Hashimoto’s can be exacerbated by or caused by a variety of triggers (or root causes, as I like to call them). The root causes for each person will vary, but in general, they can be grouped into food sensitivities, nutrient depletions, chronic infections, an impaired ability to handle stress, gut issues, and toxins.
While I’ve found that nutritional interventions are helpful for many people, in some cases, we need to dig deeper.
One of the things I really love about my work as a practitioner and thyroid advocate is the power of community. I learn just as much from my readers and clients as you learn from me!
A while back, after I had shared that nuts can sometimes be a trigger for acne, one of my readers wrote in about her experience with nickel hypersensitivity and Hashimoto’s.
I have celiac and Hashimoto’s, and had skin breakouts with nuts and some other foods. It turned up to be Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome – SNAS. It’s everywhere and particularly in nuts (and other seeds) and chocolate etc. ~Reli”
While I’ve had clients presenting with various types of toxicities, I hadn’t specifically worked with anyone with a nickel allergy. Nonetheless, I wanted to do a bit more research about the connection and offer some guidance and solutions in the case that nickel was a potential root cause for you. While various toxins are found in different places and may present with different symptoms, the general approach to addressing them will be very similar and focused on avoiding exposure to the toxin; and in the case of buildup in the body, removing it from the body. Additionally, in some cases, desensitizing ourselves from the toxin may be possible.
Since that time, one of my team members, who also has Hashimoto’s, recently discovered she has a nickel allergy after previously wearing costume jewelry and dental braces without any issues for many years. As she has been managing it with lifestyle and dietary interventions, she has successfully been eliminating one of her Hashimoto’s symptoms. She never realized, however, that her nickel allergy could also be a root cause of her Hashimoto’s!
Nickel allergy is a common condition, and it has been estimated that about 8.6 percent of people may have it worldwide. It is especially prevalent among young females, as about 17 percent of them have this condition. It’s also quite common in those with Hashimoto’s and may even play a role in the development of thyroid nodules and autoimmune diseases.
Are you unable to wear cheap costume jewelry? Many people informally discover their nickel allergy after reacting to inexpensive jewelry and cope with this realization by simply avoiding nickel-containing accessories. However, many do not know that their chronic contact dermatitis and skin issues could be an allergic reaction to nickel exposure from other sources, including everyday metal items and ingesting certain foods. Are you one of them? I have good news: these symptoms can be reduced with functional medicine interventions!
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- What is nickel and where can it be found?
- What are the symptoms of nickel allergy?
- How to test for a nickel allergy
- The connection between Hashimoto’s and nickel allergy
- Items and foods to avoid… and nickel free solutions!
What is Nickel and Where Can It Be Found?
Nickel is a silver-colored metal that can be found in rocks and soils, and it can form numerous alloys with other metals. Nickel is commonly alloyed with iron to create tough and corrosion-resistant stainless steel.
Unfortunately, it can leach into our bodies from cookware and cooking utensils, especially when the utensils are heated up or when cooking with acidic foods. For this reason, while stainless steel pans have been considered a healthier alternative to toxic Teflon-coated pans, nickel from the stainless steel pans can be problematic for some.
Aside from cookware, there are many other places where nickel can be found. Here’s a list of the most common sources of nickel:
- Food sources: Chocolate, nuts, canned foods, black tea, shellfish, processed meats with fillings or casings, beans, lentils, soy, peas, wheat, oatmeal, buckwheat, seeds, bean sprouts, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, canned vegetables, and hydrogenated oils. (Please note, the nickel content in these foods may vary depending on differences in mineral content in different soils and regions.)
- Everyday Products: Electronic devices including iPhones, jewelry, electrical equipment and household appliances, batteries (Ni-Cd), metal and coins containing nickel, pens, eyewear, credit cards, clothing hardware (bra hooks/straps, zippers, buttons, belts), and lotions (containing shea butter, oats or cocoa butter).
- Medical devices: IUD devices, orthodontic appliances, and dental crowns and bridges.
- Other sources: Vitamins with nickel, tap water, tobacco, and public transit railings.
What is a Nickel Allergy?
As nickel can be found in a countless number of everyday items, it’s not surprising that it is one of the most common causes of metal sensitivities in people.
Nickel allergy, also known as nickel hypersensitivity or Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome (SNAS), results from an adverse immune response to nickel exposure. This can result after the skin comes in direct contact with nickel for a prolonged period of time and enough nickel is absorbed into the body. Hypersensitivity to nickel can develop after brief contact with the metal, or after several years of repeated exposures. Once the immune system identifies nickel as an “intruder”, it may trigger a reaction that may manifest as various symptoms.
Nickel allergies are characterized by contact dermatitis (skin flare ups) after touching nickel and systemic reactions after ingesting nickel-rich foods. These reactions can be delayed rather than immediate and manifest within 24 to 48 hours after contact.
Many women develop this allergy due to ear piercings or wearing a piece of jewelry that contains nickel. The prevalence may also be high in some occupational groups that frequently work with metal. (For example, one study showed that nickel allergies can be found in as many as 27 to 38 percent of hairdressers!)
Researchers believe that once sensitized, the sensitization tends to persist life-long.
Both Hashimoto’s and nickel allergy are considered Type IV hypersensitivity reactions, as a reaction in both conditions can take several days to develop. Interestingly, I’ve discovered that the common reactive foods in Hashimoto’s are also Type IV hypersensitivity reactions. In my experience with foods, Type IV hypersensitivity reactions tend to fuel one another, so I will often see reactive foods flare up Hashimoto’s antibodies and symptoms.
Symptoms of Nickel Allergy
Nickel reactions and symptoms may include increased inflammation as well as contact dermatitis (skin irritation), which can cause severe itching, warm and tender skin, fluid-filled blisters, and dry, discolored, scaly, raw and/or thickened skin.
Symptoms of a nickel allergy can also manifest on the skin as hives or eczema; or internally as headaches, fatigue, and celiac-like gut symptoms. Flares of eczema on the hands after exposure to the metal are not uncommon.
The skin reaction can occur at the site of contact, or sometimes spread beyond to the rest of the body.
In other cases, one may experience a generalized rash around the buttock, anus, genital area, and eyelids, also known as “baboon syndrome”. Not fun!
Perhaps one of the most overlooked symptoms of a nickel allergy is reacting to costume jewelry. Common reactions include experiencing red, itchy or irritated skin on the area that was in contact with nickel, as well as rashes, watery blisters, and hot, burning sensations. In extreme cases, jewelry such as wedding rings may leave the skin beneath it looking “raw” and inflamed.
In rare cases, respiratory problems like runny nose, nasal inflammation, asthma and sneezing may also occur.
How to Test for a Nickel Allergy
When it comes to getting a diagnosis, a patch test is generally the gold standard among conventional doctors. However, this method sometimes results in false positives or fails to detect hypersensitivities.
In 2010, Hybenova and colleagues found that patients with autoimmune thyroiditis and other autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus and atopic eczema, show increased lymphocyte reactivity (where white blood cells increase in size in the presence of an antigen, which could indicate the presence of an infection or an autoimmune condition) in vitro to inorganic nickel (as well as other metals) compared to healthy controls.
As such, delayed reactions and hypersensitivity to nickel can be measured with the commercially available lymphocyte transformation test, LTT-MELISA, which is a whole blood test that measures one’s lymphocyte reactivity upon exposure to metal. According to the current scientific literature, this test can detect hypersensitivity to metals, including nickel.
