Nickel - a nasty toxic metal

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Nickel (Ni) is a nasty toxic metal and a known carcinogen. It is one of the metals we see most commonly in toxicity tests – it appears stuck onto DNA, stuck on to translocator protein and is often present in blood at high levels. Nickel is a problem because it “looks” like zinc. Zinc deficiency is very common in people eating Western diets, so if the body needs zinc and it is not there, it will use look-alike Ni instead. But Ni does not do the job and, indeed, gets in the way of normal biochemistry. Zinc is an essential co-factor in 300 enzyme systems that we know of and maybe others we do not know of, so there is enormous potential for harm from Ni. Ni sensitivity is very common and often diagnosed from rashes from jewellery, zips, watches etc. What we know from people with chemical sensitivity is that they often have toxic loads of those things they are sensitive to. So Ni sensitivity often equates with Ni toxicity.

Where does nickel come from?

Ni is unavoidable if you live a Western lifestyle! Many industrial processes release Ni into the atmosphere.

  • Stainless steel contains 14% nickel, this includes cookware and eating utensils! Use cast iron pans, glass or ceramic.
  • Jewellery – used because it is such a versatile, malleable metal. Well absorbed with piercing.
  • Catalytic converters in cars release fine particulate Ni into the atmosphere – so fine that it cannot be filtered out by the lining of the bronchus, so it is well absorbed by inhalation and easily gets into blood vessels. Here it triggers inflammation and arterial disease.
  • Cigarette smoke.
  • Medical prostheses.

What can be done to get rid of it?

  • Avoid the above as best as possible.
  • Detox - far infrared saunaing regimes work reliably well for pesticides and volatile organic compounds but I do not think they are as reliable as for heavy metals (although we know they are excreted in sweat). The picture is confusing because heavy metals do not distribute evenly through the body. They bioaccumulate in certain organs. Ni bio-accumulates in breast and ovary. This means they may be excreted unevenly and this may be confusing things. Ni binds to –SH groups (sulphur-hydrogen) as are found in sulphur containing amino acids such as glutathione and methionine. It is detoxified and excreted by glutathione conjugation in red blood cells by glutathione-S-transferase (this can be measured by glutathione-S-transferase studies).

Dr John McLaren-Howard suggests the following regime:

  • Make sure your nutritional supplement regime includes zinc – up to a total of 30mgs daily.
  • FOR ONE WEEK
    Take L-methionine 500mgs 15-30 mins before breakfast
    Take L-glutathione 500mgs after breakfast
    Ensure daily zinc intake is 30mgs
  • FOR ONE MONTH
    Take L-methionine 500mgs 15-30 mins before breakfast
    Take L-glutathione 500mgs after breakfast
    Repeat at lunch time
    Ensure daily zinc intake is 30mgs
  • FOR ONE MONTH
    Take L-methionine 500mgs 15-30 mins before breakfast
    Take L-glutathione 500mgs after breakfast
    Ensure daily zinc intake is 30mgs

Indeed, this is also a good regime for many heavy metals because they behave similarly to Ni! For mercury, I would use the same regime but in addition to zinc also take selenium 500 mcgms daily.

In the longer term continue with Nutritional Supplements. However, if Ni is unavoidable, and/or you are a slow detoxifier, then it may be wise to continue glutathione long term.

See also

Related articles

Detoxing - Far Infrared Sauna (FIRS)

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