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The Healthy Secret Ingredient in Camel Milk

What makes camel milk healthier than other milks?

Why do cultures around the world regard camel milk as a miracle food?

What’s the secret in camel milk?

Well, let us reveal to you one of the secret ingredients in camel milk -protective proteins called immunoglobulins!

No, not “hobgoblins”. They are not evil, mythical creatures from a fairy tale.

On the contrary, they are the valiant knights in shining armor, the brave soldiers… the superheroes of camel milk!

In this article, we will be taking a deep dive into immunoglobulins. 

We are going to talk about:

  • What are immunoglobulins?
  • How immunoglobulins could fight COVID-19
  • The different types of immunoglobulins
  • The immunoglobulins in camel milk (and the ones not in camel milk)  

Let’s embark on this journey together, shall we?

A pint and liter of camel culture camel milk

What are Immunoglobulins?

Your immune system is amazingly complex. Its primary purpose is to keep you bodies' cells healthy while recognizing and destroying invaders. 

Our immune system protects us from bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other foreign organisms. 

Immunoglobulins (also known as antibodies) are some of the top generals leading our bodies’ protective army in the fight against disease.

Antigens are the real “hobgoblins” -evil invaders trying to destroy us. 

Antigens are anything foreign that enters the body, which includes the mentioned bacteria, viruses, and fungi. (1) 

Our white blood cells (or lymphocytes) are the good guys that come in to fight the antigens. 

White blood cells include B Cells, T Cells, and Natural Killer Cells. 

We are going to be looking at the B Cells in our immune system today (but think of T Cells and Natural Killer Cells as the snipers that come in and directly attack the foreign invader).

B cells work in a different way, but are just as important and also quite stealthy. 

B cells secrete immunoglobulins that bind to the antigen and mark them for destruction. 

Think of them like secret spies who trail an invader and mark them for destruction. Then the sniper cells come later to blow them up! 💥

And if your body encounters the antigen again, these immunoglobulins remember it, and sound the alarm for the troops to swarm and destroy the invader. 

(Can you tell I’m a mom raising a few boys?) 🙃

Two dromedary camels running the desert

How Camels could Help Fight COVID-19 

Before vaccines were available for COVID-19, scientists proposed an idea for combating the virus... exposing camels to the coronavirus.

This would allow camels to produce neutralizing immunoglobulins to fight COVID-19, and then pass these powerful antibodies to us. (4) 

Though this study was never actualized, we are grateful for the vaccine technology that is helping to eradicate COVID-19.

But simply the fact this camel study was a possibility shows how powerful the camel’s immunoglobulins truly are! 

Learn more about how camel milk can fortify your immune system against COVID-19 and other viruses. 

Types of of immunoglobulins

Types of Immunoglobulins

Immunoglobulins are protective proteins that have a Y-shape and are made up of light chains and heavy chains. 

How the chain is composed directly relates to how the immunoglobulin functions in our immune system. 

There are several different types of immunoglobulins and they each have a different role in our bodies’ immune system:

  • Immunoglobulin G (IgG): The most common antibody, it protects against bacterial and viral infections. IgG can take time to form after an infection or immunization.
  • Immunoglobulin E (IgE): There are higher amounts of this antibody when the body overreacts to allergens or is fighting an infection.
  • Immunoglobulin M (IgM): This is the first antibody the body makes when it fights a new infection.
  • Immunoglobulin A (IgA): Found in the lining of the respiratory tract and digestive system, as well as in saliva (spit), tears, and breast milk.
  • Immunoglobulin D (IgD): This is the least understood antibody, with only small amounts in the blood.

We are going tp focus on Immunoglobulin G and Immunoglobulin E because those are the most important immunoglobulins present and not present in camel milk. 

Health Secret: Immunoglobulin G in Camel Milk 

I mentioned above that immunoglobulins are made up of heavy and light chains. 

A camel’s immune system is naturally fortified with immunoglobulins, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it would be passed to us through their milk. 

But lucky for us...

The camel’s immunoglobulins have a unique property of only containing two heavy chains and zero light chains. 