The Link Between Nickel Allergy and Hashimoto’s
Recently, scientists have suggested that there may be a link between Hashimoto’s and nickel allergy. In 2010, researchers proposed that the treatment of Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune diseases might be improved if exposure to metals like nickel are eliminated and any future exposure is restricted.
Meanwhile, a 2017 study found that thyroid nodules were more likely to be found in those with both autoimmune thyroid disease and a nickel allergy. Further research is needed, but this points us to the idea that addressing nickel toxicity may help those with thyroid disease and thyroid nodules.
As you know, I always recommend removing gluten from your diet as a starting point when starting your journey towards thyroid disease remission. Removing gluten, which is found in wheat, rye and barley, is especially important because there have been correlations found between nickel allergy and non-celiac wheat sensitivity. In one study, patients reporting contact dermatitis related to nickel-containing objects underwent a nickel patch test. The study found that contact dermatitis and nickel allergies were more frequent in non-celiac wheat sensitivity patients than in subjects with functional gastrointestinal disorders, and these patients had a higher chance of experiencing skin-related symptoms after ingesting wheat. The study concluded that nickel allergy should be evaluated in patients who have non-celiac wheat sensitivity and who experience skin manifestations after wheat ingestion.
Other researchers have found potential links between trauma and infections in the cartilage (a common area for nickel-plated jewelry) and autoimmunity.
A 2012 study published in the journal Autoimmune Diseases hypothesized that traumas like punctures in the cartilage, with or without the presence of foreign materials that are often associated with infections, could trigger an autoimmune disorder by having unusual cartilage matrix protein antigens stimulate the immune system. The results of the study also found that patients with previous local trauma experienced a greater systemic autoimmune response shown by the development of antinuclear antibodies and antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies, as well as the following conditions: autoimmune thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, and vasculitis. In other words, ear piercings can trigger immune processes and may contribute to the onset of autoimmune thyroid disease!
My team member with nickel allergy recalls reacting to an inexpensive (but cute) pair of fashion earrings she bought at the mall a few years ago. The earrings, which most likely contained nickel, triggered an infection, and from then on, she was no longer able to wear costume jewelry without her skin turning red or itchy upon contact. She also started experiencing hand eczema after ingesting nickel-rich foods. Interestingly, this started to happen right around the same time her Hashimoto’s symptoms began to appear!
The Conventional Approach to Nickel Allergy
The conventional solution to nickel allergy is simply avoidance of any contact with nickel, for life. This means purging your house of any metals that may contain nickel, like kitchen tools. After all, it’s seen as a condition that is unlikely to improve and persists life-long. Topical corticosteroids are sometimes prescribed to help with acute eczema.
However, I’ve never been one to just accept my fate — I like looking for “unconventional” interventions that address the underlying root cause(s) of a condition with more natural solutions. So, I’d like to share some dietary and lifestyle interventions that can help reduce your reactions and hypersensitivity to nickel. You may even be able to completely eliminate your skin flares!
The Low Nickel Diet
Avoiding foods high in nickel helps prevent flares. Dermatologists recommend the Low Nickel Diet, which eliminates foods that are generally high in nickel content, regardless of regional soil differences in mineral content.
If you’re currently following a Paleo or Autoimmune Paleo Diet, you’ll be happy to know that transitioning to the Low Nickel Diet may be easy, as many nickel-rich foods are already eliminated on these diets! (I’ve bolded the most common Hashimoto’s food sensitivities in the list below.)
The Low Nickel Diet eliminates or limits the following:
- Whole wheat, whole grain, rye
- Soy products
- Cocoa and chocolate
- Baking powder
- Legumes (peas, lentils, peanut, red kidney beans, soya beans and chickpeas)
- Dried fruits
- Canned foods
- Strong licorice
- Alcoholic beverages (beer and red wine)
- Certain fish species: salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring
- Certain seeds/nuts: sunflower seeds, linseeds, hazelnuts, marzipan, walnuts
- Onion, garlic
- Raw carrot
- Processed foods
Limiting your intake of these foods may help reduce the daily total amount of ingested nickel, which in turn may reduce or eliminate nickel-related symptoms and flares.
This diet may also help those struggling with weight loss. Interestingly, a study in 2015 reported that having a nickel allergy is more prevalent in overweight women, especially those with metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease, and that women in the study were able to lose weight on a low nickel diet, without restricting calories. Over the course of 24 months, on average, the participants lost about 4 inches off their waist and reduced their Body Mass Index (BMI) by 4.2 ± 0.5. (For women, a BMI of 18.5-25 is considered normal weight, a BMI above 25 is considered overweight, and a BMI above 30 is considered obese, so a 4.2 ± 0.5 difference is quite significant. In fact, this BMI difference is almost equivalent to jumping from being obese to being overweight!) Thus, the low nickel diet can help reduce one’s BMI as well as improve nickel allergy symptoms.
Additional Lifestyle Changes
In addition to dietary changes, I would also like to share some lifestyle tips that can help you cope with your nickel allergy.
Replacing Nickel-containing Items with Safer Alternatives
There are some common and unexpected sources of nickel that can be replaced with nickel free alternatives or other solutions.
- Steel pots, pans and dinner utensils: This is a common source of nickel that everyone will have at home. It’s important to note that many experts say that most people with nickel allergy can tolerate stainless steel. Nonetheless, some sensitive folks can still sense trace amounts of nickel in stainless steel. Furthermore, cooking acidic foods with stainless steel can increase the amount of nickel that leaches out. Opting for bamboo or wooden utensils may be a safer option for those with nickel allergy. Nickel free stainless steel utensils also exist. When shopping for cookware and flatware, avoid buying stainless steel that is graded as 18/8 or 18/10. (These grades may be called 304 and 316 in some countries.) These numbers mean that the steel products contain 18 percent chromium, and 8 or 10 percent nickel. Instead, look for grades that say 18/0 (or 440), as they will contain 0 percent nickel. The same rule can be applied to pots and pans. However, I recommend looking for ceramic-coated cookware, as they are safer options compared to those coated with toxic Teflon. Make sure your ceramic cookware is “safe”, as some can leach lead and cadmium when cooked at high temperatures. The safest cookware I’ve found is 100 percent ceramic cookware from Xtrema, which is made of all-natural materials. Multiple labs around the world have shown that they do not leach any metals, including lead and cadmium — and they publish their test results on their website.
- Faucet taps: Faucets may contain nickel, so your tap water may too. Running the tap for a minute in the morning may help prevent you from ingesting nickel that may have leached into the water overnight. However, getting a water filter is a more environmentally friendly solution and may be your best bet. I highly recommend getting a reverse osmosis system or one that filters out fluoride as well, such as the countertop AquaTru filter. Since fluoride and harmful toxins in your water supply can affect the thyroid, removing both thyroid-disrupting chemicals as well as nickel from your drinking water would be a tremendous investment in your health.
- Costume jewelry: Invest in high quality jewelry. 🙂 Replacing jewelry that is likely to contain nickel with more expensive, high quality pieces made of sterling silver and gold may seem easy, but even genuine silver and white gold pieces may contain nickel! It’s important to do your research by asking your local jeweler if they use nickel in their fine jewelry. If in doubt, popular nickel free ring and necklace materials include titanium, copper, brass, aluminum, niobium, cobalt, and Tungsten.
- Orthodontic appliances can contain nickel. In fact, studies have shown that due to saliva-induced corrosion, nickel ions can be released into the mouth from dental appliances. In extreme cases of nickel allergy, nickel free appliances should be used, so you may want to ask your dentist for possible options.
