The Liebell Clinic: Chronic Pain
& Wellness Solutions
Donald K. Liebell, D.C., B.C.A.O
477 Viking Drive Suite 170
Virginia Beach VA 23452
8:30AM - 6:30PM M,W,F,
(and by Special Appointment)
“Various allergies, including those to environmental allergens, additives, and food may be adequately addressed through the auricular (ear) acupuncture microsystem..."
Nader Soliman, M.D.
President, American Academy of
Medical Acupunture (2003-2005)
President, Alternative Medicine Seminars
Developer of Soliman Auricular Allergy Treatment (SAAT)
- Presented at the 2013 American
Academy of Medical Acupuncture
25th Annual Symposium
Can We Solve
the Red Meat
Allergy Treatment Mystery?
Has An Effective Treatment Been Overlooked?
By Dr. Donald Liebell
Alpha-gal syndrome is the development of allergy to red meat, including beef, pork, lamb, venison, and other animal sources. For severe sufferers, merely inhaling the scent of bacon cooking in the kitchen can fire up devastating misery. Thousands of Americans are now reported to be stricken with this mysterious allergy, which has taken medical researchers more than a decade to connect the dots.
But one thing is now certain…
It begins with a tick bite.
Alpha-gal allergy has been discovered to be an allergy triggered by the bite of the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum). This causes a bizarre change in the victim’s immune system. Not everybody who is bitten by a tick develops an allergy to red meat. However, those who do may take up to 3 months before noticing that eating meat has become a problem.
For some, a trip to the emergency room is their first clue!
Millions of people likely have no idea that they feel lousy due to this allergy, or that a tick bite had anything to do with it. Massive numbers of people suffer chronic ailments triggered by ticks and other bugs, but don’t even know they were bitten. Those who have noticeable skin reactions after getting bug bites tend to be more aware.
Symptoms of Meat Allergy
Like many food allergies, runny nose, nausea, hives, headaches, breathing difficulties, diarrhea, and indigestion are common symptoms. Severe or life-threatening anaphylactic reactions are not unusual, and deaths have been documented.
How Was Alpha-gal Meat Allergy Discovered?
In 1987, Dr. Sheryl van Nunen of Australia documented numerous cases of meat allergy correlated with tick bite. Her research findings were not reported until 2006 and finally published in 2009. There have been more cases documented in Australia than anywhere else in the world.
The alpha-gal allergy (also known as mammalian meat allergy) was not recognized in the United States prior to 2006. Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills of the University of Virginia began investigating alpha-gal allergy... but not initially in consideration of tick bites. He was studying allergic reactions to a cancer drug called cetuximab, which was put on the market in 2004. During early drug trials, some cancer patients had allergic reactions, some very severe—landing them in the hospital. The drug contains a protein obtained from mice… but it also has alpha-gal molecules!
It had been known to science that alpha-gal could trigger bad immune system reactions; it would prevent organ transplants from animals to humans. Coincidentally, Dr. Platts-Mills’ insights into the tick component came about when he developed the allergy after hiking. Alpha-gal researchers say there is still much to learn regarding the mechanisms triggering the meat allergy.
Research suggests that lone star ticks have alpha-gal molecules in their gut or saliva, which they get from feeding on other mammals. They inject alpha-gal into the bloodstream of humans with their bite. This triggers an excessive production of antibodies called IgE (immunoglobulin E).
Lone star ticks spread the disease Rocky Mountain spotted fever. However, it does not appear that tick-borne infection (including Lyme disease) triggers the meat allergy; it may be an unfortunate, but coincidental consequence.
In addition to lone star tick bites, one could certainly become infected by bites from ticks carrying Lyme disease-causing bacteria, as well as numerous other bacteria, single-celled parasites, fungi, and viruses.
Cases of alpha-gal allergy have been now documented throughout the world. The lone star tick is spread by birds, rodents, deer and other animals. Birds drop the ticks wherever they may fly. Lone star ticks are very hardy; they can thrive in many environments. The map from the Centers for Disease Control depicts that lone star tick’s southeastern geographic distribution is massive! There is no disputing their presence, as is the case with blacklegged ticks associated with Lyme disease.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Alpha-gal Allergy?
