Camel milk: A superfood against infections and viral hepatitis

Camel milk is considered a superfood with therapeutic values. In the following, Prof Dr. Taherah explained Camel milk’s effects on infections and viral hepatitis.
Camel milk contains different enzymes and proteins which have immunological and antimicrobial properties. Lysozymes that participate in the immune responses. Immunoglobulins protect the body against infections; Lactoferrin enhances the primary immune system and prevents pathogenic bacteria growth in the gastrointestinal. Camel milk lactoferrin is much more than other ruminant milk, from 95 to 250 ml/dl-1, which inhibits the growth of infectious microbes. Lactoperoxidase of camel milk is about 2.23 ± 0.01 and it’s against gram-negative bacteria. The highest amount of peptidoglycan recognition protein is found in camel milk and influences breast cancer by controlling metastasis and stimulating the immune response. N-acetyl-§-glucosaminidase in camel milk elevates antibacterial-antiviral activity. Immunoglobulins (Igs), lactoferrin, and lysozyme are higher in camel milk whey proteins than in cow’s milk.

Camel IgG only has heavy chains, and camel milk Ig is present throughout lactation, combatting autoimmune diseases by boosting immune responses. Immunoglobulins (Ig) of camel milk protect against Mycobacterium Tuberculous and the body from infections. Whey camel milk proteins significantly improved rabbits’ immune response to influenza, diphtheria, and tetanus vaccines. Whey proteins of camel milk stimulate immune function and promote lymphocyte activation, proliferation and chemotaxis, cytokine secretion, antibody production, enhanced leukocyte proliferation, and phagocytic activity of granulocyte cells. Whey proteins also increase the production of interleukins, IL-8, IL-6, IL-1β, MIP-1α, MIP-1β, and TNF-α, improve primary and secondary antibody responses of gastrointestinal and play a vital therapeutic role in some immune system disorders in diabetes. These proteins increase IL-2 and IL-8 and decrease IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-10, IL-6.
Significant improvement in tuberculosis symptoms observed by consumption of camel milk in drug-resistant patients. Patients didn’t show cough, sputum, or chest pain by 1 liter of camel milk daily. Clinical signs of tuberculosis patients showed no coughs, difficulty breathing, coughs with blood, sputum, and fever in patients supplemented with camel’s milk; Therefore, camel milk can be used as a nutritional supplement in tuberculosis patients.

The antimicrobial effects
The camel milk is against foodborne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7. Pasteurization of camel milk did not affect antimicrobial activity. The Camel milk lactoferrin has antiviral activity and inhibits Schistosoma mansoni. Camel milk also prohibits the growth of E.coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, Clostridium Helicobacter pylori, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans. Also, it works against hepatitis B and C infections, the human immunodeficiency virus, herpes simplex virus-1 and cytomegalovirus. Therefore, the most therapeutic effects of camel milk are due to lactoferrin and Igs.
Lactoferrin inhibits bacterial growth and binds iron, which is essential for bacterial growth and prevents the growth of Salmonella typhimurium. Lactoferrin has the highest antiviral activity among all the components in camel’s milk whey protein, which has shown its antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant effects by binding to iron, and as a stimulant of immunity and anti-inflammatory activities. The activity of camel milk lysozyme against Salmonella typhimurium is higher than other livestock milks. It destroys the bacterial cell wall and prevents bacteria growth. Alpha-lactalbumin is one of the most active components of whey proteins, which protects infants from infection with various pathogens. Camel lactoperoxidase activity is more efficient than cow’s milk and human proteins. RNA and DNA lactoperoxidase inhibit viruses such as Echovirus type 2, HSV, respiratory syncytial virus, HIV, and viruses replicating within infected cells. Camel milk whey proteins maintain high concentrations of antioxidants and stimulate the immune system.
However, as natural antioxidants in the diet, camel milk whey proteins and compounds obtained from their hydrolysis reduce oxidative stress.
In most parts of the world, rotavirus is the most common non-bacterial cause of gastroenteritis in infants or calves. Purified immunoglobulins from camel’s milk, including IgG and IgA, are effective against rotavirus isolated from cattle or humans. Camel milk inhibits Salmonella typhimurium, Listeria monocytogenes, Ecoli and Staphylococcus aureus. The camel milk prevents Listeria monocytogenes, Ecoli, and Staphylococcus aureus due to lactoperoxidase, hydrogen peroxide, and lysozyme, But stopping the growth of Salmonella typhimurium with camel milk lactoferrin is by binding iron and not providing it for bacterial growth.

