The Sneeze


Can Alpha-Gal Be Reversed? 

October 5, 2023

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Everything You Need to Know About Alpha Gal

Most people know that if a tick infected with Borrelia burgdorferi bites you, you can develop Lyme disease. But, some ticks can transmit bacteria that can lead to a potentially fatal food allergy

Alpha-gal syndrome (AGS), also known as alpha-gal allergy is an allergy to mammal meat triggered by a tick bite. 

Let's find out more about this condition and whether it can be reversed. 

What You Need to Know About Alpha-Gal Allergy? 

This allergy is unique in that it can be triggered by a tick bite. The culprit is the Lone Star tick whose bite can cause the immune system to produce antibodies against alpha-gal molecules. 

Alpha-gal is short for galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, a sugar molecule found in most mammals but not in humans. 

If you get bitten by a Lone Star tick, your body may start developing antibodies against this molecule, which causes you to become allergic to meat from mammals, such as beef, pork, and lamb as well as derivatives such as milk, some dairy products, and gelatine. 

Alpha-Gal allergy is also known as a meat allergy. 


Why Is It Dangerous? 

Delayed Onset: Alpha-gal allergy has been shown to have a delayed onset. The symptoms can appear hours after consuming red meat, making it difficult for people to connect their symptoms to their diet. 

Severe Reactions: Alpha-Gal allergy can even lead to anaphylaxis, a rapid and dramatic reaction that can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Red Meat Is Not the Only Source: Alpha-gal can be present in products other than meat, such as certain medications, vaccines, or gelatin-based products. 

Can It Be Reversed? 

Unfortunately, Alpha-gal syndrome can't be cured or reversed. If you have this allergy, you will need to avoid products that contain alpha-gal molecules to prevent an allergic reaction. You should also work closely with a specialist who can help you manage and understand your symptoms. 

Although it can't be reversed, Alpha-gal allergy can be prevented through: 

  • Avoiding tick bites. Use tick repellents and appropriate gear especially if you live in an area where the Lone Star tick is prevalent. 
  • If you do get a tick bite, make sure to remove it correctly. Improper handling can cause the tick to eject more of its saliva into the bite, increasing the odds of developing Alpha-gal syndrome. The best approach is to have the tick removed by a professional. 
  • Know that if you get a tick bite you are at a risk of developing Alpha-gal syndrome and keep an eye out for odd symptoms. 

Premier Allergy & Asthma Can Help You 

Whether it's Alpha-gal or other types of food or respiratory allergy, the team at Premier Allergy & Asthma is here to offer advanced care to help you better manage your allergies. Our approach goes beyond simple symptom management. We also focus on training the body to build immunity so you can live pain-free.

If you want to learn more about how we can help, don't hesitate to get in touch with us