Unfortunately, tick bite victims often do not know they have been bitten or see the tick that was the culprit. Only some people develop rashes from tick bites.
Diagnosis alpha-gal allergy is greatly driven by patients telling their doctor that they have suddenly developed of allergy to red meat. The patient typically reports never having had a problem throughout his or her life.
A blood test can detect and measure alpha-gal antibodies in your blood. However, like many other blood tests, it does not provide absolute proof; it is a good screening test. Oddly, a person can show a positive blood test, but not have the meat allergy. This is not isolated to alpha-gal testing; it is commonly the case with testing for many allergies. Skin allergy tests can also be performed by an allergist. The doctor pierces the skin and exposes it to extracts of red meat. A hive (a raised bump) will develop at the spot tested if the alpha-gal allergy exists.
Alpha-gal allergy tends to be different from other allergies
There are several key characteristics that give clues for diagnosing alpha-gal syndrome:
It typically takes alpha-gal allergy sufferers between 2-8 hours after eating red meat to begin suffering symptoms. In contrast, allergic reactions to most foods such as peanuts, gluten, or shellfish, typically start rapidly or immediately upon exposure.
Those who have alpha-gal allergy do not necessarily have reactions every time they eat meat…
Oddly, all types of red meat do not necessarily pose a problem (it can be different for each person). Alpha-gal allergic reactions may only happen if the person eats a large enough quantity of meat. Food allergies are typically triggered by proteins… but alpha-gal is a sugar.
Why is This Important?
Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, or alpha gal, for short, is a normal carbohydrate sugar component of the cell walls of most mammals. Mammals are animals that have fur or hair and produce milk to nourish their young.
The alpha-gal sugar does not exist in the cells of humans, apes, and around 80 species of African and Asian monkeys. That is why the injection of the sugar by lone star tick into our bloodstreams can launch the development of the meat allergy. Animals that already have tons of alpha-gal in their cells do not have any problem when a miniscule amount of it gets served up by a tick into their bloodstream.
People are not so lucky!
Antigens and Antibodies
We call a foreign substance that invades and irritates the body an antigen. Your body’s defense system, the immune system “recognizes” that specific proteins from harmful viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, etc. (pathogens) are not human cells. The immune system develops antibodies, which are specialized proteins that provide the “memory” for the body to signal a defense, should future exposure of the germs take place.
That’s what immunity is all about!
However, with allergies, your immune system responds to something that it would normally be accustomed to as if it is foreign or harmful. When a person who suffers from the alpha-gal allergy eats meat, it “sounds the alarm” to the immune system to fight a harmful invader. The body releases histamine and other chemicals as a protective mechanism. However, this can result in some terrible symptoms, and in some cases, it can be life-threatening! Some people react to traces of alpha-gal in dairy products or medications containing gelatin. For others alpha-gal results in allergy to wool.
“Why are red meat allergy sufferers able to eat seafood, chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs?”
It’s simple: these other non-mammal protein sources do not contain the alpha-gal sugar.
How are doctors currently treating alpha-gal allergy?
An Internet search for alpha-gal allergy produces a wealth of articles and medical research papers describing its discovery, science, and history behind it.
However, what you will NOT see is any substantial or reliable treatment for it—even from some of the most prestigious medical institutions.
No allergy shots or medications are available. There is no vaccination either; alpha-gal is not from infection.
Elimination of meat from one’s diet and avoiding the bite of lone star ticks is the conventional wisdom for its management. For those who suffer life-threatening severe allergic reaction to meat, an EpiPen is the treatment. Many allergy sufferers carry these, which are emergency medicine devices for the self-injection of epinephrine into the thigh.
Some people might have the allergy gradually fade away within a few years, provided they avoid meat and they don’t get bitten by ticks again (which can be very difficult to prevent!). Others may be able to develop tolerance by gradually reintroducing meat to the diet in tiny doses.
