Background: Interest is rising in the use of traditional food as potential treatments for diabetes. In some arid regions camel milk is believed to have special health promoting properties. Some studies have linked consumption of camel milk to diabetes prevention in addition to describing hypoglycaemic effects in those with diabetes. The potential mechanism is incompletely understood.
Aims: To investigate the impact on glucose metabolism after a mixed meal of a camel milk preload compared to an isocaloric cows milk preload.
Methods: In a randomised, double-blinded crossover design, eight healthy volunteers were allocated to receive 300 kcal pre-load of cow milk or camel milk ten minutes prior to ingestion of a 500 kcal protein and glucose mixed meal. Samples for glucose, insulin and GLP-1 were taken at intervals over 3 hours.
Results: Peak mean glucose was 6.24 (±0.28) mmol/l at 25 minutes for camel milk and 6.92 (±0.47) mmol/l at 20 minutes for cow milk. Peak mean insulin concentration was 577.4 (±64.6) pmol/l in the camel milk group at 30 minutes and 771.9 (±124.6) pmol/l at 35 minutes in the cow milk group. The area under the curve (AUC) of the time courses of glucose and insulin did not differ between the groups (P=0.48 and P=0.32 respectively). GLP-1 activity peaked at 25 minutes in both camel and cow milk (59.06 (±4.8) pmol/l and 51.07 (±6.8) pmol/l) with no significant difference in AUC (P=0.16).
Conclusions: In this single meal study, although a camel milk preload produced flattening of the post prandial glucose and insulin curve compared to cow milk this was not statistically significant. However, the degree of variability in response to the two milks suggests individual factors may predict a beneficial response to dietary supplementation with camel milk.