The Two Faces of Nickel

Photo Credit: Miranda Cook via Flickr, with permission.

Due to many debates that have been circling around and the controversial topic of the nickel allergy. I thought it would be best to play devil’s advocate for this Halloween season. If all of you know or don’t, well you will soon find out. I am Nickely Challenged or have a nickel allergy in simpler terms.  I am a blogger just like Christy and was honored to do a guest blog post for her. I have been struggling with the nickel allergy for nearly 5 years but had it since I was 12 and was undiagnosed. In my journey of trying to navigate my college life as nickel free as possible, I dedicated my research project to this allergy. I even did my capstone on nickel and why it is prevalent. So as I far ado, here are The Two Faces of Nickel. Have a seat and a cup of water, well, bottled water. It might be a crazy ride.

If you have a nickel allergy, you are far too familiar with the rashes and other random symptoms that make you well, feel like you’re living the itchy life. But you might have overlooked the benefits of nickel in your daily life. Well, trust me the FDA definitely overlooked it too. Can we petition that the nickel count needs to be added in food just like other metal nutrients (i.e. copper, iron or zinc)?  Who’s with me?

Got that bottle of water? Good!


Nickel in its silvery powdery silhouette is actually good for you. What? Yes! You heard it right.

Nickel is a trace mineral whose actual nutritional value to the human body wasn’t recognized until the 1970’s. This is most likely due to the fact that a person’s body requires very little of this mineral in order to reap the benefits it provides. (Food Pyramid

Think of nickel as your city’s bus driver. It helps other passengers (Vitamins, Other Trace Minerals, etc) get about and around and makes sure that everyone is going where they’re supposed to. (Bone Blast)

The nutritional value that is associated with nickel is quite expansive considering the small amounts of the mineral required on a daily basis. It is estimated that Americans consume approximately 170 mcg of nickel in every 24-hour period of time. (Food Pyramid)

Nutritional Value

Nickel plays a major role in helping the body absorb the iron it needs. Additionally, nickel helps prevent conditions such as anemia helps towards building strong skeletal frames by strengthening bones. (Food Pyramid)

Nickel is also present in DNA and RNA which means it is found in every cell of the human body. It assists in breaking down glucose, helps in creating energy for daily use and even contributes to the production of certain enzymes that initiate important chemical reactions such as the development of nucleic acids. (Food Pyramid)

Ladies, some studies have shown that nickel aids greatly in breast milk production. So that is something definitely that you should keep in mind especially if you are pregnant or planning to be. (Bone Blast) 

What happens when someone has a Nickel deficiency?

Nickel deficiencies are rare, but when they do occur, they can be extremely serious. Those with a higher risk of developing a nickel deficiency are people who are suffering from kidney problems, cirrhosis of the liver or have a vitamin B6 deficiency. Symptoms of a nickel deficiency can range from urinary tract infections to severe allergic reactions, most often seen in the form of skin rashes. In very severe cases, those that suffer from a nickel deficiency may experience paralysis alongside inflammation of the liver and lungs. (Food Pyramid)

Excessive supplements and symptoms

Nickel can play a very important role in nutrition, but too much nickel can have severe side effects. High nickel levels that become toxic often result in allergic reactions, digestion problems, high red blood cell counts, kidney failure and potentially, lung cancer. For these reasons, it’s very important to incorporate a healthy and balanced diet into a daily routine. High nickel levels can be avoided through the elimination of nickel-containing jewelry as well. Individuals who suffer from nickel allergies need to be particularly careful to avoid foods that are nickel-rich. (Food Pyramid)

According to Bone Blast, they said, “You might say that Nickel can be easily classified as an unsung hero and you know what, that’s just the way it likes it.” At this point nickel, is starting to act like an unwanted step child. For what reason do you need to be in me when I have a nickel allergy and then demand to be refilled or I might go deficient. Like what, where they do that at?


This brings me to the sad truth, we Nickely Challenged face, our nickel allergy.

Click to tweet *It’s all fun and games until you have a nickel allergy*

Because we ended up trying to figure out what low nickel diet to actually use. When there are too many discrepancies to even count. That’s why I emphasize the FDA start putting the nickel count in food so we know how much we get in a daily basis.

So nickel is good and bad for you? Yep, that is right! I said it! It’s all a contradiction. Even with a nickel allergy, we all need nickel. That is why vitamins are very important because with minimizing nickel, you end up not making your body work the way it needs too.

But for the bad, I will highlight that a nickel allergy isn’t a cosmetic allergy. It doesn’t only causes rashes, eczema, dermatitis, or little angry bumps. It’s more than that. Cause nickel is everywhere. It’s in everything even our earth’s core and that roach you battled last night. We cannot get away from it and we wouldn’t want to. It actually facilitates the U.S. economy but that is another topic for another day. If there was no Nickel in this world we would all be dead, well mostly likely.

Aside from the rashes you can also have Systematic Nickel Allergy Syndrome (SNAS).

The presence of nickel in the diet (mainly plant foods) in some nickel-sensitive subjects can provoke/aggravate eczema and systemic contact dermatitis as well as cause extra-cutaneous symptoms (respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological). (ncbi 2014) What? Neurological?

These symptoms, correlated to the ingestion of nickel-containing foods and beverages, in nickel patch test positive individuals, defines the so called Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome (SNAS), a condition successfully treated by oral desensitization.(ncbi 2014)

Symptoms – (ncbi 2011)

I appreciate NCBI for doing the research and getting data to affirm most nickel allergy sufferers. I have experienced gastrointestinal symptoms, chronic fatigue syndrome, headaches, recurrent infections, respiratory disorders and to top it off anaphylaxis.

In all, here is a Happy Halloween to my fellow nickel allergy victims and hope this was more informative than scary because knowledge is power. And what is more powerful than social media? Nothing! So share, comment let this be known because we cannot be mad at people who don’t know about this allergy.

So till next time, I will be blogging over at Nickely Challenged but it was nice introducing myself to Christy’s nickel allergy family.