Red Meat Allergy Linked to Heart Disease

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It may not be a heavily red-meat diet that puts you at risk for heart disease, but rather an allergy to red meat. Research published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biologysuggests that such allergies increase plaque buildup in arteries and lead to cardiovascular disease, putting people with red meat allergies at even higher risk than the general population.

Red meat allergy is sometimes caused by the bite of a Lone Star tick. While the number of people with red meat allergies in the United States is unknown, the condition may be on the rise, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. In some areas, an allergy to red meat affects up to 1 percent of the population, and an estimated 20 percent develop antibodies to red meat allergens without having full-blown allergy symptoms.

The primary allergen in red meat, is a complex sugar called alpha-Gal. Researchers have suspected for some time that allergens can trigger immune system changes associated with arterial blockages, but this study, which involved 118 adults, is the first to identify specific blood markers for red meat allergy that are associated with plaque buildup in the arteries.

Sourced from: Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA)