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 Table of Contents 
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 3083-3085  

Camel milk for reduction of diabetes risk: Are we heading toward the right direction?

1 Indian Institute of Public Health - Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India
2 Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany

Date of Submission27-Jun-2019
Date of Decision22-Aug-2019
Date of Acceptance19-Sep-2019
Date of Web Publication31-Oct-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Deepak Saxena
Professor, Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar, Opp. Air Force Head Quarters, Nr. Lekawada Bus Stop, Gandhinagar-Chiloda Road, Gandhinagar - 382 042; Adjunct Faculty, Datta Megha Institute of Medical Studies, Wardha, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_501_19

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Diabetes is emerging as an important public health problem in India imparting huge burden on healthcare economics. Recently a milk packaging company has introduced camel milk product with its potential use in reducing risk of diabetes. In this study, we had evaluated the available evidences and found that though camel milk may have some benefits for the patients with type 1 diabetes, its efficacy for improving glycemic profile of type 2 diabetes is highly controversial and further evidences in the form of randomized controlled trials are needed to substantiate the effect.

Keywords: Camel milk, India, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes

How to cite this article:
Shah K, Yasobant S, Saxena D. Camel milk for reduction of diabetes risk: Are we heading toward the right direction?. J Family Med Prim Care 2019;8:3083-5

How to cite this URL:
Shah K, Yasobant S, Saxena D. Camel milk for reduction of diabetes risk: Are we heading toward the right direction?. J Family Med Prim Care [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Jul 29];8:3083-5. Available from: https://www.jfmpc.com/text.asp?2019/8/10/3083/269970

  Background Top

Diabetes—a chronic condition, characterized by high blood glucose levels—is no more a diseases of developed countries. According to Indian Council of Medical Research–INdia DIABetes study, the spread of diabetes to economically disadvantaged sections of society is a matter of great concern, warranting urgent preventive measures.[1]

Dietary interventions having potential to modulate response of human body toward diabetes are well studied non-pharmacological interventions. Use of primary care for delivering dietary interventions may have wider impact on the community as it is known that primary care is an ideal platform for providing dietary interventions to the population suffering from chronic conditions. However, before integrating and implementing any potential preventive solution, critical appraisal of the evidences becomes extremely important. Recently, a renowned milk packaging industry in India (largest in South-East Asia) came up with a product (camel milk) with marketing focus on possible solution for diabetes (without any reference to specific type of diabetes).

Therapeutic potential of camel milk is being proclaimed by numerous reports with diabetes treatment being one of popularly studied aspect.[2],[3],[4] We herewith aim to critically evaluate current evidences assessing the use of camel milk for the reduction of diabetes risk and if so which type of diabetes.

  How Was the Study Done? Top

To identify the relevant literature, we searched various electronic databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, CINAHL, google scholar, and the Cochrane Trial Register. Though several articles had shown potential hypoglycemic effect of camel milk in animal models under both in vivo and in vitro conditions, we adhered to our initial hypothesis of evaluating the effect in humans. The narrative findings of the individual studies are discussed below under various subheadings.

  What Did the Review Find? Top

Camel milk consumption and type 1 diabetes

We found six studies reporting the effect of camel milk consumption on type 1 diabetes in humans, where three were performed by Agrawal et al. (2003-2011) and majority of them were done on Indian population.

Evidences from India

Agrawal et al. through short-term randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 3 months,[5] cross-over study (three months),[6] and long-term RCT[7] showed that compared to usual care, type 1 patients receiving came milk along with usual care have significantly improved blood glucose and HbA1c levels, insulin requirement, and quality of life. In 2014, Bhat et al. reported very unique finding from “Raikas”—a camel rearing community having high prevalence of type 1 diabetes susceptible genes but also having near-zero incidence of diabetes. The authors explained this contradiction in the finding with the fact that camel milk was part of the community's staple diet and, hence, there may be the presence of some protective factors in the milk.[8]

El-Sayed et al. in 2011, conducted a small RCT on 50 type 1 diabetics in Egypt, showed that camel milk along with insulin can yield better effect as an adjunctive therapy rather than milk alone.[9] Similar to this, one more RCT performed on Middle East population also advocated the usage of camel milk as an adjunct to standard therapy for the management of type 1 diabetes.[10]

Though the findings from RCTs are promising, extremely small sample size is one of the prime limitation of the studies. Moreover, majority of the studies have advocated use of camel milk as an adjunct therapy rather than an independent mode of treatment.

Camel milk consumption and type 2 diabetes

In contrast to evidences on type 1 diabetes management, the effect of camel milk on type 2 diabetes is quite scarce, with only one Indian trial.

Small RCT of 28 participants was performed by Agrawal et al.[11] to investigate the effects of camel milk consumption on insulin sensitivity and glycemic control in normal and type-2 diabetics of Raika and Non-Raika community. They reported that camel milk reduces fasting blood sugar, postprandial glucose, and HbA1c.

