Camel Milk vs Human Milk: A Scientific Perspective

Camel milk is quite similar to human milk in that it contains large levels of lactalbumin and lactoferrin and lacks -lactoglobulin.

Camel Milk vs Human Milk: A Scientific Perspective

Camel milk is quite similar to human milk in that it contains large levels of lactalbumin and lactoferrin and lacks -lactoglobulin.

Camel survives best in hot environments, with limited water supplies and with few kinds of grass. As a result, camels are often produced in nations with sizable desert areas.

Camels can be used for various things, including transportation, racing, tourism, agricultural work, cosmetics, milk, meat, and wool.

Calmels are a big source of milk production. African nations (such as Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya, Chad, Mauritania, Ethiopia, and Mali), which produce the majority of the world’s fresh whole camel milk, are followed by Asian nations in terms of milk production (e.g., India, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, China, and Pakistan).

Camel milk is regarded as a great substitute for human milk when access to human milk is restricted because it provides nutritional value that is superior to that of bovine milk and analogous to human milk.

Camel milk lacks allergy-inducing lactoglobulin contains a high percentage of easily hydrolyzed caseins and provides a good balance of key amino acids for human diets. In addition, camel milk is rich in vitamins, minerals, and protective proteins with anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and antibacterial qualities, such as immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, lysozyme, and lacto-peroxidase.

Figure 1. Camel classification
Figure 1. Camel classification

Macro-nutrients and bioactive compounds in camel milk

The composition of camel milk has been examined worldwide, and most studies indicate significant variances. Various ingredients of camel milk are mentioned below:

Camel milk vs human milk 2


In camel milk, caseins ranges from 61.8 to 88.5% of the total protein. S1-casein, S2-casein, kappa-casein, and other camel casein components comprise 21, 10, 65, and 3.5% of the total caseins, respectively. Camel milk has a high concentration of casein (65% of all caseins), similar to human milk. Since casein is less resistant to peptide hydrolysis than -S-casein, its quantity in camel milk is one of the primary factors in Camel’s milk ease of digestion for newborns.

Casein fractions from camel and bovine milk have amino acid compositions that are relatively comparable, with the exception that camel caseins contain more proline and less cysteine.

Lactalbumin, serum albumin, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin (also known as glycosylation-dependent cell adhesion molecule-1 or GlyCAM-1), and lactoferrin are the primary components of camel milk whey proteins.

Capillary electrophoresis was used to evaluate the amounts of lactalbumin, serum albumin, and lactoferrin in camel milk. These values were 2.01, 0.40, and 1.74 mg/mL, respectively.

Camel milk is quite similar to human milk in that it contains large levels of lactalbumin and lactoferrin and lacks -lactoglobulin. The absence of lactoglobulin in camel milk makes it a possible alternative protein source in the newborn formula because it is one of the main allergens in cow’s milk.

Studies demonstrate that Camel’s milk hypoallergenic proteins make it a viable substitute for human milk.

Lactoferrin, GlyCAM-1, immunoglobulins, lactoperoxidase, peptidoglycan recognition protein (PGRP), lysozyme, and acidic whey protein are only a few of the bioactive proteins with potential antibacterial action that have been discovered in camel milk.


In a study, the fatty acid composition of camel milk was thoroughly studied and contrasted with that of cow and human milk. Compared to bovine and human milk fats, camel milk fat has a lower concentration of short-chain fatty acids (C4-C12) and a higher concentration of long-chain saturated fatty acids.

Camel milk fat had the highest amount of branched-chain fatty acids (3.03%) compared to bovine and human milk fats, which had concentrations of 1.82 and 0.36%, respectively. In addition to oleic acid, 18:1 cis-9 (17.2%) and palmitoleic acid, 16:1 cis-9 (10.1%), camel milk fat also contains substantial levels of these cis-monoenoic fatty acids.

Bovine milk fat had a solidification temperature of 22.8 C and a melting point of 32.6 C, compared to camel milk fat’s 41.9 C and 30.5 C, respectively. Because of its high concentration of long-chain fatty acids, low concentration of short-chain fatty acids, and trans18:1 isomer, camel milk fat may have a higher melting point.

