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Can a diet adjustment mitigate symptoms related to nickel allergy?

Some supplements and foods may contain trace amounts of nickel.

Individuals with known nickel allergies know how common the metal is and how challenging it is to avoid products containing the metal. The metal be even more common than originally thought though, as some have began suffering from nickel allergy symptoms after ingesting foods or vitamins that are high in nickel.

Metal allergies are fairly common in the United States, with nickel being the most common irritant – about one in 10 people have some form of an allergy to it. Symptoms generally manifest themselves in the form of a red, scaly rash on the skin, usually when it has been exposed directly to jewelry containing the metal.

Although different members of the medical community are not in agreement, a growing number of doctors think that some nickel allergy symptoms could be attributable to high levels of the metal in certain foods.

For that reason, Ohio State University's Dr. Matthew Zirwas has began prescribing patients who display nickel allergy symptoms an order to avoid foods and supplements that are high in nickel. Many of his patients have reported their symptoms diminishing in the weeks after they altered their diet.

"Many of the things that have become popular as healthy foods lately happen to be high in nickel – oatmeal, whole grains and legumes," Zirwas told Columbus' NBC affiliate.

If an individual believes he or she has an allergy to nickel, or if they have already been confirmed to have such an allergy, the best remedy may be to reevaluate the foods that are consumed regularly. Complete avoidance of these foods may not be necessary, but consumers should adjust their diets on a trial-and-error basis to determine a safe amount of these foods.

If symptoms persist, allergy sufferers may need to see a doctor who can conduct a skin patch test to determine what the cause of the allergy is.

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