Metal Allergy Newsletter: New Year New Approach
2020 is finally coming to an end. What a year! I hope this newsletter finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. There has been so much grief and loss around the world and as much as I want to jump into 2021 and make it an incredible year, I'm going to take a different approach. Instead of trying to crush goals and return to normal I am going to prioritize self-care. I'm not talking about spa days and massages, although that does sound lovely. I'm talking about basic self-care that is hopefully embedded into our daily life. This month I dissected a research article that discusses the relationship between overweight females and a nickel allergy. There are a lot of limitations to this study so take it with a grain of salt. In preparation for this newsletter I did a small literature review on diets for weight loss and surprisingly I found a lot of evidence that diets don't work. Most people gain back all the weight, and sometimes more, 5 years after starting a diet. Although I wish there was a magic bullet for weight loss, this doesn't exist. Below I share 10 principles to my favorite approach to eating and some essential self-care tips that work well for me. Happy New Year!
High Prevalence of Nickel Allergy in an Overweight Female Population: A Pilot Observational Analysis (2015)
Lusi, E. A., Di Ciommo, V. M., Pastrissi, T., & Guarascio, P.
Nickel is a natural element in the earth’s crust and small amounts are found in water, food and soil. Nickel is mostly found in plant food rather than animal products. Nickel is the most common contact allergy in the adult and pediatric population. Systemic nickel allergy syndrome is known as a nickel allergy that results in skin symptoms and systemic manifestations. Systemic symptoms can include headache, asthenia (lack of energy), itching, and GI disorders.
This study evaluates the prevalence of nickel allergy in overweight individuals and the effectiveness of a low nickel diet in reducing BMI. 87 subjects were enrolled with a high BMI. The researchers performed patch testing for a nickel allergy and obtained the participants height, weight, BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, liver panels, fasting glucose, insulin, total cholesterol & triglycerides. They diagnosed individuals who met the criteria for metabolic syndrome, fatty liver and insulin resistance.
A balanced, normocaloric, low nickel diet was prescribed. Milk, eggs, meat, fish, refined flour, low nickel fruits and veggies were allowed. Legumes, soy, wholegrain products, tomatoes and some vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, onions, spinach, lettuce) were restricted.
This study showed a higher prevalence of nickel allergy in overweight individuals when compared to the general population. 59.7% of women in the study population were allergic to nickel compared to general population 12.5%. 13.3% of males in the study population were found to have a nickel allergy compared to 2% in the general population.
After 6 months on a low nickel diet, of the 43 women in the study only 24 were still following the diet. The subjects reduced their BMI and waist circumference, and the reduction was maintained at the 6-month follow up.
The researchers discuss obesity as a chronic inflammatory state and how it relates to pro inflammatory cytokine IL-17 which plays a role in obese humans, nickel-specific T lymphocytes and menopausal women. They state that a diet high in nickel may “increase the level of inflammation in allergic women during menopause.” The researchers go on to speculate that young women are likely to develop eczema and GI abnormalities in response to a high nickel diet whereas menopausal women will most likely gain weight and develop metabolic abnormalities.
As stated by the researchers, “the results of this pilot analysis are definitely preliminary and must be interpreted with caution.” Some limitations of this study are the lack of a control group and small sample size.
Reject the Diet Mentality
Honor Your Hunger
Make Peace with Food
Challenge the Food Police
Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Feel Your Fullness
Cope with Your Emotions with Kindness
Respect Your Body
Movement - Feel the Difference
Honor Your Health - Gentle Nutrition
These principles are from the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch. I highly recommend this book if you are struggling with food. This book brought me so much peace when I was having a hard time adapting to a low nickel diet and letting go of the 'healthy' high nickel foods.
I'm a big believer in incorporating healthy habits into our daily routine. If you struggle with forming long-lasting habits I recommend the book Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Exercise/Movement - it is so helpful with managing anxiety and depression.
Sleep - aim for 7-9 hours a day. Don't forget that naps count! I LOVE a good nap.
Eat well - stick with a low nickel diet. Feeling unwell and itchy is a mood killer.
Journal - it's great for processing emotions and keeping track of what you eat if you are struggling with reactions.
Mindfulness practice - this has been a game changer for me. I sit for 15-20 min daily-ish. I recommend 10 percent happier or headspace app for beginners.