Nickel is a metal found in foods at our disposal such as legumes, coffee, cocoa, tea or nuts.
The prevalence of people with a nickel allergy is increasing causing hypersensitivity and allergic reactions.
From this article we will learn how to reduce contact and ingestion of this ubiquitous metal
What is nickel?
Nickel is a hard metal with atomic number 28 on the periodic table.
In addition to being used for industry, electrical engineering, jewelry and medicine, it is part of our food.
The foods are a major source of this essential trace mineral or trace element.
We can also find it in water (with levels so low in drinking water that it is difficult to measure its quantity), tobacco, air and soil.
A trace element or trace element are bioelements that are found in small amounts in the body, being harmful both its excess and its absence.
For the general population, the main source of exposure to this mineral is food.
Among its functions in the human organism we find the following:
- Participates in lipid metabolism.
- Participates in the degradation of urea.
- Increases hormonal activity.
- Increases iron absorption.
- Necessary for the proper functioning of the pancreas.
” Trace elements or trace elements” despite needing small amounts, are necessary for the correct function of living cells in our body since their lack can cause deficiency diseases.
What Foods that contain nickel?
The dietary sources where we find Foods that contain nickel are chocolate , legumes , sweeteners, sweets, spices, vegetables, nuts (walnuts, almonds), chickpeas, beans, shellfish , canned food, dried fruits, bivalve mollusks.
Tuna, herring, salmon and mackerel (they can accumulate a little more of this metal).
The OPSU should avoid excessive consumption of nuts, fruits, dried, cocoa, chocolate (the most nickel content have), bran, prunes, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, baking powder, leek, lettuce, spinach, pineapple , raisins, figs, dates, almonds, clams, lentils, soy protein powder, peanuts especially in sensitive people.
The amount of nickel in food varies from place to place, so it should be studied. There are people who are more sensitive to nickel in food and others only by contact.
If the person is more sensitive to food, those mentioned should be avoided to improve the allergy.
It is difficult to avoid it completely as it is a ubiquitous metal .
The European Union has established that no should exceed the 20 mg / L of nickel in the mineral water.
The EFSA established 2.8 µg / kg body weight as a tolerable intake for this metal although this is very difficult to measure.
The level of exposure is higher in people on vegetarian diets causing some concern.
To emphasize that we maintain the appropriate levels of iron , since these metals are interacted with each other.
If iron levels are low, allergy symptoms increase due to the presence of nickel.
When iron levels are adequate, we will not have as much nickel in our blood.
According to the BOE, the “Commission Recommendation (EU) 2016/1111, of July 6, 2016, on the control of nickel in food.” It recommended that the member states, in conjunction with the food business operators, proceed to control the presence of nickel during the years 2016 to 2018, focusing on the following foods:
All follow-on formulas, infant and child formulas, cereal-based foods, cereals, vegetables, nuts, chocolate and cocoa, dairy, sugar, milk, fruits, vegetables, alcoholic beverages, mushrooms, dried tea leaves, bivalve mollusks.
How can you get a nickel allergy?
The hypersensitivity and allergic reactions to nickel is increasing , affecting more women.
As a consequence, they introduced European regulations to decrease the amount of nickel in everyday products .
Through direct contact and constant use of jewelry and other objects containing this metal, people can become sensitized to nickel, producing a reaction.
It is the most common the dermatitis or contact allergy, commonly in the hands and feet, although it can occur in different parts of the body.
Some people with nickel sensitivity have reactions when they consume this element in water or food.
It should be noted that workers in the metal industry may be exposed to inhaling nickel carbonyl, which is highly toxic (occupational toxicity).
If exposure to this metal is constantly prolonged at the beginning of this sensitivity, it can cause an allergic reaction.
What are the side effects and allergic reactions of nickel?
The most common side effect in people when exposed to this metal is an allergic reaction and contact dermatitis .
Large doses of nickel or constant contact with it, could cause harmful effects , which are teratogenicity (malformations in the fetus), immunotoxicity (affects the immune system), genotoxicity (damage to genetic material) and carcinogenicity (ability to cause cancer ).
Diets with levels of 250µg or higher levels of nickel can lead to gastrointestinal, reproductive, neurological, pulmonary alterations, increased risk of lung and nose cancer.
People without nickel sensitivity should consume a large amount of this trace element before manifesting adverse effects.
Just as its deficiency can cause depressed hematopoiesis and growth retardation.
Guide for patients with nickel allergy
This element is used to harden metal objects.
Nickel is released from the metal when we sweat. Stainless steel does not release nickel so easily.
We can find it in costume jewelery, jewelery (white gold, low-karat gold, sterling silver) button hooks, belt buckles, identification plates, metal eyelets and tabs.
High carat yellow gold, even if it has a low content, is not nickel-free.
If you have a nickel allergy, the skin lesion will continue to appear until you avoid nickel completely.
It is not easy, but it is essential that you can feel better. This requires many steps to follow.
- Remove all unnecessary metal from clothing. Use plastic buttons as well as plastic buckle belts.
- Avoid sitting in shorts on metal chairs or chairs that have metal tabs.
- For those metals you can’t remove like those on the sides of your jeans pockets or on the back of your watch, cover them with two coats of clear nail polish after every wash or every week.
- Tuck the shirt inside the pants avoiding contact with the button or clasp.
- Do not cook acidic foods with stainless steel cookware, as well as avoid stainless steel cookware if possible.
- If you are using braces or performing dental work, avoid piercing your ears.