Invited review: Camel milk and gut health—Understanding digestibility and the effect on gut microbiota

Abdelmoneim H. Ali, Siqi Li, Shao Quan Liu, Ren You Gan, Hua Bin Li, Afaf Kamal-Eldin, Mutamed Ayyash

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Camel milk (CM), known for its immune-regulatory, anti-inflammatory, antiapoptotic, and antidiabetic properties, is a natural healthy food. It is easily digestible due to the high levels of β-casein and diverse secreted antibodies, exhibiting superior antibacterial and antiviral activities compared with bovine milk. β-casein is less allergic and more digestible because it is more susceptible to digestive hydrolysis in the gut; therefore, higher levels of β-casein make CM advantageous for human health. Furthermore, antibodies help the digestive system by destroying the antigens, which are then overwhelmed and digested by macrophages. The connection between the gut microbiota and human health has gained substantial research attention, as it offers potential benefits and supports disease treatment. The gut microbiota has a vital role in regulating the host's health because it helps in several biological functions, such as protection against pathogens, immune function regulation, energy harvesting from digested foods, and reinforcement of digestive tract biochemical barriers. These functions could be affected by the changes in the gut microbiota profile, and gut microbiota differences are associated with several diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, irritable bowel disorder, mental illness, allergy, and obesity. This review focuses on the digestibility of CM components, particularly protein and fat, and their influence on gut microbiota modulation. Notably, the hypoallergenic properties and small fat globules of CM contribute to its enhanced digestibility. Considering the rapid digestion of its proteins under conditions simulating infant gastrointestinal digestion, CM exhibits promise as a potential alternative for infant formula preparation due to the high β-/αs-casein ratio and protective proteins, in addition to the absence of β-lactoglobulin.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2573-2585
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Dairy Science
    Volume107
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2024

    Keywords

    • camel milk
    • casein
    • gut microbiome
    • in vitro digestion
    • milk fat

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Food Science
    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Genetics

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