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Allergen in red meat causes heart disease: Study

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

An found in red can cause the buildup of plaque in the arteries, leading to an increased risk of disease, a study has found.

While high saturated fat levels in red have long been known to contribute to disease for people in general, the findings - published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology (ATVB) - suggests that a subgroup of the population may be at heightened risk due to a food

"This novel finding from a small group of subjects from raises the intriguing possibility that to red may be an under recognised factor in disease," said Coleen McNamara, a at the in the US.

"These preliminary findings underscore the need for further clinical studies in larger populations from diverse geographic regions and additional laboratory work," said McNamara.

The number of people with allergies in the US is unclear, but researchers estimate that it may be one per cent of the population in some areas.

The number of people who develop blood to the without having full-blown symptoms is much higher - as much as 20 per cent of the population in some areas, researchers said.

Only in recent years did scientists identify the main allergen in red meat, called alpha-Gal, a type of complex sugar. They also found that a tick - the tick - sensitizes people to this allergen when it bites them.

That is why allergies tend to be more common where these ticks are more prevalent, such as the Southeastern United States, but also extending to other areas, including Long Island,

Researchers have suspected for some time that allergens can trigger certain immunological changes that might be associated with plaque buildup and blockages, but no one had identified a specific substance that is responsible for this effect.

In the current study, researchers showed for the first time that a specific blood marker for red meat was associated with higher levels of arterial plaque, or fatty deposits on the inner lining of the arteries.

The blood marker they identified is a type of antibody (immunoglobulin or IgE) that is specific to the alpha-Gal allergen.

The evidence for a link between red meat allergens and coronary disease is still preliminary, the researchers noted, so they plan to conduct detailed animal and human studies to confirm their initial findings.

Currently, the only treatment for red meat once it is diagnosed is strict avoidance of red meat.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, June 18 2018. 12:05 IST