• Kristina David

RESEARCH ALERT

Updated: Jan 21, 2020

This is one of my favorite research articles written about systemic nickel allergy syndrome in 2016. Low Nickel Diet: A Patient – Centered Review written by Bergman, D., Goldenberg A, Rundle, C. and Sharon Eyes Jacob.

Keep reading for some of the highlights…


The article estimates that 19.5% of adults and 25.6% of children have allergic contact dermatitis to nickel. The exact prevalence in the general population is unknown; however, sensitization rates are still on the rise.

The rate of people with a nickel allergy who have systemic nickel allergy syndrome (#SNAS), is largely unknown. Once recent study found that SNAS was identified in 6% of individuals allergic to nickel. Most likely SNAS is under-identified in the #dermatitis population.

SNAS involves more than skin rashes and some people present without any skin reactions. Other symptoms associated with SNAS include heartburn, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, abdominal distension, rhinitis, asthma, headache, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthralgia, fibromyalgia, hives and fever.

A review of a retrospective case series showed out of 339 patients, simple avoidance of contact with nickel resulted in 15% recovery rate whereas 80% of the patients who combined avoidance of contact plus the low nickel diet had a complete or nearly complete recovery of skin symptoms.

It also mentions that patients exploring healthier diets are more at risk to develop SNAS since the food associated with those diets are rich in nickel.

A point-based low nickel diet is discussed as a way to easily identify and keep nickel consumption around the recommenced 150mcg/day. For more information on the point-based system you can download the Nickel Navigator app.

A low nickel diet should be followed for 1-3 months before determining efficacy. Other factors to consider while you are starting a low nickel diet is kitchenware.

Finally, the article addresses the need for further research as well as provider and patient education. Many patients are unaware that dietary nickel may play a role in their symptoms.

Stay tuned for more blogs featuring research articles.

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