After learning of my Alpha-Gal Allergy diagnosis last year, I decided I would take the blood test once a year, in hopes that it will someday go away.
From what I’ve learned, it’s possible that your body can “forget” about the allergy if you can gain zero exposure for some amount of time. This may or may not be the case, but I have heard of people who have had this allergy who eventually no longer have it. So I’m holding out hope!
From a post on the Facebook support forums, I learned that LabCorp offers this test, Alpha-Gal Panel, although it does require a doctor’s order. There are actually two tests. One is only the alpha-gal IgE level, while the other (the panel) is the IgE number as well as the breakdown for beef, pork, lamb. I recommend the panel, but it does cost a bit more. Costs will vary depending on your insurance. There’s information on specific costs in the posting, but it’s not terribly expensive. I believe you can get this test done at other places as well, just so long as they send the bloodwork to Viracor, as that is the only place that does the testing, at least to my knowledge.
The test measures your IgE antibody response to galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal), on a scale of 0-100 kU/ml. Last year, my results were 1.73, and this year they were 12.60. I’m a little saddened but not surprised. Although I try to reduce mammalian meat and by-products from my life, I have made mistakes. I know this because I have had a few reactions throughout the year, as I learn about things like hidden ingredients and cross-contamination. My reactions have not been anaphylactic, more like hives/welts, or increased heart rate, or swelling/redness.
I have heard that the number doesn’t matter. That is if you’re positive, greater than 0.35, then you have the allergy, and there are no levels of severity, per se. There are some who suggest that the higher the number, the worse the condition, as the chart on this page suggests. While there are even others who suggest that it’s the symptoms themselves that determine whether someone should be diagnosed with this allergy. This surprising bit of information comes from Dr. Scott Commins himself in this podcast. Dr. Commins and Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills are early pioneers in discovering this allergy.
While my test results were not ideal, I expected that would be the case. I will do my best for the next year and get tested again, remaining hopeful that I can overcome this allergy. Meanwhile, I’ll keep eating chicken.