New Study Finds Links Of Food Allergen In Red Meat As A Possible Cause For Heart Disease

Heart Disease

Heart health is every person’s primary concern. With the kind of stress induced lifestyle that we lead, it is often possible that the same can have negative implications on one’s health. While people have often linked the red meat as a possible contributor to heart disease, new study has something new to add to the spectrum of allegations and causes.

A new study (R), conducted by a team of researchers from the NIH/National Heart and Lung and Blood Institute has linked a possible sensitivity to an allergen present in the Red Meat as a possible cause behind heart diseases. While there had been a prior notion of the high saturated fat in the red meat as a cause behind the induction of heart diseases, the same can vary in different people because of this specific food allergen that the researchers have traced in the red meat.

The lead of the study, Coleen McNamara, M.D., a professor of medicine in the Cardiovascular Research Center of the University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville stated saying that this study was conducted on a small group of people in Virginia has found a possible cause behind the induction of heart diseases because of the presence of unknown allergies and food allergens in the red meat.

With the kind of findings concerning this specific study, it is quite necessary to conduct better and well researched studies and on a larger population and from various geographic locations to confirm these conclusions as something generic to subjected to specific demographics and geography.

Even though there are not a specific count concerning the number of people suffering from red meat allergies in the United States, the researchers of the study estimate the same to be somewhere around 1% of the population in certain parts of the country. While the same is not presumably high, the people who tend to develop blood antibodies in response to any form of red meat allergen is quite high, somewhere around 20% in some areas.

It has been recently that the scientists have finally been able to identify the allergen associated with the red meat as galactose-α-1,3-galactose, or alpha-Gal which is believed to be a type of complex sugar. On top of that, they also found for a fact that it is a tick which tends to sensitize the people from this specific food allergen when they end up biting them. This is believed to be the primary reason why red meat allergies are more prone and potent in areas which are exposed to more ticks like that of Southeastern United States as well as places in and around Long Island, New York.

Since quite a few years, there have been speculations concerning the connection between allergens from the red meat and the induction of immunological responses against it which often end up causing plaque buildup and artery damage but there were no studies providing with assertive evidences regarding the same.

This new study is a breakthrough, providing with the much needed information concerning the allergens and the associated risks of heart diseases. The researchers showed that the specific blood marker for the red meat allergy was primarily associated with higher levels of plaque or even because of the fatty deposits witnessed on the inner lining of the arteries. The same was specific to the alpha-Gal allergen.

In order to solidify their detections and findings, the researchers went on to analyse the blood samples of around 118 adults and traced antibodies to alpha-Gal in 26% of them. They further introduced an easy imaging process and later found that the subjects with antibodies to alpha-gal in their blood had a 30% more presence of plaque in their system.

Even after all of this, there is a break between the possible link between the red meat allergens and the coronary artery disease to which the researchers reverted stating that they are going to conduct further and intensive study on humans and animals alike to find the possible connections between their initial findings. In present day, the only possible cure for red meat allergy is preventing its consumption. Tracing the possible reason would actually be beneficial in developing drugs for the same.

Ahmed Hasan, M.D., Ph.D., a medical officer and program director in NHLBI’s Atherothrombosis & Coronary Artery Disease Branch stated that the entirety of these initial findings need an extensive study concerning it to but the same has actually opened up a potential new approach to the treatment of the heart diseases who are sensitized to red meat.

Till then, it is suggested to every person to follow the standard basis of heart healthy diet to ensure an overall better lifestyle and to keep the risks of heart disease at bay. Include more green leafy vegetables in the diet and also ensure to consume fruits and whole grains. Not just eating and diet, indulging in other forms of lifestyle management like managing stress and indulging in exercising also make up as vital parts to the process.


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