Triacylglycerols (TAGs, C40) with greater molecular weights dominate the melting profile of milk fat. The main factors for camel milk fat’s substantially greater melting temperature than those discovered for bovine, goat, sheep, horse, donkey, and water buffalo milk in the same study were considered to be its low levels (1%) of TAG C24-C40 and very high amounts of TAG C48-C52.

Camel milk has the smallest average diameter of milk fat globules (2.99 mm), followed by goat milk (3.2 mm), sheep milk (3.78 mm), cow milk (3.95 mm), and buffalo milk (8.7 mm). From 0.1 to 4.0 m, relatively smaller fat globules make up 80.6, 68.4, 55.3, 73.3, and 23% of the total fat distribution in camel, bovine, sheep, goat, and buffalo milk.

Camel and goat milk are thought to be easier for humans to digest because tiny fat globules are more susceptible to lipolytic enzymes.


Dromedary camel milk has a lactose concentration comparable to cow’s milk. At the calf’s delivery, the camel milk lactose content was determined to be low (2.8%, w/v), but it rose to 3.8% during the first day of nursing. While camels with free access to drinking water had an average lactose concentration of 5%, those dehydrated had an average lactose content of 2.9%.

The reported variations in Camel’s milk taste (sometimes sweet and occasionally bitter) have largely been attributed to lactose concentration variations.

Camel milk appears to be an interestingly safer and healthier solution for those with lactose intolerance. The lower content of casomorphin in camel milk, which causes reduced intestinal motility and exposes lactose to lactase action more frequently, is one potential explanation for the easier digestion of camel milk.

The high concentration of L-lactate in raw camel milk, which is 100 times greater than that in bovine milk, may also contribute to Camel’s milk lower lactose intolerance than that of bovine milk.

Minerals and vitamins

The average amount of ash in dromedary camel milk is higher than that in human milk but equivalent to that in bovine milk.

Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium are the primary camel milk minerals with the following mean values (mg/100 g), while the comparable concentrations in bovine milk are 119.9, 13.4, 95.0, 49.7, and 147.0.

Human milk has substantially lower quantities of these minerals: 32.4, 3.4, 14.0, 16.0, and 51.8 mg/100 g, respectively.

Ca:P ratios for camel, human, and bovine milk are correspondingly 1.5, 1.29, and 2.1. A CM-based formula is preferable for feeding infants because a high phosphate content in infant formula may result in hyperphosphatemia and low serum calcium. Additionally, camel milk has a six-fold higher iron concentration than cow’s milk.

Vitamins A, C, D, E, and the vitamin B family are among the many vitamins in camel milk. The high vitamin C content of camel milk, three to five times more than that of cow’s milk, makes it well known.

Bovine milk includes more vitamins A and B2, whereas camel milk has a higher quantity of vitamin B3 than bovine milk. B1 and B6 levels in camel and cow milk are comparable. Recently, a thorough analysis of the many vitamins found in camel milk was published.

Biological functionalities of camel milk

Hypoglycaemic effect

In camel-rich regions, using camel milk to treat diabetes has a long history. In Rajasthan, India, a group that consumed camel milk had a much lower prevalence of diabetes than a society where camel milk was not consumed (0 vs 5.5%).

A large number of clinical investigations have supported the anti-diabetic properties of camel milk. After consuming camel milk for three months, type I diabetic patients needed 30% less insulin. Additionally, after 1- and 2-year trials, camel’s milk long-term efficacy and safety as adjuvant therapy for type I diabetes were validated.

Due to a considerable rise in insulin levels seen after consuming camel milk for two months, camel milk may also help people with type II diabetes control their insulin levels.

In animal models, the hypoglycemic impact of camel milk was also studied. After taking camel milk for four to five weeks, the blood glucose levels of diabetic rabbits and dogs were reduced by 78 and 47%, respectively. The high concentration of insulin and insulin-like proteins in camel milk was once thought to be the primary cause of the substance’s anti-diabetic effects.

