Allergy, Meat

An allergy to a carb in meat? Interesting.

From Is anaphylaxis triggered by eating meat more common than we think?

NEW ORLEANS – According to research presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (, a carbohydrate in meat called alpha-gal is an under recognized culprit in patients with recurring anaphylaxis.

An individual who has had an anaphylactic reaction to something unknown is at an increased risk for repeated episodes if the trigger for the reaction is not identified. With recent research showing that those who have IgE to alpha-gal report anaphylaxis or hives three to six hours after eating mammalian meat, how many of these unknown cases might actually be attributed to it?

To find out, 60 patients diagnosed with recurrent, idiopathic anaphylaxis at the University of Virginia, the University of Tennessee and the John James Medical Center in Australia were identified and tested for the presence of IgE to alpha-gal.

Of the 20 patients from the Tennessee clinic, five were found to have more than 1.0 IU/mL of IgE to alpha-gal. The results from the Virginia and Australian sites showed an even higher level of positive responses to the carbohydrate. Eleven of the 22 patients from Virginia were found to have greater than 1.0 IU/mL of IgE to alpha-gal, while nine of the 18 from Australia were positive.

A broad analysis of other allergens in the 60 samples did not find any patterns that would have otherwise explained the cause of anaphylaxis in the 25 positive for alpha-gal or the remaining 35 cases.

“These studies continue to suggest not only that IgE to a carbohydrate has important clinical implications in food allergy and anaphylaxis, but that the presence of this antibody may well have been under appreciated in terms of the number of patients affected and geographical scope,” commented Scott P. Commins, MD, PhD, lead author of the study.

The AAAAI ( represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has nearly 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries. To find an allergist/immunologist in your area, visit


Unknown said…
Sometimes an allergic reaction is not even to the meat itself, but how it's been processed. These days, many chicken breeders use hormone injections to increase the size of their chickens, and have to inject broth into the treated chickens to make them less bland. The broth usually contains soy and yeast, and is often undeclared. I had to switch to organic chicken over it.
Have now been found to have this allergy, perhaps because of tick bites living in sw MO.

At least I know what is causing "idiopathic anaphylaxis"!!

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