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  • Writer's pictureKristina David

Metal Allergy Newsletter: Iron & a Nickel Allergy

This week's article discusses a molecule, the divalent metal transporter (DMT). This is the second article I've read that discusses this theory that the DMT prioritizes certain essential metals, such as iron and zinc, before nickel. Just like supplementing with Vitamin C at the start of a meal helps to decrease the amount of nickel absorbed, these articles suggest that supplementing with iron and zinc may help people absorb less nickel from our diet. I would love to see more research dedicated to this topic. As always, discuss any supplementation protocols with your doctor. Unfortunately, a lot of supplements can be contaminated with nickel so we need to be careful. I only took Vitamin C and a probiotic while I cleared my rashes in the beginning of my journey on a low nickel diet.


Iron Therapy in Hand Eczema: A New Approach for Management (2011) by Ashimav Deb Sharma

This article begins by discussing how complex the low nickel diet is due to the variations of nickel content in food. This makes drafting a set diet very difficult.

It has been observed that eating a diet rich in iron can limit the absorption of nickel. This is due to iron’s interaction with an important molecule that is used to transport metals into the general circulation. The name of this molecule is divalent metal transporter (DMT) and it plays a key role in how our bodies absorb metals.

DMT has an order of preference, meaning it prioritizes certain metals over others. (Iron, then Zinc, Manganese, Cobalt, Copper..Nickel etc..) However, higher concentration of any metals can interfere with this order. Also, if someone is iron deficient, they can have more DMT molecules which can transport nickel and other metals into the general circulation more readily, especially if iron is lacking from the diet.

Sharma conducted a small study of 23 people, anemic patients were excluded, all participants had normal iron stores. The researchers wanted to look at the effects of oral iron on individuals with chronic hand eczema due to a nickel allergy.

The study group had 12 people and the control group had 11. Both groups were instructed to follow the same low nickel diet for 12 weeks. In addition to the diet, the study group was instructed to take oral iron, 15mg twice a day (with lunch and dinner) for 12 weeks.

Results for the study group (low nickel diet + oral iron supplementation): at the end of 12 weeks 10 patients (83%) had complete clearance of hand eczema. Only 2 people continued to suffer from mild recurrence.

Results for the control group (low nickel diet only): at the end of 12 weeks 5 patients (45%) cleared their rash completely. Most of the remaining saw improvements but continued to suffer from recurrence.


1. Know your iron status. You can request iron studies (blood test) from your general practitioner. It is possible to have a normal blood count and be iron deficient.

2.    Eat a diet rich in iron to help decrease the absorption of nickel.

3.    If you are interested in supplementing with oral iron, discuss with your doctor and have your iron levels monitored. Iron toxicity can occur with supplementing and supplements can be contaminated with nickel so beware.

Recipe of the Week: Perfectly Seared Grass-Fed Sirloin Steak

what you need:

·      butter or oil

·      nice cut of sirloin

·      cast iron pan

·      salt 


1. Heat butter or oil in cast iron pan over medium/high heat and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Season steak with salt.

3. Sear grass fed sirloin on each side for 2 min on med/high heat.

4. Put cast iron pan in 400 degree oven for 8 minutes.

Thank you @quarantine_cooking_low_nickel for the recipe! You can find her on instagram.

If you have a systemic nickel or cobalt allergy and you need more support email me at You can also follow me on instagram @kristinadavidwellness for daily insights.

Here is the pdf version of the METAL ALLERGY NEWSLETTER.

iron and a nickel allergy
Download PDF • 10.99MB

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