WHAT IS ALPHA GAL
Alpha Gal is a sugar protein (galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose) found in most mammals. However, it is not found in humans, apes, and monkeys. Alpha-GAL Syndrome is a mammalian product allergy. Alpha gal is transmitted to ticks after biting animals including cows and sheep. Ticks will then carry the alpha gal and inject the molecules into the human body. It can be transmitted if you have had contact with the various types of ticks in the U.S. and different ticks around the world. It is triggered if you have ingested meat or other mammalian products that have had exposure to this sugar protein. Alpha-gal can be found in many products made from mammals including some medications, cosmetics, vaccines, gelatin, and milk products.
TRIGGERS TO SYMPTOMS
Symptoms are triggered by an unusual immune response to the alpha gal sugar.
While reactions to the majority food allergies are seen almost immediately following food ingestion, alpha-gal allergy can be delayed up to eight hours following the consumption of red meat. This is because alpha-gal molecules take a longer time to be digested and absorbed compared to other allergens.
Affected people have mild to severe allergic reactions when:
*Eating red meat (beef, lamb, pork, venison, and rabbits).
*Exposure to products from mammals (cosmetics, medications, vaccines, gelatin, and milk products).
*Taking Cetuximab, a cancer drug. It also contains alpha-gal.
More serious reactions can develop in people suffering from repeated tick bites. Symptoms do not necessarily develop after each exposure and naturally, symptoms vary from one individual to another. Alpha gal allergies appear to affect individuals of all ages. It is mostly common in southeastern and midwestern United States, though many cases have been identified in other parts of the country.
*Drop in blood pressure
*Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat, or other body parts
*A runny nose, sneezing, and headaches
*Gastro-intestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
*Serious symptoms such as anaphylaxis can occur and can be delayed up to 8hrs. This is a serious medical emergency that require immediate medical attention and treatment with epinephrine (adrenaline) injector such as EpiPen. Signs of anaphylaxis concludes; drop in blood pressure, swelling of the mouth and the throat, airway constriction, dizziness, and loss of consciousness.
More serious reactions can develop in people suffering from repeated tick bites. Symptoms do not necessarily develop after each exposure and naturally, symptoms vary from one individual to another. Alpha gal allergies appear to affect individuals of all ages. It is mostly common in the southeastern and midwestern United States, though many cases have been identified in other parts of the country.
Unless the individual is repeatedly bitten by ticks, it is believed that alpha-gal allergy may dissipate on its own in about 3 to 5 years.
As with other allergies, skin tests through pricking the skin with a small amount of alpha-gal can identify reactions to the sugar in allergic patients. Identifying alpha-gal antibodies in the bloodstream is an additional method. These tests can be administered in your Physician’s office.
PREVENTION and TREATMENT
Avoid wooded bushy areas with long grass where ticks are usually found. Appropriate clothes should be worn in such areas. Use of appropriate insect repellent is advised. Clearing brush and leaves would deprive the ticks from their favorable habitat. After trips to wooded grassy areas, showering may help remove unattached ticks. Ticks usually stay unattached to the skin for hours.
Patients diagnosed with Alpha-gal will have to avoid eating red meat, dairy, and other products that contain Alpha-gal. Medical treatment of allergic reactions is mainly symptomatic in nature. Antihistamines and steroids are frequently recommended. EpiPen and other measures are needed for alpha-gal anaphylactic shock.
ALPHA GAL TREATMENT THROUGH ACUPUNCTURE
Dr. Wesley is certified in the Soliman Auricular Allergy Treatment (SAAT) Protocol. By using this method, the Alpha Gal sugar is identified and eliminated completely. This treatment, introduced by Dr. Nader Soliman, has been proven with much success to not only alleviate symptoms. This acupuncture method works to eliminate the histamine response associated with Alpha Gal Syndrome.