As some may already know, I was recently received a preliminary diagnosis of red meat allergy also called mammalian meat allergy which is caused by an allergic reaction to a sugar present in red meat called galactose-alpha-1, 3- galactose, aka Alpha-Gal for short. This allergy is kicked off by bites from the Lone Star tick commonly found on deer. Living in Oklahoma, tick bites are a common occurrence if you are a country dweller or spend time outdoors. It is a given that you will experience a tick bite at some time. We have all been alerted to watch for telltale signs of Lyme Disease including the bulls eye rash, aches fever, etc., but never would I have thought my horrendous hives to an *unknown* food might be remotely related to a tick bite.
Although my allergist believes there is a strong probability that I have this affliction, I won't know with certainty until testing later this month. Either way, this experience has brought this disabling allergy to my attention and I am spreading the info far and wide in case there are others out there suffering without any idea what the problem is. Perhaps this will help connect the dots.
The positive outcome of this situation for me is that it has pushed me to work on my diet and make some long over due changes for a healthier lifestyle. If I get to put red meat back in my diet at some point, hurrah! If not, I'm going to be okay.
Here is an excerpt from the University of Virginia website that discovered the connection between tick bites and mammalian meat allergy.
What exactly is this mammalian meat allergy?
When certain people are bitten by ticks or chiggers, the bite appears to set off a chain of reactions in the body. One of these reactions is the production of an allergic class of antibody that binds to a carbohydrate present on meat called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, also known as alpha-gal. When a person with the alpha-gal antibody eats mammalian meat, the meat triggers the release of histamine. Histamine is a compound found in the body that causes allergic symptoms like hives, itching and, in the worst case, anaphylaxis (a reaction that leads to sudden weakness, swelling of the throat, lips and tongue, difficulty breathing and/or unconsciousness).
In addition to the classic allergy symptoms, some of our patients report significant gastrointestinal distress or gynecological symptoms. These symptoms can take the form of abdominal cramping and pain, heartburn, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting and in some cases uterine cramping with spotting. It is not uncommon for a patient who has anaphylaxis to lose consciousness while moving their bowels. Some patients have reactions that are characterized almost entirely of GI or gynecological symptoms while others may not experience these types of symptoms at all.
This allergy is different from other food allergies like peanut allergy in that the response is delayed. Unlike someone with a peanut allergy who has an immediate reaction when they eat a peanut, people with the alpha-gal allergy usually do not start having symptoms until several hours after they eat meat.For the complete article, visit:
Frequently Asked Questions - A Resource on the Mammalian Meat Allergy from the University of Virginia
Bright Blessings and Blessed Be,
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest