WHAT IS NICKEL?
WHEN WAS NICKEL DISCOVERED?
When early miners first came across nickel they were confused as to what it actually was because it acted in a similar way to many existing metals. For example, both copper and nickel were found in ores with a green tint. However, both ores reacted in different ways to heat. In 1751 Swedish mineralogist Axel Fredrik Cronstedt made the breakthrough and recognised nickel as a new element.
HOW DOES YOUR BODY USE NICKEL?
The human body contains approximately 10mg of nickel of which the majority is concentrated in the hormone producing tissues, the kidneys and the lungs. The exact function of this nutrient is still unclear as there is very little research on the effect nickel has on humans. However, it is believed to have the following roles in the body:
– Activating certain enzymes.
– Assisting in the absorption of iron.
– Assisting in the metabolism of carbohydrates and certain dietary fats.
– Assisting in the production of certain hormones.
– Assisting in the production of red blood cells.
– Keeping your skin healthy.
– Promoting good bone structure.
– Promoting optimal growth.
HOW MUCH NICKEL DO YOU NEED?
Currently there is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for nickel. However, most sources suggest that an intake of around 0.1 milligrams (mg) per day is enough to meet your body’s needs.
WHICH FOODS CONTAIN NICKEL?
Since the available research on nickel is very limited it is difficult to determine the exact amount found in specific foods. However, some of the richest sources include almonds, brown beans, chickpeas, hazelnuts, oats and walnuts.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GETTING TOO MUCH NICKEL?
Getting too much nickel from food alone is very difficult as it is believed an overdose only occurs when 100mg or more of this nutrient is consumed. However, it is possible to ingest toxic levels through inhalation of nickel fumes. Furthermore, approximately 10% of people in the UK are allergic to nickel meaning that they may experience toxicity symptoms when exposed to much smaller amounts. If nickel toxicity does occur it can lead to the following negative symptoms:
– High blood pressure.
– Increased lung cancer risk.
– Increased susceptibility to infection.
– Reduced bone development.
– Reduced growth rate.
– Skin rashes.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF NOT GETTING ENOUGH NICKEL?
Not getting enough nickel is very rare as it is required in such small amounts. At the time of writing there are no deficiency symptoms associated with nickel in humans.
Whilst nickel is classed as a micromineral and is therefore an essential nutrient for humans, very little is known about its exact role. However, I hope this article has helped you learn something new about nickel.
Now I want to hear your thoughts. Has this article helped you learn anything new about the role of nickel in human health? Have I missed any important nickel facts? Let me know by leaving a comment.