- IUD devices: If you have an IUD, be sure to check with your doctor, as recent reports have found that some IUDs may contain nickel and cause severe symptoms in those with a nickel allergy. For a safer birth control method, you may wish to consider tracking your basal temperature with the Lady Comp, as well as checking out the Fertility Awareness Method, as described in the book Taking Charge Of Your Fertility.
- Supplements: Some supplements, including multivitamins, may contain nickel, so be sure to check the labels of your supplements.
Other lifestyle strategies include wearing gloves when touching metals that may potentially contain nickel, as well as avoiding touching stainless steel with wet hands, as that can increase the absorption of nickel through the skin.
2. Displacing Nickel
In some cases, reactions to toxins are dose dependent or due to buildup in the body. Symptoms of nickel toxicity include hives, eczema, and itchy skin, as well as headaches, fatigue, allergies, increased inflammation, and celiac-like gut symptoms. In these situations, strategies to reduce absorption or displace the substance may help.
Taking vitamin C, iron and zinc supplements can help decrease the amount of nickel that your body absorbs, as they compete for the same receptors and can displace nickel. Vitamin C has also been found to reduce the rise in plasma nickel concentration when ingested alongside nickel.
For zinc, I recommend the zinc picolinate supplement from Pure Encapsulations, at no more than 30 mcg per day, unless you are monitored by a healthcare professional. (Click here to read more about zinc deficiency, which is common in those with Hashimoto’s.)
As for iron, Optiferin-C by Pure Encapsulations may work for you, as it contains both iron and vitamin C in one supplement! However, please consult with your doctor and check your iron and ferritin levels before supplementing with this, as high iron levels can lead to an iron overdose.
Eating a diet rich in iron and trying to eat foods rich in vitamin C when eating nickel-containing foods may also be beneficial.
Toxins can accumulate in your body due to nutrient deficiencies, especially deficiencies in minerals, which compete for binding sites. A gentle way to remove toxins from your body consists of limiting exposure and utilizing targeted nutrients to prevent the absorption and retention of the toxins.
Nutrients that may defend against absorbing and retaining nickel include riboflavin and antioxidants such as selenium, vitamin E, and curcumin.
3. Detoxing Strategies
- Sweating: Studies have found that certain heavy metals like nickel are going to be more concentrated in the sweat than in the urine when they are excreted from the body. So, doing activities that make us sweat, like hot yoga, can help us sweat out nickel. I also love using saunas (like the at-home Sunlighten sauna) for detoxification, as they offer a more gentle alternative to forceful detoxification methods like chelation. They also tend to carry additional health benefits not found in other therapies that make us sweat, like yoga and exercise. (You can read more about how infrared saunas can benefit those with Hashimoto’s and detoxification, as well as check out potential contraindications, here.)
- Liver Support Protocol: Liver supporting nutrients and herbs can aid with the liver’s natural ability to remove toxins from our body, as well as prevent the damage incurred by the toxin. For example, N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) has been found to inhibit nickel-induced cell death and DNA damage, as well as significantly prevent nickel-induced loss of MMP (enzymes related to tissue healing and cancer cell metastasis), in the lungs and kidneys. Meanwhile, a study done on rats found that quercetin can reduce nickel-induced inflammation and damage in the liver. NAC and quercetin are two of the ingredients I utilize as part of my broad spectrum liver support protocol. You can read more about this in my Liver Support article.
- Chelation: While I don’t generally recommend chelation as a starting point for most people with Hashimoto’s (it can make things worse if the gut and liver are not properly supported first), the chelating agents EDTA, DMSA and DMPS can help remove nickel buildup from the body, as well as the buildup of other metals.
4. Desensitization Strategies
A 2015 study proposed that chronic exposure to sensitizing allergens can reprogram the “danger” signal that the body sends in the presence of the allergen, (possibly via T cell class switching), resulting in an increased tolerance of the allergen.
Desensitization strategies have been reported to help some individuals with reducing their reactions to nickel. Here are some strategies you may consider in addition to the lifestyle changes mentioned above:
1. Oral Tolerance Therapies – Since the late 1980s, clinical trials have studied the effectiveness of oral hyposensitization therapy, which aims to turn off the production of antigens that are produced as a response to a harmless allergen, by exposing the body to small amounts of the allergen. It has been proposed as an effective method to reduce nickel allergies.
In 2009, 67 patients were administered low doses of nickel. All patients reported a reduction or absence of skin itching after the first 4 weeks of treatment. After 10 weeks, 67 percent of patients who completed the trial reported a complete remission of their symptoms, suggesting that oral tolerance of nickel can be induced with immunotherapies.
There are various forms of immunotherapy. Low dose immunotherapy is a form of immunotherapy that uses a tiny dose of the enzyme beta glucuronidase, with very minute doses of various allergens, to stimulate the production of T-suppressor cells (T regulator or T reg cells).
In one study, low-dose immunotherapy was used to treat nickel allergy. The results concluded that low-dose immunotherapy may affect baseline levels of intracellular calcium in lymphocytes (by reducing the lymphocytic intracellular calcium ion concentration). In other words, it suggested that this therapy can indeed help to promote more normal immune cell signaling in those with allergies.
In 2013, another study confirmed that oral immunotherapy can be helpful to increase nickel tolerance by reducing IL-2 and IL-10, molecules that play a role in oral tolerance and signal cytokines (proteins) in the immune system.
Sublingual (under the tongue) immunotherapy is another form of oral hyposensitization therapy. It involves creating a dilution of an allergen that one is sensitive to, and administering dosages under the tongue to promote tolerance to the substance in question. The treatment is considered safe and effective. In 1998, a clinical trial found that 85 percent of nickel-allergic patients experienced a subjective improvement in their skin reactions after undergoing sublingual immunotherapy.
2. NAET – NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques) is a non-invasive technique that reverses allergies by using acupressure (gentle pressure on acupuncture points) in conjunction with exposure to one’s allergen.
After undergoing Neuromuscular Sensitivity Testing (NST or NST-NAET), which diagnoses allergies by comparing the strength of a muscle in the presence and absence of a suspected allergen, a patient holds a glass vial containing one allergen at a time, while the NAET practitioner applies pressure on acupuncture points. This is believed to clear the “energy blockages” in those areas, which in turns sends a message to the brain to become desensitized to the allergen.
At the end of the session, the allergen is checked again using NST. If the allergen is no longer active, the patient must avoid exposure to the allergen for about 25 hours.
While most evidence on the effectiveness of NAET is anecdotal, some practitioners that I know and trust have found this to be a helpful method for desensitization in their clients, and it seems to be a very low-risk option.
You can find out more about this technique, as well as local practitioners in your area who may offer NAET treatments for nickel and other chemical sensitivities, on the founder of NAET’s website.
3. Homeopathy – This form of alternative medicine, developed by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796, is based on the idea that any substance that can cause illness can also be a cure. In other words, if a substance causes a symptom in healthy individuals, giving someone a tiny amount of the same substance may cure his or her condition. Homeopathic preparations are made by repeatedly diluting substances in distilled water or alcohol, to the point where no molecules of the original substances remain. However, it is believed that the trace amounts left behind are active and are sufficient enough to desensitize the body to the original substance(s) in the remedy. Although this therapy has been considered highly controversial by conventional doctors, it is widely used around the world as an effective and gentle treatment for curing many conditions as well as allergies. I recommend consulting a homeopathic practitioner in your area to inquire about formulas available for nickel allergies.
