Milk Alternatives – Camel Milk

Just when I think the list of milk alternatives for dairy allergic children is complete I read this on the BBC website.  Camel Milk – yum yum!

Obviously the BBC article isn’t suggesting camel milk as an alternative to the allergic, but it made me wonder, why not?

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We have so many alternative milks available to us already here in the UK, but for those with young children with multiple allergies it’s hard to find a substitute with a nutritional value comparable to cows milk.  It has become even harder lately for some of these values with the proposed Alpro manufacturing changes.  They are proposing making nut milks in the same facilities as their soya milks (including the only brand of fortified Junior Soya Milk), so this would now become off limits for those families with children who are both nut and dairy allergic.  Read more here on yesno bananas blog or visit the Facebook Page – Alpro: Save our Soya.

Would the proteins in camel milk cause allergic reactions like those in cows milk?

If I have learnt anything from being in a large online allergy support group (Children’s Allergy Network – CAN) is that children can be allergic to anything!  After that disclaimer, I think after a root around the journals the research is looking good.

In a 2011 study of 35 children aged 4 months to 10 years with CMPA (cows milk protein allergy) 20% of the children had a positive skin prick test to camel milk.  The 80% which were negative took camel milk without any reaction (note smaller studies have less reliable statistics).

Most importantly several studies have pointed to a complete lack of ß lactoglobulin in camels milk, which is the most allergenic protein in cows milk.  Another possible culprit for CMPA is beta-casein, this is present in camel milk, but the protein shape is different to that of cows milk, so should not cause a problem.

Note that lactose is present in camel milk, but in lower amounts than that of cows and human breast milk.

What is the nutritional value of camels milk?

See comparison to full fat cows milk, Alpro Soya Junior Milk and Organic Rice Dream Original (for further comparisons see posts on other alternative milks and hemp milk).

Values per 100ml

Full Fat Cows Milk

Soya Milk

Rice Milk

Camel Milk

Recommended daily intake for children aged 1-3

Calories

64kcal

62kcal

47kcal

100kcal

1230kcal

Fat

3.7g

2.3g

1.0g

5.7g

48g

Saturated Fat

2.4g

0.4g

0.1g

15g

Sodium

trace

0.01g

0.05g

0.5g

Fibre

0g

0.4g

0.1g

8g

Sugars

4.7g

2.9g

4g

34g

Carbohydrates

4.7g

7.7g

9.4g

7g

154g

Protein

3.3g

2.6g

0.1g

5g

15g

Vitamin C

7.8mg

30mg

Iron

1.1mg

0.2mg

7mg

Calcium

122mg

100mg

111mg

350mg

So a reasonable comparison for children I think, especially those who have multiple allergies and need more calories, fat, vitamins and minerals.  If Camelicious do start to sell in the UK I will definitely be giving it a go (on me, not my daughter without dietician advice).

None of this information can tell you what it tastes like, though it’s mentioned in the BBC article as smoky and nutty I have heard it described as watery and unpleasant elsewhere.

So would you give it a go?

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If you are concerned about your child’s diet you should contact your GP, dietician or health professional in the first instance

References

  1. May – June 2011, Allergy and Asthma Proceedings, (abstract only) Camel milk: an alternative for cow’s milk allergy in children, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21703103
  2. 2005, Immunology and Allergies, (full PDF) Camel Milk for Food Allergies in Children, http://www.ima.org.il/FilesUpload/IMAJ/0/51/25828.pdf
  3. 2011, ISRN Allergy, (full) Camel Milk Is a Safer Choice than Goat Milk for Feeding Children with Cow Milk Allergy, http://www.hindawi.com/isrn/allergy/2011/391641/
  4. 2011, Journal of Camel Practice and Research, Composition, constituents and properties of Dutch camel milk, http://www.hindawi.com/isrn/allergy/2011/391641/
  5. http://www.kamelka.nl/
  6. December 2005, The Egyptian Journal of Hospital Medicine, (full) Comparison Of Chemical And Mineral Content Of Milk From Human, Cow, Buffalo, Camel And Goat In Egypt, http://egyptianjournal.net78.net/21_10.pdf
  7. http://www.camelicious.ae/en.html
  8. http://www.foodsmatter.com/allergy_intolerance/lactose_intolerance/articles/camel_milk_netherlands.html
  9. http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/X6528E/X6528E03.htm (composition of camel milk)
  10. 1992, International Journal for Vitamin and Mineral Research, Vitamin Content of Camel Milk, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1587705
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This entry was posted in CAN - Children's Allergy Network, Current News, Diet, Food Allergy, Milk Allergy, Soya and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Milk Alternatives – Camel Milk

  1. Pingback: Pros and Cons of Different Types of Milk | Find Me A Cure

  2. Pingback: It’s been a whole year… | Itch, swell, ooze and wheeze

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