NIH-supported researchers find link between allergen in red meat and heart disease | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Only in recent years did scientists identify the main allergen in red
meat, called galactose-α-1,3-galactose, or alpha-Gal, a type of complex
sugar. They also found that a tick — the Lone Star tick — sensitizes
people to this allergen when it bites them. That is why red meat
allergies tend to be more common where these ticks are more prevalent,
such as the Southeastern United States, but also extending to other
areas, including Long Island, New York.

Researchers have suspected for some time that allergens can trigger
certain immunological changes that might be associated with plaque
buildup and artery blockages, but no one had identified a specific
substance that is responsible for this effect. In the current study,
researchers showed for the first time that a specific blood marker for
red meat allergy was associated with higher levels of arterial plaque,
or fatty deposits on the inner lining of the arteries. The blood marker
they identified is a type of antibody (immunoglobulin or IgE) that is
specific to the alpha-Gal allergen.

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