The pilot RCT undertaken in Iran showed no improvement in blood sugar, lipid, and pressure parameters either with camel or cow milk.[2] Similarly in 2009, Wang et al.[12] studied the hypoglycemic effect of camel milk on type 2 diabetic patients and clearly concluded that only in combination with antidiabetic medications, the hypoglycemic effect of the camel milk can be claimed. One of the recent study conducted in 2016[13] also showed similar findings, where authors concluded that consumption of camel milk would be a useful therapeutic tool adjunct to insulin for type 2 diabetic patients due to its significant effect in reducing blood sugar and insulin daily doses in such patients.

  Conclusion Top

All these evidences are clearly stating that in contrast to type 1 diabetes where pilot studies results are quite promising for the use of camel milk, the research evidence supporting its use for type 2 diabetes management is blur and highly inadequate and more research in the form of RCTs are needed to support the initial findings. With current body of evidence, the sale and marketing of camel milk as a product having a positive impact on diabetes may have misleading impact on primary care.

In India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) addresses issues related to Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins, and Residues); however, there is lack of any legal or ethical body regulating sales of animal products proclaiming to improve health indicators in a nonpharmacological manner. This substantiates the need to empower the regulatory bodies for cross verifying the scientific evidences proclaimed by the marketed products, especially in the health care area.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Anjana RM, Deepa M, Pradeepa R, Mahanta J, Narain K, Das HK, et al. Prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes in 15 states of India: Results from the ICMR–INDIAB population-based cross-sectional study. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2017;5:585-96.  Back to cited text no. 1
Ejtahed HS, Naslaji AN, Mirmiran P, Yeganeh MZ, Hedayati M, Azizi F, et al. Effect of camel milk on blood sugar and lipid profile of patients with type 2 diabetes: A pilot clinical trial. Int J Endocrinol 2015;13:e21160.  Back to cited text no. 2
Fallah Z, Feizi A, Hashemipour M, Kelishadi R. Effect of fermented camel milk on glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, and inflammatory biomarkers of adolescents with metabolic syndrome: A double-blind, randomized, crossover trial. J Res Med Sci 2018;23:32.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Ayoub MA, Palakkott AR, Ashraf A, Iratni R. The molecular basis of the anti-diabetic properties of camel milk. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2018;146:305-12.  Back to cited text no. 4
Agrawal RP, Swani SC, Beniwall R, Kochar DK, Sahani MS, Tuteja FC, et al. Effect if camel milk on glycaemic control risk factors and diabetes quality of life in type-1 diabetes: A randomised prospective controlled study. J Camel Pract Res 2003;10:45-50.  Back to cited text no. 5
Agrawal RP, Swani SC, Beniwall R, Kochar DK, Sahani MS, Tuteja FC, et al. Effect of camel milk on glycaemic control, lipid profile and diabetes quality of life in type-1 diabetes: A randomised perspective controlled cross over study. India J Anim Sci 2003;73:1105-10.  Back to cited text no. 6
Agrawal RP, Jain S, Shah S, Chopra A, Agarwal V. Effect of camel milk on glycemic control and insulin requirement in patients with type 1 diabetes: 2-years randomized controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr 2011;65:1048-52.  Back to cited text no. 7
Bhat DK, Kanga U, Kumar N, Agrawal RP, Mourya M, Kalaivani M, et al. 2014. The Raikas–A unique combination of high prevalence of type 1 diabetes susceptibility genes and near zero incidence of the disease. Hum Immunol 2014;75:1252-8.  Back to cited text no. 8
El-Sayed MK, Al-Shoeibi ZY, El-Ghany AA, Atef ZA. Effects of camel milk as a vehicle for insulin on glycaemic control and lipid profile in Type 1 diabetics. Am J Biochem Biotechnol 2011;7:179-89.  Back to cited text no. 9
Mohamad RH, Zekry ZK, Al-Mehdar HA, Salama O, El-Shaieb SE, El-Basmy AA, et al. 2009. Camel milk as an adjuvant therapy for the treatment of type 1 diabetes: Verification of a traditional ethnomedical practice. J Med Food 2009;12:461-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
Agrawal RP, Sharma P, Gafoorunissa SJ. Effect of camel milk on glucose metabolism in adults with normal glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes in Raica community: A crossover study. Acta Bio Medica Atenei Parmensis 2011;82:181-6.  Back to cited text no. 11
Wang SY, Liang JP, Song NN, Shao WJ, Heng H. Effect of raw camel milk in type 2 diabetes animal models and patients: Ten months randomised study. J Camel Pract Res 2009;16;107-13.  Back to cited text no. 12
Shareha AM, Abujnah YS, Gnan SO, Elhririg MA. Effect of raw camel milk on type 2 diabetic patients. Libyan J Agricult 2016;21:74-85.  Back to cited text no. 13


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