Nickel Allergies May Result in Weight Gain in Menopausal Women

Patient Expert

The changes in women’s bodies during menopause can cause a variety of issues to emerge. For instance, a seemingly innocuous metal – nickel – can throw a middle-age woman’s body out of whack.

Nickel Allergy

Nickel allergy is one of the most common types of metal allergies and can be chronic and recurring issue. This type of allergy, which can develop at any age, is more prevalent in women than men.  Furthermore, a nickel allergy can be a lifelong issue. Here’s more information on nickel allergy:

While we often think of nickel in relation to jewelry, researchers are actually looking into whether nickel in food may play a part in health issues. For instance, one study focused on 87 people (mostly women) in their early 50s who had an average BMI of 32. Nickel allergies were diagnosed in 50 percent of the women and 13 percent of the men in this study. In comparison, nickel allergy affects 13 percent of women and 2 percent of the men in the general population.

The participants were prescribed a balanced diet that eliminated or restricted foods that contained high concentrations of nickel. After six months, 56 percent of the female participants had lost 5.1 of their body fat and 4.6 inches from their waist. Their BMI also decreased by 4.2 percent.

Researchers believe high dietary nickel may increase already high levels of inflammation in menopausal women caused by nickel allergies. Furthermore, increased amounts of nickel may affect gut bacteria that triggers the inflammation process in obese people.

Dietary Sources of Nickel

Plants acquire nickel from the soil and water (and then animals acquire nickel from eating these plants). These rates can be increased by the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, industrial effluents, urban waste and proximity to a nickel smelter. Foods with the highest level of nickel content are:

  • Whole wheat
  • Whole grain
  • Rye
  • Oat
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat
  • Cocoa
  • Chocolate
  • Gelatin
  • Baking powder
  • Soy products
  • Red kidney beans
  • Legumes (peas, lentils, peanut, soya beans and chickpeas)
  • Dried fruits
  • Canned foods
  • Strong licorice
  • Certain vitamin supplements

Other foods also contain considerable amount of nickel. These foods include beer, red wine, mackerel, tuna, herring, shellfish, sunflower seeds, linseeds, hazelnuts, marzipan, walnuts, tomatoes, onion and raw carrots.

Obviously, if you suspect you have a nickel allergy, talk to your doctor. You also may want to look for ways to lower your nickel intake. For instance, check the contents label on your vitamin supplements to make sure it doesn’t include nickel. (I just checked mine and the supplements I take do have nickel). You also may want to try a low-nickel diet; however, the long-term effects of this type of diet aren’t known at this point.

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Primary Sources for This Sharepost:

Lukits, A. (2015). Foods high in nickel linked to obesity in some women. The Wall Street Journal.

Lusi, E. A.,e t al. (2015). High prevalence of nickel allergy in an overweight female population: A pilot observational analysis. PLOS ONE.

Sharma, A. D. (2013). Low nickel diet in dermatology. Indian Journal of Dermatology.