In summary, being diagnosed with a nickel allergy doesn’t mean you’ll have to suffer from nickel reaction symptoms and avoid all things metal forever. You can take charge of your own health, reduce your symptoms, and find nickel free items! In doing so, you may even decrease your hypersensitivity to nickel.
To help you remember all the lifestyle and dietary strategies to reduce your exposure to nickel, I’ve created a graphic you can print at home:
I hope this helps you on your healing journey!
To learn more about other helpful interventions for thyroid disease, please consider picking up a copy of Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause.
Has nickel sensitivity been a part of your journey? What have you found that has helped?
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Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism says
Thank you for this, it’s certainly given me a lot to think about. I’ve never done well with cheap costume jewellery.
Dr. Izabella says
Rachel – you are very welcome! I hope you will keep me posted on your progress. <3
This is so fascinating! When I was 13, I let a friend pierce my ears and wound up with an infection and a lifelong sensitivity to nickel. I wasn’t diagnosed with Hashimoto’s until I was 40. I also have nut allergies. So helpful to connect all these dots. Thank you!
Dr. Izabella says
Terri – you are very welcome! Please keep me posted on your progress. <3
Any chance this can be a correlation with something like fibromyalgia? Have a friend with it as well as asthma and many chronic conditions that keep coming up. Thanks for any input.
Dr. Izabella says
Sue – thank you for reaching out. Oftentimes patients will have additional autoimmune conditions. Most autoimmune conditions have common root causes, and a lot of times the things that are recommended for one autoimmune condition will help with others. Conditions that I have found to respond really well to the Hashimoto’s protocols have been rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, eczema, asthma, Graves’, premature ovarian failure, psoriasis, Alopecia Areata, and Sjogrens. I have also seen the protocols help with Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, PCOS, as well as Type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s, and Ulcerative colitis.
Hashimoto’s Root Cause
Evelyn Blake says
FYI: Klean kanteens are 18/8.
I have to say I am starting to think I am on a starvation diet. One thing after another keeps eliminating more food out of my already limited diet…
As I read this, it was just a few days ago that I found out there had been a myriad of problems with the Essure procedure. I was told it was stainless steel. I now read that it is nickel and steel. I had this procedure in 2008. Never thought it was causing my allergies that developed and I was on three weekly allergy shots for four years. Makes me wonder if I would have had this if I had not had the Essure inserted. I need to read some more and research more. Thanks for this info!
Dr. Izabella says
Rita – you are very welcome! I appreciate you sharing your journey with me. Please keep me posted on your progress here. <3
I can’t believe you posted this article! My husband and I have been trying to figure out what my contact dermatitis was being triggered from. It’s new to me, never had a rash like this before, all over my body (butt, breast, lower abdomen, on public line, on my bar line, behind my knees, on my hips, has spread all over my abdomen). It started almost 7-8 weeks ago. Around the time I went AIP. My husband read last week about nickel allergy & we tried removing some foods on the AIP that I’ve been eating. My rash is so much better but not totally cleared yet. What I removed & that I was eating daily-spinach, dates, canned coconut milk, pineapple, dark chocolate, coffee & decaf coffee (took me a while to taper off coffee for my early morning) re; dark chocolate-(I know it’s not AIP but I was going back & forth with dark chocolate and dates for when I finished my meals). What I know now is I do suspect a nickel allergy & just recently I tested positive for bacterial overgrowth (which I also thought might be causing the rash) . Will continue to fine tune my diet, remove more kitchen items, start sweating ? & run the nickel allergy testing.
I find previous comment interesting because I use my Klean Kantee everyday. Any suggestions on brands that keep liquids hot for hours & friendly to take to work?
Dr. Izabella says
Lora – thank you for reaching out and sharing your journey with me. I hope you will keep me posted on your progress here. Glass water bottles are safer than plastic and metal ones, which could leach chemicals and metals into your water. You can find glass water bottles with silicone covers that prevent breakage when dropped, like those by LifeFactory and BKR. <3
Thank you for the information that you shared. I have a severe nickel allergy and I am working on replacing my caps and crowns in my mouth that contain a lot of nickel. I think this exposure may be one of my triggers. I had one dental implant that contained nickel and it bled for years. Finally had it removed and will continue to remove all the metal in my body.
Dr. Izabella says
JP – thank you for sharing your journey! I hope you will keep me posted on your progress here. <3
A lot of dentists use “stainless steel” in patients’ mouths and never warn that it contains nickel. Possibly they don’t know! This is a very important article, Dr Wentz – last spring my young granddaughter had a “stainless steel” crown placed in her mouth, and her mother (my daughter) was furious at the dentist because they didn’t consult her or offer any alternatives. We really have to be our own best health advocates.
Dr. Izabella says
Dana – thank you so much for sharing your granddaughters story! I am so sorry to hear that happened. I highly recommend a Biological dentist. Biological dentistry is a branch of dentistry that looks at the connection between oral care and the health status of the rest of the body. While most traditional dentists focus only on “rescue care” rather than prevention, biological dentists try to prevent health problems that may originate from exposure to certain procedures and materials. To find a biological dentist in your area, visit the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology’s website at http://www.iaomt.org for a listing
Such valuable information, wow! I have a severe nickel allergy that started when I was only 9 years old, acquired while I was learning to play the flute – like almost first student flutes, mine was made of nickel. Because I loved to play and practiced 4+ hours every day, I eventually developed a weeping open wound on my chin where the flute rested. Nothing would heal it until I received my first silver flute several years later. Even today, I cannot tolerate surgical stainless steel as with watch bands and no metal jewelry of any kind at all. In healthcare, I have reacted to the nickel plugs on standard EKG pads after a short while, even though there is a sponge pad between it and my skin (the reaction looks like a blistery sunburn). I am OK now but have had to be very proactive monitoring my world. As an RN, I have also become aware of nickel in medical products. Since nickel is used as an alloy to strengthen other metals, it is used extensively in orthopedic implants. A search of the literature for what happens when someone with a nickel allergy receives a total joint replacement is downright frightening – the solution is to eventually remove the implant and fuse the joint permanently (with a leg now 2-4 inches shorter)! Dental implants also routinely have nickel but a few manufacturers make some nickel-free implants. If considering these, be sure to ask for vendor verification and make sure the dentist uses only the nickel-free implants. Bottom line: Once confirmed, be sure to also list nickel as an allergy on your medical chart, too, and be on the look-out for sources of nickel in healthcare. The medical staff will probably be unaware of sources since this is only just becoming known as a health problem. Great scholarship as always, Dr. Wentz. Thank you!
Dr. Izabella says
Kaili – thank you so much for sharing this! I appreciate all the information, your kind words and your support! <3
Thank you very much for this.
I have long suspected nickel and lucked out on a test in Australia as there are no IgE RAST tests.
I don’t wear jewelry or a watch but want to know if I should shift from stainless steel and healthy foods like broccoli.
Dr. Izabella says
Alexa – you are very welcome! I am not able to advise you on this without a comprehensive health assessment. I recommend that you discuss this with your personal doctor. <3
Thanks for responding.
I have discussed this over time and your recent article with my primary care practitioner. She checked this week with a colleague who suggested a patch test for contact sensitivity but said food/utensil derived symptoms couldn’t be tested for or likely cause much problem. That seems like another dead end. Not least because local immunologists have long waiting lists.
Is there a reliable blood test for Type IV hypersensitivity reactions?