Medical research currently is focused on the risks of developing the meat allergy. The connections between tick bite and alpha-gal immune system changes have been studied for over 10 years. The correlation between rising tick populations and meat allergies is the subject of interest. Genetic susceptibility, including aspects of blood type are also being investigated.
Has an effective treatment been overlooked?
Yes… and I have been providing it for years!
Here’s what it’s all about:
Since 2008, I have been providing natural and holistic support for people suffering chronic effects of tick-borne infection.
Most of those patients developed allergies (not only to red meat) they didn’t have prior to tick bites.
I have successfully enabled them to overcome them (including alpha-gal)
I have seen patients overcome allergies using an extraordinary method called Soliman’s Auricular Allergy Treatment (SAAT). It is a patent-pending acupuncture method invented by the doctor who trained me, Nader Soliman, MD.
SAAT has been documented in a published medical study to eliminate many allergies within 3 weeks of a single treatment. He presented his successful results with nearly 2,000 cases of allergies (over a 10-year period) at the 2013 symposium of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, a national organization of physician-acupuncturists.
The treatment involves the virtually painless insertion of a tiny (3mm) hair-thin sterilized stainless-steel acupuncture needle into the skin of the outer ear. The ear has complex neurological, embryological, and electromagnetic connections to the brain, which make it possible to treat many problems. This phenomenon has long been medically-accepted by the World Health Organization.
For allergy treatment, we conduct examination with instruments to locate a single pinpoint spot within a large area of the ear that correlates with the liver. Its location varies patient-to-patient. The tiny sliver of steel is covered with a small piece of surgical tape, which protects and secures it to maintain stimulation for 3 weeks. Clinical results demonstrate that this triggers the body such that the allergy goes away itself, naturally.
Why did it take so long for me to pay closer attention to alpha-gal allergy?
Although I have had the privilege of seeing patients eliminate numerous types of allergies… I was unaware that red meat allergy was anything special, strange, or unusual. To me, it has been just one of countless food and environmental allergies I have had the pleasure of helping my patients eliminate through the ear acupuncture method I use.
Recently, there has been significant media attention to meat allergy and the discovery that it was triggered by the alpha-gal sugar transmitted by the lone star tick. I’ve read numerous fascinating and informative articles, interviews, and research papers on alpha-gal allergy. It became crystal clear that I must coordinate and document my existing clinical procedures using pre and post-treatment testing, as well as other necessary scientific research protocols.
Although my patients and I need no further proof that alpha-gal allergy can go away; red meat allergy treatment must be advanced beyond the walls of my office! We need medically-published scientific data to best help people, worldwide.
It is time for action!
Now that I am aware that scientists have figured out that red meat allergy is triggered by the bite of the lone star tick, I am pursuing the alpha-gal university medical researchers—inviting them to collaborate with me in large-scale clinical trials. We must prove and publish the results by treating and meticulously documenting numerous cases.
Here’s why it must be done:
I am not naïve; I suspect that to most, the treatment sounds too good to be true.
That’s a shame.
But it changes nothing.
For decades, ear acupuncture (auricular therapy) has been an internationally-recognized proven treatment method—acknowledged by the World Health Organization and its benefits documented through decades of medical research. The treatment for red meat allergy I’ve been doing is one of many marvelous applications of auricular therapy.
Doctors must read medical journals on their own to learn about non-pharmaceutical treatment methods; few are taught in medical schools. A simple search for auricular therapy research studies produces some very impressive results. It was introduced in 1957 by award-winning French neurologist, Paul Nogier, MD (1908-1996).
Both patients and doctors who have experienced it have all the proof they need that it works. But sadly, too few people know that it exists… or that it could help them.
Alpha-gal red meat allergy help is available right now…
I’ve been providing it for years!
I challenge anybody to come up with a single good reason why an alpha-gal allergy sufferer should not to pursue treatment.
One visit for treatment is all that should be needed.
A follow-up evaluation in person, or by phone consultation to discuss and document the results is helpful. Before and after blood tests for alpha-gal allergy are optional, but desired.