Camel milk lactoferrin
Camel milk lactoferrin is more effective than bovine and human milk lactoferrin in preventing HCV entry to human leukocyte cells. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of camel milk are effective in treating colitis. High levels of lactoferrin act as an immunostimulant and antioxidant, and camel milk IgG levels as a protective factor against infectious agents. Lactoferrin binds Iron and reduces bacterial growth, prohibits bacterial adhesion, biofilm formation and the expression of virulence factors of pathogenic bacteria and influences the activation of immune cells. Regarding the increasing antibiotic resistance, it is necessary to explore novel nutraceutical supplements such as lactoferrin for bacterial diseases. Lactoferrin is defense agent against cell surfaces infections; stops the connection between heparan sulfate receptors viruses, prevents viral adhesion and entry into target cells, binds viral particles and or host cells, and prevents nuclear localization. Antiviral activity of lactoferrin is against DNA and RNA viruses, enveloped and naked viruses such as rotavirus, respiratory syncytial virus, herpes simplex viruses, and HIV. Lactoferrin provokes the immune system against bacterial infections and respiratory viruses such as SARS-CoV which is etiological agent of COVID-19 and very similar to SARS-CoV-2.
In addition to iron, lactoferrin can able to bind other compounds such as lipopolysaccharide, heparin, glycosami¬noglycans, DNA, or ions such as Ga3+, Mn3+, Cu2+and Zn2+. Probably the main physiological function of lactoferrin as antibacterial agent is binding to the iron, and or sequestering iron as a necessary requirement for most bacterial pathogens. Thus, growth of a broad range of bacterial strains will be inhibited.
Bacteriostatic function of lactoferrin is due to bind the Fe3+ ion and limiting Fe3+ for bacteria growth and their virulence at the infection site, motility and biofilm formation of pathogenic bacteria will be inhibited. Lactoferrin has bactericidal action due to some reasons such as direct interaction with lipopolysaccharides LPS of bacterial surfaces, damages membrane of Gram-negative bacteria, enhances lysozyme action and antibiotics drugs. Lactoferrin effects against Gram-positive bacteria is due to binding to anionic molecules such as lipoteichoic acid and prevent the attachment of these bacteria to the host cell surfaces.

Camel milk and viral Hepatitis
The camel milk lactoferrin is a primary drug against HCV infection and cause to complete inhibition of virus entry into target cells. According to research, the direct interaction between camel milk lactoferrin and hepatitis C virus prevents virus entry after seven days in a culture medium. In addition to lactoferrin, camel milk IgG in comparison with human IgG can recognize peptides of HCV. Furthermore, camel milk can enhance cellular immune responses, prohibit replication of virus DNA, and restore chronic hepatitis B cases. Improvement in fatigue observed in 50% of these patients. Camel milk lactoferrin effectively stops HCV entry and replication in infected HepG2 cells more than human, bovine, and sheep lactoferrin. Using camel milk normalizes liver enzymes, improves liver function, reduces serum triglycerides, hepatic malondialdehyde, and TNF-α and apoptosis, and enhances total antioxidant capacity and the antioxidant defense system. Camel milk casein begins the apoptosis of HCV cells. High vitamin C in camel milk enhances liver function. Also, the camel milk antibodies selectively control viruses. Camel milk antibodies are tenth of human antibody, cause to penetrate antigens.
The consumption of camel milk for eight weeks recovered liver function, reduced hepatic fat and inflammatory infiltration, and increased the glutathione and catalase activity. Camel’s milk was more effective than mare’s milk in improving and normalizing of patients with chronic active Hepatitis. Antiviral activity of camel milk lactoferrin is stronger than human and bovine milk lactoferrins.


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