Meat allergy more common than once believed - Macleans.ca

Meat allergy more common than once believed

Potentially deadly allergy found in high number of patients

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Eating meat could spark a potentially deadly allergic reaction among more people than previously believed, according to U.S. researchers. A study of 60 patients with unexplained severe allergic reactions, called anaphylaxis, suggested a sugar compound in meat called alpha-galactose might be to blame. While alpha-galactose is produced in most mammals, humans and great apes make an antibody to it. In the study, researchers found immune system proteins, called IgE antibodies, in 25 of 50 patients with these unexplained reactions. “The presence of IgE antibody to this sugar is wider spread in the human population as a whole than we had initially expected,” lead researcher Dr. Scott Commins of the University of Virginia told Reuters. “So the problem becomes when people make IgE antibody to this sugar and then they eat meat or dairy products that contain the sugar then they get a delayed reaction.” The reaction had been puzzling because meat or dairy might have been eaten up to six hours before, whereas typical anaphylactic reactions occur within minutes.

Reuters

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