Christina is the pioneer of this camel milk introduction here among parents in South India. Want to thank Hanwant Singh, Ilse, ofcourse Raziq sir for providing all possible inputs about it. Thanks a ton and feeling great to be with such a bunch of wonderful people. Requesting the great minds here to do more research on extending the camel milk shelf life, that is the big hurdle for it to make itself big in the market. I had a word with supply chain management guys here and they are hesitating to take the orders of shipment of camel milk from North India to South India, because of its shelf life. This is the lone point, which i want to share with you all.
Dear Mr RamPrasath,
You raise an essential question, which has been discussed repeatedly in the Facebook Group of parents using camel milk for ASD. There are two aspects to this issue :
1) The first is the argument about whether camel milk must absolutely be raw for it to have any (or useful) effect on autism. This view is held very strongly by Dr. Reuven Yagil, who was the first to discover the impact of camel milk on autism. The problem with raw milk is that it is OK in the US to drink raw milk from pristine farms, but in India or generally in most countries raw milk is potentially hazardous, particularly for children with an impaired immune system, which is the essence of autism. Therefore it would be far preferable to be able to use heat-treated milk – besides the logistical problem of getting the milk from farm to home.
Besides, the sort of prices charged in the US and in Europe (over $20 a litre) for frozen courier-delivered raw milk are totally out of the question in poor countries, where raw milk costs $1 a litre or less. Pasteurised milk is sold in normal retail corner-shop groceries in Mauritania in nice cartons at about $1.7 a litre, a reasonable price.
However, it is impossible to obtain any indication of which component(s) of camel milk are beneficial, and hence impossible to test whether pasteurisation or other heating impairs the integrity of that or those component(s). If anyone knows, they aren’t telling, or maybe they really don’t know. The original hypothesis, that casein is the culprit in autism and that camel milk helps because it has no beta or kappa casein or whatever, doesn’t hold enough water, because if it were the case eliminating cow milk from the diet would suffice. Camel milk positively contains something that gives the brain something lacking, and it just might be somewhere in the fatty acids, or maybe in the fatty globule membranes. This is an avenue of research that scientists would do very well to follow, as it would have incalculable benefits for humankind.
Some research scientists (or at least people claiming to be experts) apparently, from what one can gather from various statements to the effect that pasteurisation kills everything in milk, seem not to be quite sure about the difference between pasteurisation and sterilisation. However, Uli Wernery & al. in Dubai – who do know – have published useful research on the impact of pasteurisation on various components in camel milk. All this needs to be continued, extended and published. It is not something that should be kept private.
The first simple research is to get a group of autistic people and carry out carefully controlled blind tests to assess the effect of raw and pasteurised milk on different symptoms. The biggest and quickest effect parents report seems to be on verbal and communication abilities. That can be done in places where there is raw and pasteurised camel milk, i.e. in Dubai, Mauritania and now in the US.
It would be useful also to find out whether there is any difference between the effects of camel milk from camels in farms, eating corn or whatever, and camels browsing freely in the desert – or in US wilderness.
2) The technical issue of heat treatment is well known. There are three ways to extend milk shelf life : pasteurisation, sterilisation, and powder.
Pasteurisation has been done successfully in Mauritania since 1989, processing milk from free-range camels belonging to local herders. Properly pasteurised milk kept in a cold chain lasts at least a week, and about 14 days in a really good fridge. It tastes good, and I suspect may be 80% as effective as raw (cf.1). A study was carried out in 2008 in Rajasthan of the commercial potential of camel milk there, showing that it is feasible but needs to be developed as a business.
Sterilisation has been attempted by Tiviski, and the real-life industrial tests confirmed that camel milk is destabilised by UHT temperatures. The milk separates and really doesn’t taste fantastic. Proteins and fatty acids may be severely denatured, so it is not an option for autism – or for anything else at this point. In-depth research was conducted in a highly specialised French lab to find the causes, and it is all well known. Various suggestions to stabilise the milk did not work. It was very important for us because milk deliveries are extremely seasonal, causing big problems for the dairy and for the herders too.
Powder is an interesting option. There is freeze-dried powder and spray powder. Freeze-dried is mostly done in very small quantities, being more of a lab procedure, work-intensive and expensive. I wonder whether the freezing destroys all germs and spores. Spray-drying is interesting as it can be only heated to 80°C, equivalent to pasteurisation, although it may be a bit more intense because it goes through this temperature three times. Powder is now being made and sold in Holland and in Dubai, and some parents use it and report good results. The only problem is that the smallest equipment costs more than $1 million.
THESE are the issues scientists should be working on around the world, collaborating and not scattered. If enough convincing results can be found, camel milk will become a commercially interesting product and there will be money for research, business interest, and lots of benefits for autistic, diabetic and other patients everywhere, and of course immense benefits for camel herders who will be able to sell lots of milk and thrive. This is what I have repeated somewhat boringly for years, maybe wonderful people like Christina Adams and yourselves can make a difference.