Team GR: Step aside almonds, camel’s milk is making waves as the trendy new go-to replacement for cow’s milk! But should you add it to your dairy-free diet? We’ve heard a lot of buzz lately and were wondering what the benefit is for those with autism. We asked holistic practitioner Barry Smeltzer to give us all the details!
A Q&A with Barry Smeltzer MPAS, PA-C
What is all the hype about with camel’s milk?
Camel’s milk is completely worth the hype! Camel’s milk is considered a superfood and has been studied for over thirty years.
It is a highly nutrient dense milk with high amounts of bioavailable vitamins, minerals, antioxidant, proteins, blood sugar stabilizing insulin, and unique antibodies.
It has multiple properties that can support and resolve some of the most common and significant GI issues and immune dysregulation many are coping with, especially those with autism as we know from their lab report findings.
How does this compare to cow’s milk? Is it still considered casein/dairy-free?
It is very different than cow’s milk. It is much closer to breastmilk in composition. Camel’s milk and breastmilk do not contain lactoglobulins, the most allergic component of cow’s milk.
The protein and fat content are similar and both contain high amounts of immunoglobulins. Interestingly, though, Camel’s Milk has more antibodies than breastmilk and they are up to 10x smaller, gaining the name nanobodies.
It is still considered dairy, but does not contain the same type of casein as most cow’s milk. It does not create the casomorphin reaction when not properly digested.
What are the benefits for individuals with autism?
Those with Autism have many medical issues from allergies, mitochondrial, gastrointestinal and immune. A recent study showed that the insulin in camel’s milk can be used to stabilize human insulin levels. Another study showed that it was tolerated by those anaphylactic to cow’s milk.
Camel’s milk has 3 times vitamin C and 10 times the Iron of cow’s milk. With these increased nutrients, that would make it an amazing healing milk. However, it is only half the story.
Camel milk has the unique nanobodies. Not only are they supportive for gut healing, but they can travel to areas of the body that our own antibodies cannot, like the brain.
With the discovery of the unique immune system in the brain, having a supportive antibody that can cross the blood brain barrier can have significant benefits for neuroinflammation.
There have not been specific studies done on the effects of nanobodies on neuroinflammation, but millions of dollars have been invested by pharmaceutical companies on its potential. We have reports of language explosions, eye contact returning, stims disappearing, allergies and sensitivities resolved, calmness, sleeping once again, aggression gone.
We also have one case where the family reported in addition to language, cognition, and improved appetite, they were seeing higher level functioning like remorse and empathy.
Is there a certain type of camel’s milk we should look out for? (i.e. 2% cow’s milk vs. full fat cow’s milk)
Camel’s milk studies were done primarily with raw milk. We know from other studies at certain temperatures and lengths sustained it destroys those valuable components.
With any food, you want it as pure as it can be – no antibiotics, no growth hormones, non-GMO grass fed without pesticides.
Also want to consider if any supplement feeding is given as we know with breastmilk, mom’s diet can affect the baby in various ways so supplemental feeding should be gluten and peanut free ideally.
Then there is the life of the camel. Farms can allow for the camels to roam the land verses being in a commercial farming practice setting of fenced pens on concrete making for a low quality of life.