If you or anybody you know suffers from the alpha-gal red meat allergy… take the opportunity right away to not only help yourself, but to likely help thousands of others through my case study documentation.
I invite all sufferers of this dreaded allergy to pursue my treatment by calling my office at (757) 631-9799.
My staff will answer your questions and give details of the amazing, safe, easy, and inexpensive treatment process.
- Dr. Donald Liebell
Steinke JW, Platts-Mills TA, Commins SP. The alpha-gal story: lessons learned from connecting the dots. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015;135(3):589-96; quiz 597.
Commins SP, Platts-Mills TA. Delayed anaphylaxis to red meat in patients with IgE specific for galactose alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal). Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2013;13(1):72-7.
Soliman, N. A Comparison Study of the Effectiveness of SAAT (Soliman’s Auricular Allergy Treatment) Approach and Nogier’s Allergy Treatment Technique. Medical Acupuncture, Volume 26, Number 3, 2014
Stone CA, Commins SP, Choudhary S, et al. Anaphylaxis after vaccination in a pediatric patient: further implicating alpha-gal allergy. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice. 2019
Commins SP. Invited Commentary: Alpha-Gal Allergy: Tip of the Iceberg to a Pivotal Immune Response. Current allergy and asthma reports. 2016;16:61.
Uyttebroek A, MD, Sabato V, MD, Bridts CH, MSc, De Clerck, L.S., MD, PhD, Ebo, D.G., MD, PhD. Anaphylaxis to succinylated gelatin in a patient with a meat allergy: galactose-α(1, 3)-galactose (α-gal) as antigenic determinant. Journal of Clinical Anesthesia. 2014;26:574-576.
Flaherty MG, Kaplan SJ, Jerath MR. Diagnosis of Life-Threatening Alpha-Gal Food Allergy Appears to Be Patient Driven. Journal of Primary Care & Community Health. 2017;8:345-348.
Pinion AK, DO, Gierer SA, DO. A Novel Description of Polyarthralgia with Alpha-Gal Allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, The. 2015;135:AB253-AB253.
Commins SP, Jerath MR, Cox K, Erickson LD, Platts-Mills T. Delayed anaphylaxis to alpha-gal, an oligosaccharide in mammalian meat. Allergology International. 2016;65:16-20.
Click Below to Read a Summary of the
Medical Journal Paper:
"We're not specifically treating allergies, but are helping PEOPLE who have allergies. By stimulating the 'internal pharmacy'...
"Environmental controls are important whenever you have a situation that is made worse by exposure to certain substances. However, if you want to be able to withstand the assault of these substances, upon exposure, Medical Acupuncture can certainly help you by recalibrating your system so that so that you are comfortable and relatively symptom free.”
Dr. Marshal Sager,
Founding Chair & Member of the American Board of Medical Acupuncture, Chair of the Education Chapter of the International Congress of Medical Acupuncture and Related Technologies, Past President of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture
Dr. Donald Liebell
D.C., B.C.A.O., B.A.
Licensed by the
of Medicine Since 1993
"I find it gratifying to treat seasonal allergies with acupuncture. There is often a quick response. Often patients get some relief during the first visit while lying on the exam table with their acupuncture needles in place"
- Patrick J. LaRiccia, MD
- University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine
No Side Effects...
Just Help for People
Who Suffer the
of Lyme Disease
& Other Tick-Triggered Illness (After All Else Has Failed)
Click Below to Read a Summary of the
Medical Journal Paper:
Copyright 2014-2018© Dr. Donald Liebell. All rights reserved.
The information and statements contained in this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The contents of this website are for informational purposes only are is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Your reliance on any information provided by Dr. Liebell’s website, any referenced parties is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice or treatment, because of information contained in this website. This website expresses Dr. Liebell's health care views, and describes wellness-based, natural treatment methods, and must not be misconstrued as direct treatment advice—it is information only. Dr. Liebell does NOT treat infectious disease, nor does he claim to have a cure for "post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome" or chronic Lyme disease; he provides natural, drug-free, wellness-promoting treatments from which patients have cited recovery.