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Got (camel) milk? Former Scott County resident shares her autistic son's experience with camel milk

Marci Gore • Oct 27, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Christina Adams says the first time she gave her autistic son a half cup of camel milk at bedtime, she wasn't sure what to expect. She says she was hopeful that, over time, it might eventually relieve some of his symptoms. But, she adds, despite the promising — albeit scant — research she had found on treating autism spectrum disorder with camel milk, she was not prepared for what she would see the next morning.

"He ate his breakfast more neatly, put on his shoes and got his backpack for school while conversing at the same time," Adams said.

After having consumed four ounces of camel milk only hours earlier, Adams said her son showed astonishing improvements in eye contact, communication and emotional expression. He even told his mom he loved her.

"I was stunned. I honestly could not have foreseen this type of dramatic response," Adams said.

Adams, who spent her teenage years living in the Hiltons community of Scott County, graduated from Gate City High School and Emory and Henry College. After graduating from college, she moved to Washington, D.C. Various jobs and careers have taken her all across the United States. For the past 20 years, Adams has called California home. Recently, she was back in the Tri-Cities area visiting friends and family and shared her son's story with the Times-News.

Adams' son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) when he was three years old. Like many children with ASD, Adams says, as an infant, her son appeared normal and met the generally accepted growth and development milestones.

"He was calm and attentive, smiled at six weeks, laughed and could focus on books and toys. He was affectionate and bonded with his parents and always showed appropriate separation anxiety. He spoke two clear words at nine months and walked on his first birthday.

Adams said, at around 15 to 18 months old, her son had loss of language and attention and developed hyperactivity, sensitivity to noise and fixation on objects.

"He had difficulty interacting with others, was biting and engaging in aggressive behavior and had been dismissed from two preschools," Adams said. "Like many ASD children, he was found to have food intolerances and allergies, skin conditions, auditory processing delay, expressive/receptive language delay, constipation and an intermittent tic disorder."

It was a chance encounter with a camel farmer at a book fair in 2005 that led Adams to look into using camel milk for the treatment of autism.

"I asked the camel farmer what do you do with camel milk. He told me he makes soaps and lotions. I kept on asking....what else can you do with it? He told me they give it to premature babies in the Middle East for its reputed nonallergenic and nutrient-rich qualities.In many cultures, camel milk has a very ancient reputation for healing many different maladies," Adams said.

Adams said she immediately began researching camel milk in the treatment of ASD, but soon realized there was not much information available.

Eventually, Adams says she ran across a report done by Dr. Reuven Yagil, who is a veterinarian by training, but has spent all his professional life as a tenured professor at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's medical and nursing school in Israel. Yagil's report indicated that some children with ASD responded positively to camel milk.

Next, Adams says she consulted with Israeli-American scientist Dr. Amnon Gonenne on his theory that camel milk may act as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Adams says she felt the risk of giving her son camel milk was minimal. She made arrangements to have bottles of raw frozen camel milk shipped to her from Israel.

After seeing such amazing results, Adams continued giving her son four ounces of camel milk daily for the next several years.

Today, Adams says he is a normal teenage boy. He just celebrated his 17th birthday.

"He is hitting the benchmarks for normal functioning.," Adams said. "Intellectually, his IQ is very high, well above average. His verbal scores are well above average. He's responsible. He's not impulsive. He's very considerate, thoughtful and polite, very aware of what's happening and what isn't. He's very good at deconstructing social situations. He even works part-time here and there, doing things for people. He's very serious about keeping his grades up. He has A pluses in two of his classes. As his mother, and despite knowing him all these years, and seeing all the great things in him, even now, I am surprised at how well he is doing. I think his brain maturity has kicked in."

Although Adams says she was proactive in finding the best intervention programs, therapies, schools and diets for her son after his ASD diagnosis, she is convinced her son would not be where he is today were it not for the discovery of camel milk.

"The camel milk saw him through many, many years of diet issues and challenges and biomedical maturity," she said.

But what is it about camel milk that possibly led to these changes in Adams' son?

Dr. Amnon Gonenne, the Israeli-American scientist Adams consulted with, says currently, there is no scientific explanation.

"The effectiveness and healing properties of camel milk have been reported over the past several decades in a variety of publications, mostly from Asia and Russia. [But] the effect of camel milk on ASD patients represents a special case. Professor Reuven Yagil was the first to make the extraordinary prediction that ASD is not an inherent disease of the brain, but a consequence of malfunction of the immune system," Gonenne said.

He says Yagil tested his theory on ASD patients who suffer from food allergies, making observations that camel milk can reduce food allergies.

"Yagil argues that, if ASD is a consequence of allergic response to ingested food, then camel milk should alleviate ASD symptoms. He tested his theory on a few ASD patients with documented food allergies and the benefit was unequivocal," said Gonenne.

Adams is quick to say that camel milk is not a miracle cure for ASD.

"No, it doesn't cure autism, but it can definitely relieve a lot of symptoms in many, many children. That's the exciting part," she said.

Adams has written a book entitled "A Real Boy" and is passionate about sharing her son's story and helping others learn about the benefits of camel milk, which can now be found in the United States. For anyone who may be interested in giving camel milk a try, Adams says she can help locate camel farmers who will ship it to your home or she will help you locate a store that sells it.

Adams can be reached via social media. Her Twitter username is @camelmilkinfo and she can also be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/christinaadamsauthorautismadvocate. She may also be reached via email at [email protected].

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