Alpha Galactose (Gal) Allergy IgE Blood Test
The alpha galactose (alpha-gal) allergy blood test measures the amount of allergen-specific IgE antibodies in the blood in order to detect an allergy to alpha-gal.
Alpha-gal is a carbohydrate particle present in most red meat, which includes beef, lamb, and pork. As opposed to other allergies to food, alpha-gal reactions can appear 3 to 6 hours after ingestion. The response can be delayed due to carbohydrates taking a more extended period to be absorbed into the body, unlike proteins.
Most commonly, an alpha-gal allergy is developed as an adult. It has been shown that a bite from a lone star tick can cause this allergy. Ticks contain alpha-gal, so when bitten, a response is triggered by the immune system. The body views certain substances as toxic and produces IgE antibodies to these contaminants. These antibodies created to protect against the tick bite will remain in the individual's system, thus, causing the symptoms of an allergic reaction when consuming meat.
Some individuals have severe reactions that can result in being unable to breathe. Allergic reactions vary in severity on a case by case basis. The most common symptoms include:
- runny nose or congestion
- sneezing hives
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