Dr. Izabella says
Alexa – you are welcome. I appreciate you sharing my research with your practitioner. The hypersensitivity test that I recommend is the
LTT-Melissa, which is a whole blood test that measures one’s lymphocyte reactivity upon exposure to metal. According to the current scientific literature, this test can detect hypersensitivity to metals, including nickel. Here is a link: http://www.melisa.org/
Annette Sonnier Olsen says
Thanks for the great article, Dr. Wentz! You have addressed my systemic lupus erythrematosus, and hypothyroidism, but this is the first time anywhere I have seen a thorough discussion of my longtime nickel allergy.
By the way, you missed a very important source of nickel to avoid: methylated (also known as laurylated) surfactants (sudsing agents, such as lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate. One or both are found in most American toothpastes, shampoos, body washes, pump dispensed hand soap, and detergents such as dish soap, dishwasher detergent, and laundry detergents. It seems to be a problem with liquids rather than solid cleansing agents.
I am allergic to most of these products produced in America or for Americans, and it look me decades to track down why. We Americans have bought into the advertising that more suds means a better clean. Nickel is NEVER listed as a formal ingredient on the label of these cleaning products. However, it is used as a catalyst in the industrial methylation (laurylation) process, and some nickel remains as an unnamed impurity.
Since discovering all this over 20 years ago, I have used Dove bar soap for my personal washing—especially for my hair. The scalp itching and sores from using most shampoos is aggravating. Nitrile gloves help prevent skin irritation on my hands from diswadhing. I use small amounts of “original” Colgate toothpaste on my teeth. My salivary glands swell when I use most toothpaste, and when swollen they react very painfully to me eating acidic foods. For years I wore long hair to hide the swollen glands where my jaws meet my ears.
Interestingly, when I lived for 1 1/2 years in Colombia, South America, 30 years ago, my hypersensitivity to those personal products vanished—until I returned to the United States and started using our versions of personal and household cleaning products again. The difference was in the sudsing agents used. Ours contain nickel.
Please broadcast this information to others. Those of us suffering from nickel allergy could use a break!
Thank you for sharing this, and fot all you have shared to make life better for those of us who also struggle with autoimmune disease.
Annette Sonnier Olsen
Dr. Izabella says
Annette – thank you so much for sharing you journey with me. I think it is amazing you are empowering yourself and taking charge of your health! I look forward to hearing her progress on this page! <3
How about if once gets allergic symptoms when wearing any type of jewelry on the ears, from cheap ones to silver or pure gold?
Dr. Izabella says
Diana – you are very welcome! I appreciate you sharing and hope you will keep me posted on your progress. <3
robin Law paino says
Is there any research on supplementing with CBD oil for Hashimotos ?
Dr. Izabella says
Robin – That’s a great question and unfortunately I don’t have any information to share with you at this time but, I will add this to my list of future article possibilities. I would advise you to discuss this with your clinician. <3
Super interesting. I have 5 piercings, should I consider removing all of them?
Also, I used to get extremely sick drinking from my Klean Kanteen after a couple of weeks of having it. Eventually I figured out it was the KK and switched to a glass water bottle.
Thank you for this!
Dr. Izabella says
Amanda – thank you for sharing this! Unfortunately I cannot give you any straightforward guidance you will have to make your own informed decision on this. I highly recommend that you work with a functional medicine clinician to be a part of your own health care team. It’s an entire medical specialty dedicated to finding and treating underlying root causes and prevent serious chronic disease rather than treating individual disease symptoms.
FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE APPROACH TO THE THYROID
FIND A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE CLINICIAN
I have been stuggling with contact dermatitis on my hands for the past year. My hands would be raw and at times I would get a rash that extended to my elbows. I work in a dental office three days a week and wear gloves. I have worked on and off for the past 30 years and at my current office for the past 5 years. When I first started at this office, I immediately noticed the Nitrile gloves burned my hands, but had no problem with Latex. I know many people can develop an allergy to Latex but I have had both blood test and skin test for Latex and both were negative. About a year ago I started having trouble with my hands flaring up. I don’t know if it is related, but a year ago is when it became mandatory to eliminate powder from Latex gloves. I tried everything I read for eczema and all my MD could offer was a steroid cream, same for dermatologist and allergist. No one was interested in finding the cause. As I researched gloves, trying to find an alternative, I read that Nitrile gloves use Nickel Chloride in the manufacturing process. I turned to Vinyl gloves which seemed to help but then the wrong gloves were ordered for me that looked identical but were Nitrile. I wore these for a month before I realized the mistake. My hands were so raw and I was trying every product and diet I could find that promised to help with ezcema. After I switched to Vinyl, I wore cotton liners underneath. My hands never could heal and would flare from time to time. About 5 weeks ago I had another bad flare and decided I had to eliminate the gloves to know for sure if this was the issue. I asked my employer for a leave of absence and saw a Naturopath who gave me herbs to take for detoxing my kidneys and liver. Within a week and a half my hands were nearly healed. I began using the steroid cream on the most damaged spots. I had suffered for so long physically with the itchy rash and mentally wondering if I would ever recover. There are not a lot of options when it comes to medical gloves. I may be forced to leave my job for good. I appreciated this information on Nickel allergy because it helps me put the pieces of this puzzle together.
Dr. Izabella says
Sheila – thank you so much for sharing your journey with me. I am happy to hear you have found a practitioner and able to heal your hands. <3 I hope you keep me posted on your progress here.
Rachel Terry says
Both my mom and I both have tested positive for the nickel allergy and we both have Hashimotos Disease. I also have thyroid nodules. My mom had a knee replacement several years ago and her knee never healed properly. We discovered afterwards that her orthopedic knee had nickel in it. We finally got her to a doctor that believed in the correlation between orthopedic implants and metal allergies. She had her knee replaced for a third time with a ceramic coated, nickel free implant and her knee finally healed although she still has neuropathy from the damage of multiple knee replacement surgeries and the damage the original implants did to her leg. Thanks for for the great article!
Dr. Izabella says
Rachel – you are very welcome! I appreciate you sharing your journey as well as your mom’s and I am sorry to hear what she has gone through. I hope you will keep me posted on progress as well as your mom’s. <3
Thank you for this article. I have hashimoto ánd i’m very allergic for nickel. I follow low-nickel diet for one year now, it really helps, especially beans, lentills, chickpeas make me feel sick (in my gut) and nuts give me rashes on my face.
I’ve got cooking pots of emaille, since i know from the nickel allergy.
Although it doesn’t change anything, it feels good tot know that this could be my rootcause.
Do you give it a good chance that this allergy will ever go away and so the hashimoto too?
Dr. Izabella says
Fardoe – thank you for reaching out. I am so sorry to hear you are strugging with this. <3 Thyroid tissue can regenerate, but the rate at which it does is not always predictable. Thus, some are able to stop the autoimmune attack on their thyroid and regain normal thyroid function. Others can reduce the dose of medications, and others will need to stay on the medications indefinitely. I'm
currently working on some protocols to help with tissue regeneration. Reversing Hashimoto's means different things to different people. For some, it means a reduction in symptoms, and for others, it means a reduction in your antibodies. I had both. Here a few articles that might be helpful for you:
IS IT POSSIBLE TO RECOVER THYROID FUNCTION IN HASHIMOTO'S
REVERSING AUTOIMMUNITY? AND THE PERFECT STORM
HASHIMOTO’S SELF CARE, GETTING AND STAYING IN REMISSION
Varsovia Santoliva says
Nickel allergies wow, I never realized that that metal can affect us this way. No wonder I can not wear jewelry that has a nickel. Cant wait to start a cleanse for my liver so I can detox.
