Camel milk works ‘wonders’ with autistics

Amanda Fisher
Filed on June 14, 2013
Camel milk works ‘wonders’ with autistics

Camel milk, the white gold of the desert, has been shown to alleviate allergies and boost the immune system — but now Dubai scientists have conducted research showing it can improve the condition of autistic persons.

In preliminary research published by a group of seven scientists from Dubai in the Journal of Camel Practice and Research, subjects with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) drank 500 millilitres of camel milk each day over eight weeks — leading to improved behaviour, alertness, social interaction and less hyperactivity. “(The parents) loved it! Imagine their kids were more alert, had better sleep patterns, bowel movements — all this was improved,” said lead researcher Renate Wernery, from Dubai’s Central Veterinary Research Laboratory.

Diabetes solution?

Camel milk works ‘wonders’ with autistics (/assets/oldimages/camel2_04102012.jpg)CVRL also has plans to research the potential use of camel milk for diabetes patients, based on a study in India, showing people with Type 2 diabetes had reduced intake of insulin shots due to the high amount of natural insulin in camel milk, which can even be taken orally, whilst medical insulin has been taken as injection.

“We just made an application for further funding by Shaikh Mohammed’s Al Jalila Foundation. Our first step will be research on diabetic rats and mice and the second step will hopefully then involve humans,” Wernery said.

However, she anticipated resistance from pharmaceutical companies that manufacture insulin.

“Imagine what they earn with insulin...and then comes camel milk, how easy.”

Wernery said her interest in the health powers of camel milk was piqued three years ago after she attended a conference in Vancouver, Canada, which centred on a boy who had contracted a crippling illness with complete food intolerance while visiting Israel, that doctors could not treat. The boy was wasting away. At that point his mother managed to import camel milk, on the recommendation of some friends.

“After two days...he walked up the steps (from his death bed) to his mother...all the doctors were 
flabbergasted, they couldn’t be—lieve it,” Wernery said. She said while there was still no medical explanation for what had happened it was yet more evidence of the magical powers of camel milk, which her husband, CVRL scientific director Prof. Dr. Ulrich Wernery, had long been a proponent of — even coining the term “White Gold Of The Desert” and convincing His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to undertake commercial production of camel milk. It was CVRL under the administrative director, Dr Ali Ridha who established the camel farm (Emirates Industry for Camel Milk and Products), which now produces ‘Camelicious’ on Shaikh Mohammed’s request.

Wernery said she decided to conduct the research when a neighbour’s son, diagnosed with ASD, improved drastically on the regimen of camel milk, to the extent three years later it is hardly detectable in him. “We also read anecdotally that camel milk helped with autism and we thought ‘My God, we have autistic children here, so many, an ever-increasing number worldwide’ (so) we started this preliminary trial.”

The trial, involving a sample of just eight children exhibiting ASD and six control children (in order to establish baseline values), centred on the principle that camel milk does not contain the major crucial protein found in cow’s milk which has been shown to not breakdown properly in people with ASD.

The form in which protein B-casomorphin-7 is absorbed in those with ASD “tacks on the opioid receptors in brain (similar to what hallucinating drugs do) and aggravates the symptoms of autism’’ Wernery said.

The study also measured the presence of B-casomorphin-7 in urine which was present in significantly reduced levels after the subjects had begun drinking the camel milk.

The milk also contains many “goodies”, including proteins which could kill bacteria and viruses. Main researcher Bobby Johnson had even done studies showing bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus sp. and Streptococcus sp. with which she artificially laced camel milk, were killed off by the properties in camel milk.

What specifically was in the camel milk that helped improve ASD “we cannot answer yet”, subsequently, Wernery said, more research needs to be conducted. She said CVRL was looking for many more candidates with a verified medical history of ASD, as two of the candidates in the last study had mild symptoms or none whatsoever. -

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