some variation at the extremes, but put them onto a chart and they would overlap heavily.

So why do some people, even purported experts, try to claim that those of us with lactose intolerance can drink camel milk with no symptoms? I don't know. And their explanations don't help at all.

"Camel milk also contains lactose but of the non-allergic variety, so any lactose-intolerant person who can’t drink cow’s milk, can drink camel milk," explained Ruquiya Alusmani – the consultant chief of the Nutrition and Dietetics department and a Diabetic Educator at Baksh Hospital in Jeddah - in an interview with Saudi Gazette.

If you think that nobody could possibly talk about lactose of the non-allergic variety and that some blogger is misquoting the Saudi Gazette, I regret to inform you that the quote is actually from the Saudi Gazette.
Needless to say. Sorry, as is obviously needful to say, no lactose of any kind, from any animal, is allergic in any way. Proteins cause allergies. Lactose is a sugar. And lactose from camel milk will create about as many symptoms as lactose from all those other animals' milks.

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Louie (FL) said...

You are indeed right in every word you've said, it's the milk proteins that cause the allergies and not the lactose for most people, but people are misinformed, I'm super allergic to cow's milk, it causes my nasal passage to swell and I would have breathing problems and eye redness and sneezing etc, I tried goat milk and I had less symptoms until my body got used to it, I also tried camel milk and had no trouble, so I finally figured out it's the cow's milk protein that triggering my allergies

Philippa said...

Hi - I'm part of a team making a documentary on camel milk. We've been filming for seven months in around 17 countries. There is a lot of misinformation around camel milk and lactose. This is what we have learned:

Camel milk has lactose, yes. The difference is in the proteins which are shorter than cow/goat-milk proteins.

You know how some people with lactose intolerance can tolerate aged cheese? This is because the proteins have shortened in the ageing process. This is the same science for camel milk proteins. So the lactose is there but the milk is far easier to digest than cow's milk. In fact, camel milk is the closest milk to human milk, due to the camel's monogastric digestive system (they have one stomach just like us!)

Another interesting result from shorter proteins is that one protein in camel milk mimics insulin. Oral insulin consumption has been shelved by many researchers because it gets destroyed in the acid environment of the stomach. But with camel milk proteins, they pass through unharmed, entering the lower intestine where the insulin can be absorbed and used by the body. So people use camel milk as a medicine to treat Diabetes (note I say treat and not cure, as studies have seen is reduce insulin usage by 30% - it has cured Diabetes in dogs however).

Camel milk is also used to treat allergies to foods. It is so beneficial for the digestive system that if you do suffer from lactose intolerance it can be a great addition to your diet - keeping everything running nicely.

Unfortunately you will have to live in the UAE, Mauritania, Mongolia, Rajasthan India, or north Africa to get hold of some as importing camel milk from these places into the EU is currently illegal.

There are camel milk dairies in the US but it's a very expensive option.
feel free to email me for more info:

Steve Carper said...

Thank you for the information, and I apologize for the delay in posting it.

However, I hope you do more research into milk. Specifically, aged cheese is tolerated well by people with lactose intolerance because it has lower lactose. The aging process almost literally squeezes the lactose out. (Lactose is in the whey fraction of milk, which means it's dissolved in the liquid. When the liquid goes, so does the lactose.) The proteins are not shortened, whatever that means.

David said...

For anyone who is lactose intolerant, I tried camel milk and am lactose intolerant and it gave me a lot of stomach problems, so I would advise against it, though you can proceed at your own risk. not so sure what is being written here about short and long proteins. the simple fact is if you can't digest lactose, and something has lactose, you'll have a bad reaction to it. And camel milk, like al milk, has lactose. I believe making yogurt and curd from any milk more or less removes the lactose but it seems quite difficult to do this with camel milk for some reason. good luck and be healthy (and watch out for snake oil!)

Anonymous said...

Philippa - i am surprised to hear you have been working on this for so long, and yet made the mistake suggesting lactose is a protein!!! It's a disaccharide sugar molecuke. Allergies to milk proteins is not the same thing as lactose nitolerance!

Anonymous said...

A lot of people do not know the difference between lactose intolerance and milk allergies. Camel milk contains lactose so it's not appropriate for lactose intolerance, however unlike cow's milk does not trigger allergies in those with milk allergies.~ louna

Anonymous said...

Consumption of camel's milk by patients intolerant to lactose. A preliminary study.
Cardoso RR, Santos RM, Cardoso CR, Carvalho MO.

Faculdades Integradas do Planalto Central, Brasilia, DF, Brazil.

To determine whether camel's milk can be consumed by patients intolerant to lactose without undesirable reactions.

Twenty-five patients with clinical and laboratorial diagnosis of lactose intolerance underwent provocation tests with growing amounts of cow's milk and subsequently with camel's milk.

Except for two patients, who had mild reactions to the maximum dosage of camel's milk (250 mL), the acceptance was excellent. Pasteurization of camel's milk did not affect tolerance. Also, most of the patients showed significant clinical reactions when drinking very low amounts of cow's milk.

Camel's milk can be considered an option for the individuals intolerant to lactose who present symptoms when ingesting cow's milk.

Unknown said...

Apparently, from speaking with an Israeli researcher on Camel milk, camel lactose contains a different glucose than cows' milk, and is apparently much more similar to the human form. That is why it is better tolerated in most people with lactase def.

Steve Carper said...

Gil, I'm positive you misunderstood something. There is no glucose in camel's milk. (And glucose comes in only one form.)

Anonymous said...

Reading these comments is as entertaining as watching my cat chase its tail. Now I've got these camel milk chocolates as a gift. I want to try them, so I will take a lactase dose with the first bite. Thats it folks -- take your lactase and hope for the best!

Anonymous said...

lactose is a disaccharide and is made of two single sugar molecules. Glucose is one of them. (glucose is a single sugar molecule)

Omi said...

camel milk does not contain β lactoglobulin, the protein present in cow’s, goat’s and horse’s milk that is the main cause of cow’s milk allergy.This is a binding whey protein.

jeff said...

I can tell you about my experience which when i drink camel milk (some time two cups worth)i don't get any symptoms.

Why ? i don't know that when i start searching

Unknown said...

Cannot believe you call yourself an expert but are so illiterate to describe the allergy caused by other animals milk. It.s not exactly Lactose but beta-lactoglobin protein that causes the severe allergic reactions and camel milk does not have it.

Steve Carper said...

Zohaib, you need new reading glasses. I debunked someone saying that people with lactose intolerance could drink camel's drink without symptoms. They can't. That has nothing to do with milk protein allergies. It was the person in the quote who confused lactose intolerance with allergies, not me. I've written dozens of blog posts pointing out the difference.