Alpha-gal is an allergy to ALL mammal meat: beef, pork, lamb, venison, goat, and bison. It occurs when certain people are bitten by a tick. The saliva of the tick causes the body to generate an antibody against a SUGAR molecule in all red meat. This is significant because it is different from people who are allergic to peanuts or shellfish, etc. They are allergic to a PROTEIN in a particular food. When you are allergic to a protein in a food, your reaction is immediate. When you are allergic to a SUGAR, your body has to digest the food and break it down to a SUGAR before you begin to react. This is a big reason why it takes people so long to figure out what is wrong. Since it takes anywhere between 3-6 hours to digest your food, you don’t think your allergic reaction could be from food because your symptoms are so distant from the last time you had something to eat. The most common symptoms are hives, itching, and in severe cases anaphylaxis. The only treatment at this time is to completely avoid red meat. It is believed that over time and being free from any further tick bites, your alpha-gal levels may decrease. It is recommended that you be retested to see if the alpha-gal antibody level has decreased.
Here is an informative and up to date (09/12/2017) podcast from Dr. Scott Commins:
The University of Virginia is researching the alpha-gal meat allergy. See the blog below for more information:
If you live in the Lynchburg, Virginia area and believe you may have the alpha-gal allergy, I would recommend Dr. Charles Lane at Allergy Partners of Lynchburg:
I am so happy to have come across your blog! My husband was diagnosed with Alpha-Gal as well about 6 months ago. Thank you for sharing your story, your research, and your recipies. When we recieved our diagnosis, our allergist made us aware of how little he know about this allergy and we would be on our own when it came to the research. I have created a Facebook community geared towards spreading knowledge and experiences in hopes of educating people about this terrible allergy. I hope you will join this community and allow me to reference you and your blog. I think your knowledge will prove very helpful.
I’m glad to find this site. Just a note to those who are new to this allergy. The research is ongoing, so don’t stop searching for answers and information.
My alpha gal allergy was present 6-6 1/2 years ago but only diagnosed 2 years ago. In the interim, as the allergy was developing fully, I was attributing many of the lesser symptoms to other causes. But in the past 2 years, since removing ALL mammalian meats, then later all processed foods with known mammal-derived ingredients, and now even hba products containing known mammal-derived ingredients from my life, many of those other lesser symptoms have also subsided. Apparently, even non-meat ingredients which are mammal-derived will trigger headaches that can, for me, turn into migraines. And some ingredients in cosmetics or other hba products which are derived from mammalian sources can result in intense itching without a rash or hives, Even jello, marshmallows, and vitamins or meds which are in gelatin capsules must be avoided. Sodium stearate is geneally plant-derived, but can also be derived from mammalian sources. It is an ingredient in my former deodorant and caused intense itching that stopped the day I stopped using it. I am hopeful that someday there will be a comprehensive list of all mammal-derived ingredients so those products can be avoided (along with the lesser but very irritating symptoms they cause). In the meantime, I choose only vegan products, and just add eggs, fish and poultry to my diet.
My husband, as well, has Alpha Gal Syndrome. I don’t know which is worse – the maddening, itching hives in the middle of the night, or the bland, boring chicken recipes I have resorted to.
I an so excited to try your recipes! Tonight, the Mushroom Stroganoff, tomorrow the Bowties, Chicken and Olives. Thank you. Thank you!
I don’t particularly like fish and just stick to canned tuna or salmon, and ate a lot of chicken (nuggets and pulled chicken for a while), then stir fry with fish or shrimp or chicken in it, for a long time. Cut chicken now makes me feel like I’m chewing on an eraser. Spices help a lot, I’ve found. especially those with some “bite” to them.
My daughter showed me how to make ground turkey a bit more palatable by turning it into turkey sausage. I use this to replace ground beef in recipes, like chili, soup, casseroles, even burgers and omelets, or as patties with breakfast eggs. Tastes and smells much better than plain turkey and is certainly not bland.
1 lb ground turkey, 3/4 tsp Lite salt, 1/2 tsp dried parsley, 1/4 tsp ground sage, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, 1/2 tsp rosmary, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper or cumin (or extra black pepper), 1/4 tsp ground coriander (or extra cumin). flatten out the turkey and add all the ingredients and knead it like bread dough until thoroughly combined and homogeneous. Then fry like ground beef or make patties of it and fry.
Keep on trying new things and watch out for the sneaky stuff that is mammal-sourced but not noted as such on the ingredient list! Google mammal-sourced inactive ingredients, and google individual ingredients by name to be sure they’re safe.