Typically, we think of camels as warehouses for water, not factories for milk. Certainly not milk that we would go out of our way to drink, unless we were trapped in the desert. But researchers may have found a reason for diabetics to seek out camel's milk.

For generations, populations in the Middle East have believed that camel's milk can prevent diabetes. And new studies offer evidence to confirm that belief.

How Does Camel's Milk Help Manage Diabetes?

According to researchers, camel's milk helps control diabetes in the following ways:

• Insulin in the milk holds special properties that make it easy to absorb into the bloodstream (easier than insulin from other sources).

• The milk improves pancreatic function, which is highly beneficial to diabetics.

A three-month study compared the effects of camel's milk and cow's milk on a group of diabetic and non-diabetic men. Diabetics, who were given camel's milk, showed a decrease in fasting blood sugar levels and in blood glucose after eating (postprandial glucose). Their average blood sugar levels (HbA1c) were also reduced.

Does Camel's Milk Provide Other Benefits?

Camel's milk is watery and naturally low in fat. In fact, it contains about 2 percent fat, compared to the 4 percent in cow's milk. Other benefits of camel's milk compared to cow's milk:

• Lower in cholesterol
• Five times the vitamin C
• Easier to digest

Although camel's milk is readily available in places with large herds of camels, such as the Sudan and Somalia, it has little chance of breaking into the commercial market in other parts of the world. The United States has strict regulations against the public sale of raw milk. But if you own your own camel, you're free to try its milk.