Health knowledge and news provided by doctors.

Red meat allergy linked to antibodies from tick bite

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
How a tick bite can make your allergic to meat

Red meat eaters in the central and southern regions of the United States where lone star ticks are found may be more inclined to suffer from meat allergy, finds a study.

According to results of an investigation presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, symptoms of sneezing, headache, wheezing and more can occur hours after eating meat in areas of the country where residents are more likely to experience a tick bite.

Beef, lamb and pork contain a sugar carbohydrate known as alpha-gal that can lead to a higher chance of meat sensitivity after just one tick bite.

According to Stanley Fineman, M.D., ACAAI president, tick bites cause levels of alpha-gal antibodies to rise.

“This can result in allergic symptoms which are usually delayed after meat ingestion and may present as mild hives but may also be a severe, potentially deadly reaction known as anaphylaxis,” Fineman said in a press release.

Studies also found higher rates of meat allergies in areas where lone start ticks are not found, leading researchers to believe there might be other factors driving allergies to meat.

Follow eMaxHealth on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Please, click to subscribe to our Youtube Channel to be notified about upcoming health and food tips.

“These findings suggest that other species of ticks, or possibly human factors, may play a role in allergic reactions to alpha-gal,” said Dr. Fineman.

Unlike most allergies, a reaction to eating meat can take 3 to 6 hours to appear.

Symptoms can be severe and require immediate medical treatment and include hives, rash, stuffy nose, headache, sneezing and asthma.

The most severe form of allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis can lead to death.

According to a report from ABC, published this year, 1000 cases of meat allergy have been linked to tick bites in Virginia.

If you think you might be having an allergic reaction to meat, seek medical attention. It’s also important to see an allergist for testing and a prescription for life-saving epinephrine if you test positive for alpha-gal antibodies. It's possible to accidentally ingest a piece of ham or other red meat mixed in with vegetables or other foods. Another option is to adopt a vegetarian diet. and avoid eating food -prepared by other people.


Image credit: Wikimedia commons



That human factor he mentions is the fact that the tick is genetically modified to do this to humans.
Interesting. Can you tell us more? I'm aware they try to genetically modify ticks to fight Lyme disease.Are you suggesting this is the result of same?
For an allergic reaction to manifest can take up to two days! And some allergies have a hidden response, like smoking! The first few gaspers one smokes will set off a noticeable reaction (ALARM) after which time the body gets 'used to it' After the initial shock the smoker will adapt, and will react less severe each time the person smokes. The body has found some way to cope with the allergens and toxins. This is the stage of ADAPTATION. The worst symptoms are masked and absorbed by body organs. Stage Three, EXHAUSTION is eventually reached for all and this stage is marked by some disease. An infant taken from breast milk to formula will, in the initial stage, vomit. This is stage one of an allergic reaction. Then, after a while, stage two, the adaptation stage will be reached and the body gets “used to it”. Some organ is taking on the stress. Then stage three, exhaustion of resources is reached and illness or disease occurs. Usually the body’s first line of defense, the mucus membranes, tonsils, adenoids (these were routinely removed when I was a kid, I hope the Medical fraternity have become wiser now) and the rest of the lymphatic system will become affected and more serious problems will manifest as the immune system is now totally exhausted. As the immune system includes the lymphatic system, reproductive system, (early menopause, sexual burnout), glandular system, such as the glands in the brain, (becoming forgetful? Don’t remember where you live?) Pancreas. (ulcers and Sugar problems?) Prostate or Bladder, (troubles with the waterworks?) Thyroid, (is your weight weighing you down?) and adrenals, (Your get up and go is gone and went?), you can see what far reaching effects an allergy can have. We found the most common allergen to be not ticks, but dairy products! But the article is one more reason to avoid eating animal remains and avoid drinking animal fluids like urine and milk.
Kino - I wonder why you keep returning to milk allergy in your comments. And, by the way, thank you for taking time to share. This is obviously a hot button for you re: drinking milk. Are you on a quest to spread the word to everyone not to drink cow's milk? I'm wondering why you are so fervent about the issue. Thanks!
Hi Kathleen, Thank you for your reply. I will try to put your mind at rest. In my life as a health professional (since 1972) I have encountered more people with dairy allergies than any other. These folks came to see me with a variety of health problems, but most frequently, with bad backs. When I corrected these spinal issues I found that they re-occurred, and some external agent to be responsible. I discussed this with allergists, and found dairy to be the most common allergen. When studying Kinesiology I found out that I had a milk allergy as well. As I only drank milk in coffee it was easy to give up, but cheese!!! There was a problem! I realised that it takes 10 litres of milk to make one kilo of cheese, but, for a Dutchman to give up his cheese is not an easy thing to do, but I did. Almost immediately the back problems I suffered from, and blamed on malnutrition in ww2, disappeared. Over the last 30 or so years I am proud to say, I have helped hundreds of folks overcome their health problems by eliminating all dairy products from their diet. Yes, I am passionate about my work, and like to spread the word. I remember reading years ago that, if you can save one person in your life, your life has been worth it!.
Oh Kino - thank you so much! How wonderful that you are so passionate and thank you for sharing that passion and your expertise. I think when we realize the impact of any inflammatory process on the entire body - and it's easy to connect those dots - Western medicine might take a whole body approach too.