Dr. Izabella says
Varsovia – thank you for sharing! <3 Sounds like a great idea and I hope you keep me posted on your progress here.
Rebecca Van Cleave says
Sorry, this is going to be long!! Hashimoto’s runs in my family- my maternal grandmother, my mother (also had IBS AND a Nickle allergy), and me. Mostlikly at least two of my three girls are headed that way too. My oldest daughter has my mom’s IBS issues (as does one brother), and after reading this, probably a Nickle allergy as well (hands and stomach issues). One of my twins has acne issues that I was attributing to our lactose intolerances, and is currently fighting severe anxiety too. I will take a look at all of our stainless steel items (I got rid of plastic water bottles years ago), but suspect it’s all 18/8.
I went gluten free three years ago because of you. After two months, my vertigo/migraines all but disappeared (only get them with cross-contamination). I also discovered my issue with dairy (gut issues AND anxiety disappeared with going lactose free and severely limiting my dairy intake- this is still a battle), and my girls learned they too had issues (as do three nieces from both another brother and my sister- clearly, this runs in our family!!). Plus, I lost 20 pounds due to gut healing and reduced inflammation. This summer, I had a full immunology panel done for food and inhaled allergies because my my new GP gets the link. I am not “allergic” to anything! All those years I spent on allergy meds for my sinus issues were for nothing (no inhaled allergies). The immunologist expected this from my medical history, and told me ALL of my issues are from food sensitivities- I now just have to find all my triggers.
I started this journey because my mom died 7 years ago at the age of 75 from undiagnosed lymphoma. It was a hellish four months that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. As a biologist in my pre-motherhood life, I believe that her autoimmune issues contributed to her early death (her mom lived to 95), because the B-cell lymphoma she had is cancer of the immune system. Sadly, it was not discovered until the DAY she died. The seven specialist treating her (well, EXCEPT an oncologist) had no clue due to the pneumonia and then pancreatitis was actually lymphoma that had infiltrated her organs. I’ve been preaching to all my siblings AND my daughters since my journey began. Siblings don’t seem to care as much (luckily one niece who was also diagnosed as gluten intolerant is listening), but my daughters have seen the changes in me first-hand, so they believe. It’s just very hard for them (not going to lie, me too) to give up a lot of their favorite foods. Sometimes we find alternatives, and sometimes we can recreate them (like take-out Chinese). It’s time to bring ‘modern medicine’ onboard, OR have insurance cover alternative medical practices. Luckily, I’m finding more and more people aware of food sensitivities and the issues they cause. Thank you, for all you have done and continue to do. Oh, and congrats on your new journey into motherhood <3!
Dr. Izabella says
Rebecca – thank you so very much for sharing your journey with me. I so sorry to hear about your mom. It’s great to hear that you are taking charge of your health and being an advocate for yourself and others. <3 I hope you will keep me posted on your progress here.
I have lazy thyroid, Hashimoto’s and nickel allergy. I don’t eat red meat or drink cow’s milk. I have been substituting with Soy. My skin has become awful. I need to eat protein from beans and nuts as I don’t get it from meat. HELP. I have no idea what to do now. Eating red meat is not an option for me and I am allergic to cow’s milk. I have no idea what to eat now. Any ideas I am 61 years old.
Dr. Izabella says
Linda – thank you for reaching out. I am so sorry to hear you are struggling with this. Recovering from adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism when following a vegetarian diet is very challenging, as vegetarian diets are often carbohydrate heavy. Vegetarian sources of protein such as legumes (beans), dairy, grains, soy and some seeds may be incompatible with trying to heal a leaky gut, which is almost always present with Hashimoto’s. Pea protein is an alternative that may be easier to digest and is less likely to cause food sensitivities.
I have created my own line of supplements, which also includes an Organic Pea Protein. Here’s the link: https://rootcology.com/collections/supplements/products/copy-of-purepaleo-protein-vanilla
Eggs, some seeds, and nuts would be the preferred sources of protein for vegetarians. However, some people with Hashimoto’s may be intolerant to those as well, especially in the early stages of starting a healing diet. Being a vegan is even more challenging, and nuts and seeds would be the go-to source of protein, which are usually too difficult to digest for many in the beginning of their thyroid healing journeys.
While vegan and vegetarian diets have been reported to be extremely helpful with autoimmune and chronic conditions, I have not been able to find reports of people recovering from Hashimoto’s by following a vegan diet. Even devout vegans who are nutritionally conscious still struggle with low body temperatures, hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s.
Many former vegans have reported improved symptoms of Hashimoto’s following transitioning to a Paleo diet. Based on this, I believe that animal proteins must play an important role in building back the health of people with Hashimoto’s. That said, while meats and fats are important for healing, eating them exclusively will produce an acidic environment in the body, hindering healing, and thus the diet should be balanced with plenty of nutrient rich vegetables (suggested ratio may be 20% meat/80% veggie).
Additionally, vegan and raw vegan diets can be extremely helpful for cleansing and detoxifying, especially for those with persistent protein digestion issues. A vegan diet can be followed for a few days to a few weeks and may help the body detoxify. B12 and iron or ferritin supplements should be utilized at this time to prevent deficiency. Please know that I’m a big proponent of bio-individuality which honors the distinct nutritional needs of every human being. I’m not saying everybody needs to eat meat, but I am saying to listen to your body if it needs meat. Here are a few articles which might help:
AUTOIMMUNE PALEO DIET
ELIMINATION DIET FOR HASHIMOTO’S
Robin Harris says
FINALLY! A doctor that recognizes the link between nickel and thyroid issues. I have been dealing with a sudden nickel allergy and thyroid (Hashimoto’s) for the past 6 months. I have been to doctor after doctor and none had ever heard of nickel and thyroid symptoms being related.
I have seen 3 primary care doctors, 1 traditional allergist, 2 dermatologists, and an endocrinologist and none of them had experience treating a nickel allergic reaction or heard of it occurring with thyroid. Both nickel and thyroid problems began for me around the same time. I dealt with both for months before tests finally confirmed a diagnosis. The nickel allergic reaction was confirmed with a patch test applied to my back for several days by a specialty dermatologist. Thyroid condition was overlooked and missed by two primary care doctors for months after TSH blood tests were “normal”. After seeking a second opinion finally a different primary care doctor tested TPO level and referred to Endocrinologist who did ultrasound and found “moderate sized”nodules and confirmed Hashimoto’s diagnosis.
This sudden Nickel reaction or sensitization I believe was caused by a (cute) pair of costume jewelry earrings that I wore back in March. During the same time in March (I now know) I was experiencing thyroid symptoms (severely dry skin, etc.) although of course I didn’t realize the symptoms were caused by thyroid at that time. I developed crazy allergic reactions to common items that seemed harmless to me in the past (memory foam mattress topper, a chemical in my shampoo, clothes detergent – methylchloroisothiazolinone, and also of course Nickel!)
In May I started having serious skin reaction to items I touched made from nickel and some stainless steel (keychain, shoe buckles, even the handles on our new and very large stainless refrigerator!) My skin reaction is not an itchy red rash, but rather more like a white spot with a burning sensation. I have had to change most items I used before, my razor blades (I can tolerate Preserve brand), tweezers (GorillaKilla titanium), my bras (w/ metal hooks) and have learned the hard way not to use an Exergen thermometer that made large welts appeared on my forehead 🙁 I have even gotten skin reactions from very brief contact (ex. foot briefly touching a metal table leg in a restaurant).
The dermatologist that performed the nickel patch test gave me a list of Low Nickel Foods and suggested I try that diet for 30 days. I did try it for 2 months but my thyroid was left untreated at that time (I was waiting for referral to Endocrinologist then) . The Low Nickel Diet I believe left me very nutrient depleted. I am now on Synthroid which the Endo. has gradually increased the dosage, as of last week I now take 50mcg day.
Nickel and Hashimotos have negatively affected my health. Over the past 6 months I have lost approximately 12 pounds. I am 5’6” and now weigh 111 pounds. I am now reading your books Hashimoto Protocol and The Root Cause. I am now taking many supplements which have helped with other allergies and thyroid symptoms (NAC, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Milk Thistle, Zinc, Vitamin C & D, OptiFerin) but none have alleviated the Nickel symptoms.
Nickel avoidance is almost virtually impossible. As you mention, Nickel reactions usually occur hours or a day or so later, which means that it is hard to tell what exactly you touched to cause a reaction. I have tried Squintifique cream (did not work ) and neither does Nickel Guard.
I have been asking my doctors to try LDN low dose naltrexone for Hashimoto’s, but they are conventional doctors and unwilling to prescribe it for thyroid autoimmunity. I have also been desperately trying to find a doctor who can even acknowledge a link between thyroid and nickel, who could offer any desensitization techniques. I am willing to try anything possible! As I have said I cannot even find a doctor to acknowledge there is a link between Nickel and thyroid – much less one who has experience treating patients with both issues. Can you recommend any doctors or suggest any such practitioners willing to treat patients who are knowledgeable on the desensitization techniques????
Dr. Izabella says
Robin – thank you for sharing your journey. I am sorry you are struggling. <3 I highly recommend that you work with a functional medicine clinician to be a part of your own health care team. It’s an entire medical specialty dedicated to finding and treating underlying root causes and prevent serious chronic disease rather than treating individual disease symptoms. I believe that everyone needs to find a practitioner that will let him/her be a part of the healthcare team. You want someone that can guide you, that will also listen to you and your concerns. You want someone that’s open to thinking outside of the box and who understands that you may not fit in with the standard of care. It's a good idea to ask some standard questions when contacting a new doctor for the first time. Something else to consider is you can work with a functional doctor remotely, via Skype. You could also contact your local pharmacist or compounding pharmacy, who may be able to point you to a local doctor who has a natural functional approach. But I encourage you to keep looking for the right one for you! Here are some resources you might find helpful.
FIND A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE CLINICIAN
What jewelry metals are safe for someone with a nickel allergy? In 6 hours, my skin showed an itchy polka dotty red rash after donning a sterling silver medical ID bracelet. My dermatologist at the time said it’s most likely nickel allergy. I want to make a rosary necklace for prayer and be able to wear jewelry, but i don’t know what’s safe to wear.
Dr. Izabella says
Crystal – thank you for reaching out. I recommend that you invest in high quality jewelry. 🙂 It is important to do your research by asking your local jeweler if they use nickel in their fine jewelry. Replacing jewelry that is likely to contain nickel with more expensive, high quality pieces made of sterling silver and gold may seem easy, but even genuine silver and white gold pieces may contain nickel.
Hello Dr. Wentz,
About a year ago I was found to have subclinical hoshimotos. A low amount of antibodies were present (38 exactly) and there was a small module in my thyroid. However, my T3 and T4 are normal still so far. I removed gluten and dairy and got my thyroid perodaise antibody level checked every 3 months and and it has lowered some (26). However, I have always some type of pains for the past 7-8 years that have been dismissed because it is hard to explain. It feels like joint pain in my neck and my neck will feel uncomfortable in the place it is being held so it feels like I have to crack it or move it all around. It happens a lot when I’m lying down in bed reading a book. Sometimes it works through my arms and I feel like I have to crack my arms and adjust my body. I don’t do it always and I don’t know what triggers it but as you can see it is hard to explain. x rays have been done but they were normal and my doctor has no other suggestions. My neck often feels tight but I also do yoga and stretch daily and it doesn’t do much. Part of me believe this may be a Nickle allergy and I got piercings in my belly and nose around the same time. Does this sound like something that could be caused by nickle allergy? I’m starting to feel hopeless and I have no injuries or trauma to explain this. I’ve just been accepting this but I don’t want to anymore. Side note: when I’ve wore long cheap necklaces I’d often get a red patch around that area. Once I wore a necklace and had a red patch around my neck but that day my neck felt particularly stiff. I attributed it to my regular issues but decided to take the necklace off and it decreased the pain.
Do you think I should take out my nose piercings and ear?
Dr. Izabella says
Laura – thank you for reaching out. I am so sorry you are struggling with this. Unfortunately, I cannot offer any direct personal medical advice.
In the absence of a confirmed nickel allergy diagnosis, many of my clients who suspect they have a nickel allergy (often those who have reported reactions to costume jewelry, handling coins that contain nickel, and/or report nickel-related symptoms) have followed the Low Nickel Diet and lifestyle interventions for a trial period to see if they see any improvements. If they find these changes beneficial, they often continue with long-term avoidance of nickel.
I also highly recommend that you work with a functional medicine clinician to be a part of your own health care team. It’s an entire medical specialty dedicated to finding and treating underlying root causes and prevent serious chronic disease rather than treating individual disease symptoms. Here are some resources you may find helpful:
FIND A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE CLINICIAN
Patty Kraemer says
Hello, My Name is Patty, Let’s go back to 1979 confirmation at my church I had a sip of Wine and went completely into hives from just a sip @ 10 years old. I would tell my friends that I was allergic to Alcohol Later in life I was diagnosed with Thyroid Disease in 1999 and not one family member ever had any problems with their Thyroid and around the same time frame I started getting tiny little blisters all over my arms face and back it itched like I was on fire and boy did it hurt. I saw several Dermatologists well in all about 9 no one could give me an honest answer on what was going on Until September 2013 when I was hospitalized with what doctors thought was MRSA it had my family freaked out it was so bad they thought about taking my hand yes cutting it off I sat in isolation for almost 18 days in the hospital when I was released I was sent to a specialist who did a Patch test on my back they told me it would take three weeks for the results but three days later I was back in the Doctors office I could not take it anymore my back was enlarged Like the size of a dinner plate and raised about almost 2 inches up off my back. The doctor was puzzled He said well we NOW know what you are definitely allergic to NICKEL So I sat in his office for about 2 hours while he printed out what is called my BAD Bible and my Good Bible well my Bad Bible contained about 758 pages of stuff I needed to stay away from and the Good Bible was 3 pages of stuff I could use without having another breakout So after reading your article I am pleased to learn that there is a ROOT to all EVILS.
I have quit smoking, eating chocolate that was my favorite candy I no longer eat anything from a can or use stainless steel pots and pans or silverware I have learned I can not stick my hand into a potato chip bag that has a silver lining because I will get a breakout. I am still learning my cholesterol is very high but can not take the meds they have prescribed because I get really sick from them I have very low blood pressure 100/60 so I know my heart is also alright I am”postmenopausal “and I will be 50 in July Not to mention around 2005 Sex went out the window for me it is not enjoyable to me anymore. But thank you for the information about this it is really going to help me
Dr. Izabella says
Patty – thank you so much for sharing your journey. I am so sorry you have had to go through all of this. I do hope you will keep me posted on your progress. Here are some articles you might find helpful as well.