Researchers did an in vitro digestion of camel milk, but after 30 min of gastric digestion, they detected no insulin action. The absence of insulin digestion in their study’s enzyme-linked immunosorbent test (ELISA) results provided additional confirmation.

To establish the absorption of orally delivered camel milk insulin and insulin-like proteins, more in vivo research is required. Other components may also influence the anti-diabetic action of camel milk in the compound. For instance, camel milk antioxidants may also control human hyperglycemia.

Antimicrobial effect

Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria such Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhimurium, Klebsiella pneumonia, and Clostridium perfringens were all resistant to the antibacterial properties of camel milk.

Diseases like Crohn’s disease and tuberculosis (TB), which are brought on by bacterial infections, can benefit from the antibacterial activity of camel milk.

Bioactive proteins in camel milk, such as immunoglobulins, are thought to help boost immunity, which is beneficial to the healing process in addition to eliminating pathogenic bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis for TB and Mycobacterium avium – subspecies paratuberculosis for Crohn’s disease, respectively).

Therefore, it is common practice to attribute symptom relief to camel’s milk combined bactericidal and immunological properties.

The bioactive components in camel milk, particularly lactoferrin, lysozyme, and immunoglobulins, which are found in the highest concentrations, are primarily responsible for the antibacterial action of camel milk. Additionally, the enzymatic hydrolysis of camel whey proteins increased their antibacterial activity, indicating that some peptides with greater antimicrobial activity may also be produced following in vivo digestion.

Additionally, the camel’s milk lactoferrin demonstrated antiviral efficacy against genotype 4 of the hepatitis C virus. Camelid lactoferrin reduced the virus’s ability to infect leucocytes. Additionally, antifungal and antiparasitic properties of camel milk have been reported.

Immunological effect

Camels possess a distinct and potent immune system. According to reports, camel antibodies are significantly smaller than their human counterparts. Additionally, the absence of light chains in camel milk makes IgG2 and IgG3 distinct.

Camels’ immunoglobulins (Igs) are thought to target particular antigens in better way because of their small size. Camel IgG is known to be a stronger inhibitor of enzyme antigens and has complete neutralizing action against tetanus toxin.

Surprisingly, camel milk therapy positively impacts autistic children’s behavior. Studies suggest that an increase in oxidative stress may be connected to autism, despite its exact source is yet unknown.

Glutathione, myeloperoxidase, and superoxide dismutase concentrations were shown to rise dramatically in the plasma of autistic children after two weeks of camel milk ingestion, which aids in managing oxidative stress. The immune system-rehabilitative action of Igs in camel milk is also thought to be a potential role in reducing the likelihood that autistic children may develop a dairy food allergy.


One of the most common food allergies among children and adults is cow’s milk. Clinical symptoms might range from mild to fairly severe. More than 20 proteins in cow’s milk have been linked to allergy responses. The two most potent allergens are -lactoglobulin and casein fractions, especially S1-casein.

Human milk had no lactoglobulin, a low percentage of S1-casein, but a high concentration of casein, according to a compositional analysis. Since camel’s milk protein components are identical to those in human milk, it has a strong potential to replace cow’s milk as a dairy substitute for kids with allergies.

Clinical trials using camel milk to treat kids with milk allergies also produced positive outcomes. Even lactose intolerant people were allegedly better off with camel milk because camel’s milk lactose was quickly assimilated by them. Larger-scale trials are still required to support a more compelling argument.

Angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory activity

A dipeptidyl carboxypeptidase called angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) controls blood pressure, and its blockage causes blood pressure to drop. Several dietary proteins, including milk proteins, contain ACE-inhibitory action peptides.

We also discovered ACE-inhibitory peptides in fermented and hydrolyzed camel milk. An ACE-inhibitory peptide (AIPPKKNQD) was isolated from fermented camel milk in a study. This peptide’s ability to continue inhibiting ACE following heat treatment or protease digestion suggests that it still has anti-hypertensive efficacy.

This article is jointly written by Kashif Hussaina, Maria Kausara, Muhammad Sohail Sajida, Talha Khanb; from (a) Department of Parasitology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan, and (b) Department of Applied Chemistry, Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan.