Research

Can a person be allergic to meat?

About eight years ago, a 56-year-old farmer fromKansas City (USA) began to notice that some time after eating, his body was covered with a rash. He went to the hospital for help, but the doctors could not make a definite diagnosis for him. One would think that this is an allergy to a certain food, but the rash did not always appear exactly after eating, and sometimes was absent for several weeks. Sometimes the man even had shortness of breath, but it was not so strong that it was necessary to call an ambulance. Neither a change of detergent nor a change of clothes helped him to cope with the problem. Only after almost eight years, the doctors realized that the patient was suffering from an allergy, but not from the usual, but very rare - alpha-gal syndrome... In simple terms, this is an allergy tored meat, which the man did not eat every day, which is why the reaction was not often manifested. Let's see why it is rare and how to avoid its occurrence?

Meat allergy affects about 3% of the US population

About the mysterious case of allergy tored meat told Science Alert. The American farmer clearly suffered from allergy symptoms, but doctors could not understand what exactly caused such a reaction. The food option was consistently rejected because when allergic to a particular food, the reaction occurs after a few minutes, rather than hours or even days. However, it was the food that was the problem, but it took a long time to make this discovery.

Cause of Meat Allergy

Long before this incident, in 2002, the Britishallergy researcher Thomas Platts-Mills noticed a similar phenomenon in cancer patients who were treated with the drug cetuximab. For a long time, he also could not understand the cause of an allergic reaction to drugs, but in 2008 he still found the answer - human organisms did not react well to the carbohydrate alpha 1,3-galactose (or simply alpha-gal), which is found in many species mammals other than humans. In the composition of the drug, this component appeared during manufacture.

The spread of alpha-gal syndrome in the United States.Percentages refer to the proportion of samples submitted for testing that tested positive. White diagonal lines on the map represent the habitat of the mite Amblyomma americanum.

Allergy occurred due to the fact that afterthe appearance of alpha-gall in the human body, he began to react sharply to the red meat of animals. But how does this substance get into people? For some time, scientists studied the medical history of people with alpha-gal syndrome and noticed that they all suffered from Rocky Mountain spotted fever at one point in their lives. It is an acute infectious disease that is commonly reported in the United States, with 600 to 650 cases each year. It spreads through the bites of Amblyomma americanum ticks.

A mite of the species Amblyomma americanum

Interesting fact: Rocky Mountain spotted fever got itsthe name is due to the fact that the first outbreak of the disease occurred among the first settlers in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the western United States and Canada. It wasn't until the 1930s that the disease was common in other parts of the United States.

See also: How is cold allergy manifested and what can it lead to?

Alpha gal syndrome

At first, explorer Thomas Platts-Mills was notI am completely sure of my assumption, but then I was convinced of the participation of ticks from my own experience. One day he went hiking in the mountains near his home and picked up those very parasites. They were successfully extracted, but after a while the man developed an allergy to lamb - he also became a carrier of the alpha-gal syndrome. So today, scientists are completely sure that it is the alpha 1,3-galactose carbohydrates, which are stuck in the proteins of the mites' saliva, that increase the sensitivity of people to the carbohydrates contained in meat products such as lamb and beef. Since they are not destroyed during cooking, human bodies react sharply to them some time after they enter the body.

People with alpha-gal syndrome cannot eat red meat due to an allergic reaction

So it is not surprising that one of the carriersa 56-year-old farmer became a 56-year-old farmer with alpha-gal syndrome - his lifestyle was such that he could easily pick up ticks. After several years of dressing in hospitals, he was finally diagnosed correctly. According to the scientific journal BMJ Case Reports, now the man has strictly limited his diet and does not feel any special ailments. However, scientists find it difficult to say exactly how common the allergy to red animal meat is. According to preliminary data, alpha-gal syndrome occurs in about 3% of the US population. But the study of the disease continues.

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Who is unlikely to suffer from a red allergymeat is a vegan who does not eat anything related to animals. I talked about this movement, which is joined by an increasing number of people here.