8 BENEFITS OF INFRARED SAUNA
I really appreciate this article! This year, with so many influencers posting about breast implant illness leading to autoimmune conditions it’s caused me to consider what’s in my body that could cause my autoimmune reaction. I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that the metal rod that I had put in my foot as a child could be causing me issues with my thyroid/immune system and this article heightens my curiosity. I expirenced allergies to cheap jewelry since I was very young and have always needed to get nickel free. When I had the rod put in I was a child and too young to know to ask about what was going in my body, but I’ve been inspired to seek my medical records and decide whether or not to remove it. It could certainly be my root cause. I’ll report back!☺️
Dr. Izabella Wentz says
Sarah – thank you so much for sharing your journey. I’m looking forward to hearing what you discover. <3 Keep me posted!
So, update! I’ve learned that during the time I had the metal placed in my foot they often alloyed titanium implants with nickel! The initial surgery was too long ago to be able to confirm via medical records, since that’s when there were paper records and they are only required to keep them for 8 years. I’ve also been putting together the timeline that after my implant is when I began to get chronic strep as a child, which led to repeated antibiotics – it’s all really coming together and making sense. I have my metal implant removal surgery on June 27th. I’ll be sure to report back with the results, but I’m very hopeful.?
Dr. Izabella says
Sarah – thank you so much for the update! That’s great to hear! I’m looking forward to seeing your progress! <3
Thanks so much for your article. When my dermatologist diagnosed me with an allergy to nickel about 10 years ago I made sure to avoid anything non-stainless steel or non-gold jewelry-wise. I didn’t think twice about anything outside of that. Fast forward 10 years later and nobody has been able to give me a reason behind my intermittent hives/skin rashes, almost constant gum inflammation, hearing loss (ears often feel full), digestive issues and allergy symptoms (dust is the only allergen I’ve tested positive for with an allergist). Most recently I have developed eyelid dermatitis and the eye specialist gave no reason behind it but sent me on my merry way with steroid drops (they didn’t help).
So when I started reading recently about systemic nickel allergy everything just made sense. I eat oatmeal, peanuts, almonds and peanut butter, almost EVERY single day! There have been a couple of times that I’ve had 2-3 glasses of red wine on a particular night and ended up getting incredibly ill (as if I had drank a huge bottle of tequila). Recently I had a can of beer and my runny eyes/nose went into overdrive. I don’t know if this is the sole reason behind my symptoms but if it helps even a little bit to follow a low nickel diet, I’ll be thrilled. Thanks again!
Dr. Izabella Wentz says
Lesli – thank you so much for sharing your journey! I am so happy to hear my research has helped! Please keep me posted on your progress. <3
How would you know if your vitamins and supplements contain nickel? Would it be listed on the bottle? Thank you.
Dr. Izabella says
Heather – thank you for reaching out. <3 Yes, some supplements, may contain nickel, including multivitamins, so be sure to check the labels of your supplements. I have created my own supplements brand, which is named Rootcology. Rootcology’s mission is to provide safe and effective supplement solutions for people struggling with autoimmune thyroid conditions. These supplements are composed of high-quality pesticide-free ingredients, do not contain soy protein, dairy, or gluten ingredients, and undergo third-party testing to ensure that the ingredients on the label match the ingredients inside each bottle. Here is a link to the website if you would like to check it out: https://www.rootcology.com/collections/supplements
This is a fascinating read to me as I played a nickel plated Flute from the age of 11-19 ( when I bought a silver flute). I played a lot ( I then became a Flute teacher which I have been for the past 25 years) The more I played the more swollen, red and itchy my lip became. I got steroid cream from the GP for this. So close to my lips I would have been ingesting the nickel. I have Hashimotos and thyroid removed due to cancer.
If only I had known! But it has now made me very aware for my pupils.
Dr. Izabella Wentz says
Lilly – thank you so much for sharing your journey. I am so sorry you struggled with this for so long. <3 Most thyroid conditions result from the immune system attacking the thyroid because the immune system is out of balance. Hashimoto’s is a complicated condition with many layers that need to be unraveled. While conventional medicine only looks at each body system as a separate category and is only concerned with the thyroid’s ability to produce thyroid hormone, Hashimoto’s is more than just hypothyroidism, it's an autoimmune disease that needs to be managed. Whether you have all, part or no thyroid, the autoimmunity still persists in most cases. We need to re-balance the immune system which begins in the gut. With the exception of discussing proper thyroid medication dosing, the majority of my website and book's focuses on balancing the immune system. The info I present is based on my own research and journey overcoming my autoimmune thyroid condition.
Here are some articles I think you might find helpful:
IMPORTANCE OF GUT HEALTH
WHERE DO I START WITH HASHIMOTO’S
Hi Dr Wentz,
I couldn’t find anything on your blog about Nasal Rhinitis. I have rhinitis caused by inhaled nickel exposure. I’m hoping you’ll talk about rhinitis in a future article. Blessings.
Dr. Izabella Wentz says
Valentia – thank you so much for sharing! <3 I will add this to list to research further! 💕
Thank you for this article. I’m curious as to how to reverse Hashimoto’s if the root cause is a result of the ear-piercing…as in “ear piercings can trigger immune processes and may contribute to the onset of autoimmune thyroid disease!”
Dr. Izabella Wentz says
Chantelle – you are very welcome! ❤️ Reversing Hashimoto’s means different things to different people. For some, it means a reduction in symptoms, and for others, it means a reduction in your antibodies. If you believe that you have a nickel allergy and that it may be your root cause then you may want to consider starting with the protcols listed in the above article. Here are few articles that might be helpful as well:
REVERSING AUTOIMMUNITY? AND THE PERFECT STORM
IS IT POSSIBLE TO RECOVER THYROID FUNCTION IN HASHIMOTO’S
Dear dr. Wentz.
I have been struggling for over 3 years to discover my root cause.
I have a titanium dental implant that I had in 2015, and I was diagnosed with hashimoto in 2019.
I didn’t find articles informing of this possible connection.
Could you let me know if there is a causal relationship between my implant and the development of hashimoto?
Dr. Izabella Wentz says
Suellen – thank you for reaching out. It’s hard to say. Hashimoto’s is often a combination of food sensitivities, nutrient deficiencies, adrenal issues, gut issues as well as an impaired ability to get rid of toxins. Any of those things would prevent a person from getting better. Hashimoto’s is very much an individual condition. While there are root cause commonalities, each person will have their own or in some cases, more than one root cause. You will have to start with the simplest modifications, by removing triggers, followed by repairing the other broken systems to restore equilibrium, allowing the body to rebuild itself. You will need to dig down to why the immune system is imbalanced in the first place and this will tell you how you begin to finally feel better, reduce your thyroid antibodies and even take your condition into remission. You will have to create your own health timeline. Look back at your overall history as far back as you can remember. Look for infections, periods of severe stress, the use of medications (especially antibiotics, antacids, and oral contraceptives), accidents, and exposure to toxins. These are events that may have contributed to Hashimoto’s. Once you do, you will know what types of changes you need to implement to make yourself feel better.
If you need further support, please check out the list of lab tests inside the “Testing” chapter of my book, Hashimoto’s Root Cause. I also offer a 12-week program, Hashimoto’s Self Management Program. Here are some resources I hope you find helpful as well. ❤️
BUILDING YOUR OWN HEALTH TIMELINE
Hashimoto’s Self-Management Program
ROOT CAUSE RESET