Trace elements

Nickel : use and definition of this element

Nickel is a very common metal but also a frequently encountered allergen. Nickel allergy may be a simple contact allergy or an allergic reaction following the ingestion of foods containing nickel even in small quantities. Here’s all you need to know about the benefits and dangers of nickel.

Nickel Characteristics:

  • Regulator of blood glucose
  • Can be used to treat anemia
  • Has a hypotensive effect
  • Found in certain seafood and plants
  • Toxic if consumed in excess

Why consume foods rich in nickel?

What’s the use of nickel today?

Glucose regulator

Nickel tends to increase the effect of insulin, so it will help lower blood sugar levels.

Promotes the absorption of iron

Provided in a reasonable amount in the diet, nickel can be important to fight anemia since it helps the body to better absorb iron.

Hypotensive

By opposing the effect of adrenaline, nickel will help lower blood pressure and can be an ally for people with hypertension.

Nickel, a widespread allergy?

Nickel allergy is widespread as it affects 10% of the world’s population. It results in redness, itching or other skin reaction following the wearing of jewelry or metal objects. Food allergy to nickel can also occur following ingestion of foods containing a significant proportion of this element. It is manifested by itching and rashes all over the body. While nickel contact allergy is widespread, food allergy is a little rarer.

20 nickel-rich foods

To learn more about each of these foods, see our Food Index.

  • Dark chocolate
  • Pineapple
  • Cocoa
  • Oysters
  • Herring
  • Spinach
  • Green beans
  • Onions
  • Pea
  • Lens
  • Bean
  • Margarine
  • Pear
  • Plum
  • Apricot
  • Cherry
  • Pecan nuts
  • Cashew nuts
  • Oats
  • Soy

How to use nickel?

Use of nickel

The recommendations of ANSES are 75 μg of nickel per day for an adult.

Undesirable effects of nickel

Consequence of a nickel deficiency

Nickel deficiency is poorly known because it is rare. This is due to the stock of nickel contained in particular in the lungs and thyroid gland that avoids being deficient even with a low dietary intake.

Consequences of excess nickel

Nickel is toxic if consumed in excessive amounts. In particular, there is an upsurge in lung, larynx and prostate cancers in people exposed to nickel too frequently in the workplace.

It is also a substance that is possibly carcinogenic to humans and allergenic for many people.

Interactions with other nutrients

The assimilation of nickel is diminished in the presence of iron, copper or zinc. Similarly, vitamin C or dairy products can disturb its absorption.

On the other hand, in case of anemia, the sufficient supply of nickel can favor the absorption of iron.

Chemical Properties

Nickel is a metal that has become very common, its atomic number is 28. The nickel symbol is Ni, its atomic mass is 58.6934 and its density is 8.902 g.cm-3. The nickel atom has two distinct electronic configurations.

Nickel is particularly used for making alloys and coins. It is a white metal, density 8.9. It is stable in air and water and does not oxidize easily, hence its preferential use.

Nutrient History

The use of nickel in alloys dates back several millennia (15th century BC). Its trace is found in many parts of the world, such as China or North Africa.

In the 19 th century, nickel ore was used extensively to color glass. In 1830, the chemist Mr. Faraday develops the nickel plating which improves the mechanical qualities of various materials.

In 1880, the first coin made from a nickel alloy was born in Europe (Switzerland), then this use will be democratized and nickel will be used on a large scale for the production of coins.

In 1920, the use of nickel metal for the manufacture of kitchen utensils became very common. During the Second World War, nickel will be one of the most used metals to carry out armor.

Today we are still discovering the effects of nickel on the human body, so that precise nutritional recommendations remain to be defined.