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Nickel Toxicity


Nickel (Ni)

Urinary excretion of nickel bound to cysteinyl or thiol compounds (such as glutathione) or to amino acids (histidine, aspartic acid, arginine) is the predominant mode of excretion. With the exception of specific occupational exposures, most absorbed nickel comes from food or drink, and intakes can vary by factors exceeding 100 depending upon geographical location, food type, and water supply.

Depending upon chemical form and physiological factors, from 1 to 10% of dietary nickel may be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into the blood. Urine reflects recent exposure to nickel and may vary widely in nickel content from day to day due to the above factors. Sources of nickel are numerous and include the following.

- Cigarettes (2 to 6 mcg Nickel per average cigarette)

- Diesel exhaust (particulates may contain up to 10 mg/gram Nickel)

- Foods, especially: cocoa, chocolate, soya products, nuts, and hydrogenated oils

- Nickel-cadmium batteries

- Nonprecious, semiprecious dental materials

- Nickel-containing prostheses

- Electroplating, plated objects, costume jewelry

- Pigments (usually for ceramics or glass)

- Catalyst materials (for hydrogenation processes in the food, petroleum and petrochemical industries)

- Arc welding

- Nickel refining and metallurgical processes

Most clinically observed nickel contaminations are manifested as dermatoses – contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis. However, Nickel hypersensitizes the immune system causing hyper allergenic responses to many different substances. Because Nickel can displace zinc from binding sites on enzymes, it can have inhibiting or activating effects on such enzymes. Nickel sensitivity is observed to be three to five times more frequent in women than in men. Other laboratory tests or clinical findings that would be indicative of Nickel excess are; hair element analysis, presentation of multiple allergic sensitivities, dermatitis, positive patch test for "Ni allergy", proteinuria, hyper aminoaciduria (by 24-hour urine amino acid analysis). Detoxification treatments with administration of EDTA or sulfhydryl agents (DMPS, DMSA, D-penicillamine) may increase urine nickel levels depending upon: body burden and mobility in tissues, duration of treatment, dosage and other factors. If you suspect that you have an elevated Nickel level, it is important to determine total body load, not just a blood level. Here at Chelation Medical Center we can do a IV chelation provoked challenge, with a urine collection which will show your total body load of Nickel, as well as other heavy metals. Just give us a call.

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