A new study has shown that allergens found in red meat are linked to harmful plaque buildup in the arteries of the human heart. It has long since been known that the saturated fats contained in red meat are responsible for heart disease in individuals around the world, but the new study marks the first time that red meat allergens can actually increase the risk of contracting it.
The study, which was published in the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology journal and conducted at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, has shed light on how allergens in red meat affect human health.
Lead researcher, Coleen McNamara, said: “This novel finding from a small group of subjects from Virginia raises the intriguing possibility that allergy to red meat may be an under-recognized factor in heart disease. These preliminary findings underscore the need for further clinical studies in larger populations from diverse geographic regions and additional laboratory work.”
Some 1% of all people are believed to be allergic to red meat, and as many as 20% of all people are believed to be allergic to red meat without exhibiting any symptoms of an allergy. Many studies into food allergies have been conducted in the past, with all of them relating the cause of food allergies to a lethal allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. The latter is responsible for the constriction of the airways, which in turn causes blood pressure to drop dangerously low.
Another allergen-related study published in 2017 revealed that the allergy occurs due to the presence of alpha-gal 3, which is also known as 3-galactose or galactose-α-1. It’s a sugar molecule that’s most commonly found in pork, beef, lamb and other types of red meat.
A rather alarming finding from the research is that allergies caused due to the consumption of red meat usually flare up some three to six hours after eating, which could mean that you might not immediately realize the effects of the allergy, hence taking longer than you should seek treatment.
More studies are needed to substantiate these initial findings, however, they have already provided incentive for developing a new approach to preventing and treating and heart disease in a subgroup of people who are sensitized to red meat.
The research makes it clear that the consumption of red meat can be considered as a fundamental factor for the dietary risk of cardiometabolic diseases. The conditions can also be affected by the extent of the meat processing, the preservation period and the types of preservation needed.
Images by Deposit Photos.