Because of this unique molecular property…

Camels are able to pass their immunoglobulins directly into their milk, which then passes directly to us... boosting our immune systems! (3)

The most commonly passed immunoglobulin in camel milk is IgG, which protects us against bacterial and viral infections

IgG helps our bodies remember the invaders our immune system defeated in the past after recovering from a natural infection or after we receive a vaccine. 

IgG is also like a memory database that will protect us if we ever encounter the invader again. 

Infographic of dairy allergies in animal milks and plant-based milks

Causes of Food Allergies & Immunoglobulin E 

The Immunoglobulin NOT found in camel milk is also VERY important when it comes to food allergies and lactose intolerance.

It’s good news that IgG is passed to us in camels milk… but it’s also good news that camel milk does NOT activate Immunoglobulin E (IgE) in our bodies. 

Think of IgE as the “allergen immunoglobulin”. 

When a person experiences an allergic reaction, or if someone suffers from a food allergy, they are really pointing to the effects of IgE in their body. 

This important study measured IgE and IgG antibodies against the following milks:

  • Human Mother's Milk
  • Cow Milk
  • Camel Milk
  • Goat Milk
  • Sheep Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Coconut Milk

The results are fascinating!

Animal milks that do not come from a cow

First, let’s look at the Mammalian Milk results. 

The study showed that human milk was the least antigenic and allergenic, which is no surprise.

But it was closely followed by camel milk! 

Cow’s milk was the most allergenic. 

And if an individual is reactive to cow’s milk (organic or not) the probability of reacting to goat or sheep milk is also very high. 

The results from least allergenic to most allergenic:

  1. Human Mother's Milk
  2. Camel Milk
  3. Sheep Milk
  4. Goat Milk
  5. Cow Milk

Plant based milks

Now, let's look at the Plant-Based Milk results. 

Almond milk, the most popular diary alternative, is also the most allergenic

The results from least allergenic to most allergenic:

  1. Coconut Milk
  2. Soy Milk
  3. Almond Milk

The study also found that many people had allergic reactions to almond, coconut, and soy milks when they were non-reactive to animal milk

Therefore, the study leads you to conclude that consuming plant-based alternative milk is not without the risk of an allergic reaction!

Even though companies are marketing their plant-based milk as "non-allergenic". 

When choosing an alternative for a cow’s milk allergy, we recommend going through a blood test to determine the levels of IgE, IgG, and IgA antibodies activated when consuming different animal and plant-based milks. (5)

Everybody’s bodies react differently, but out of all the animal milks, you are least likely to have an allergic reaction when drinking camel milk!

Conclusion

In closing, immunoglobulins are not hobgoblins. 

Instead, they are the heroes of the fairy tale that boost our immune system by tagging invaders for destruction and remembering them if we ever encounter the invader again. 

Camels pass these powerful neutralizing immunoglobulins (also known as antibodies) to us through their milk. 

The most commonly passed immunoglobulin in camel milk is IgG -the hero of the story that protects us against bacterial and viral infections.

Second only to human milk, camel milk is also the least likely animal milk to cause your body to produce IgE (which would indicate an allergic reaction). 

Even though plant-based milk substitutes are marketed as “milk allergy alternatives”, studies show these plant-based milks are more likely to cause allergic reactions than camel milk.

And now let’s raise a glass of camel milk to toast yet another one of it’s amazing protective proteins -the immunoglobulin! 

And may your immune system live happily ever after💘 

 

We Want to Hear from You!

Leave a Comment!

Have you ever had an allergic reaction to animal or plant-based milk?

How has your body reacted to camel milk?



Citations:

  1. http://www.igliving.com/magazine/articles/IGL_2018-04_AR_What-Are-Immunoglobulins.pdf
  2. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/test-immunoglobulins.html
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5669503/#ref17
  4. https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1252/rr-16
  5. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-dairy-research/article/abs/immune-reactivity-against-a-variety-of-mammalian-milks-and-plantbased-milk-substitutes/203067B01F9D801F6CD09963A17F2CD
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1 comment

  • Interesting blog. I am looking for specific (as possible) numbers when it comes to IgG and IgA. Do you have those numbers? Can you reference particular studies for me? Is there loss of immunoglobulins do to pasteurization or freeze drying? I am looking for amounts that must be consumed to achieve the necessary intake of IgG.

    Cal Schmidt

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