Metal Allergy Newsletter: Raising Awareness One Person at a Time
My name is Kristina David. I am a registered nurse and health coach based in South Florida. Like many of you, I had a hard time finding a proper diagnosis and treatment for my health issues. Finding the low nickel diet was life changing! As a healthcare professional I have been baffled by how little is known about systemic metal allergies and I'm on a mission to raise awareness! My goal is to build a community, help others self-advocate, spread science-based information, share tips, recipes and more.
Nickel Allergy Terms to Know
allergic contact dermatitis (ACD): is a type of dermatitis triggered by an allergen that has come in contact with the skin. ACD is a type IV hypersensitivity, the reactions are delayed and mediated by T cells. ACD to nickel is the most common contact allergy worldwide.
systemic contact dermatitis to nickel (SCDN): is a subset of ACD. People who have SCDN will experience a flare in rashes from exposures to nickel by various routes, such as eating foods high in nickel.
systemic nickel allergy syndrome (SNAS): complex disease with greater immune involvement (Th1 & Th2 cytokine pattern). Most people have skin symptoms plus involvement of other organs, most commonly the GI system; however, some people don't present with a rash.
Recipe of the Week: Quinoa Salad
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 bell peppers chopped
1 cucumber chopped
2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped (optional)
juice of 1 lemon
salt & adobo seasoning (if tolerated)
Nickel Hypersensitivity: A General Review on Clinical Aspects and Potential Co-Morbidities (2016) Caloguiri GF., Bonamonte D., Foti C., & Al-Sowaidi S.
The researchers talk about different types of skin conditions found in individuals with a nickel allergy such as urticaria, flexural eczema, pompholyx and lichen lesions. Other symptoms associated with SNAS are reviewed, such as asthma, GI symptoms, rhinitis and burning mouth syndrome.
The rate of SNAS in 2006 was thought to be 1% of the nickel allergic population after a meta-analysis; however, in 2011, Italian researchers found it to be almost 6%.
Five patterns of sensitization are outlined (physical contact, respiratory exposure, ingestion, endogenous exposures from medical devices and an overlap of the 4). The dangers of having a medical device implanted is discussed.
They note associated autoimmune and inflammatory disorders such as obesity, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, autoimmune thyroiditis. It’s unclear if these are co-morbidities or aspects of SNAS.
In conclusion, people with a nickel allergy present differently and there could be various types of SNAS linked to an individual's environmental exposure to different sources of nickel.