Your Nickel Rash Could Become Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome

By Mary Herrington (bio below)

Before November, 2015 I had never heard of Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome. I had been experiencing allergic rashes to jewelry for years. and couldn’t wear anything but yellow gold. What I didn’t know was that a simple nickel allergic reaction on the outside of my body could also cause systemic issues inside my body. Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome (SNAS) causes not only a rash from nickel on one’s hands, eyelids, inner elbows, knees and buttock but can also involve the respiratory system, neurological system and gastrointestinal system.SNAS can cause rhinitis and bronchial asthma, brain fog and hallucinations and even Celiac-like symptoms.

It took over 40 years for me to get the correct diagnosis. After over a decade of suffering from gastrointestinal issues (severe pain upon eating, bloating, gas, weight loss of over 40 pounds, bleeding gums, blisters in my mouth, inability to eat solids for weeks at a time), and visiting the top Gastroenterologists in the United States, no one could figure out what I was suffering from. I visited allergists, who said food allergies don’t present issues in the gastrointestinal tract. I went to dermatologists who gave me creams for the nickel rash, insisted it was a contact dermatitis, and didn’t believe me when I said the rashes occurred after I ate specific foods (even after I showed them my food diary!). I went to homeopathic MD’s, natural-paths, nutritionists, and dietitians. I even had food sensitivity tests run.


Related post: Are You Allergic To Your Wedding Ring?


My tests came back negative for Celiac markers and Chrone’s markers, yet I had the exact symptoms. They diagnosed me with IBS and when I followed the IBS diet, I discovered IBS was NOT  my issue. I was diagnosed with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and DID see a huge positive result going gluten-free, but it didn’t stop the pain 100%, the blisters or the bloating. I was told it was in my head. I was anxious. I was in need of anti-anxiety meds. I tried those. I was anxious because eating hurt. I ended up with my body revolting against the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) and it almost killed me after one dose.

Diagnosed by an Immunologist: Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome

In an act of desperation, I went to an immunologist. She looked at my nickel rash, which at that time was not only on my hand (the common place where a Systemic Nickel Allergy begins without a contact reaction), but also on my eyelids, inner elbows, behind my knees and my buttocks. I shared with her my food diary, my food sensitivity testing and asked for every immunological test under the sun to be run.

She listened carefully to me. She took notes. After her inspection, she returned with a packet labeled: Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome and explained to me that I had to further limit what I ate.

Foods Naturally High in Nickel

I was already down to only 50 foods, out of the 250 I was tested for. What else would I possibly have to eliminate???

The list of high nickel foods is as follows:

  • All canned goods
  • All nuts (cashews, pecans, pistachios, almonds, etc.)
  • All seeds (sunflower, chia, flax, poppy, etc.)
  • All soy (soy flour, edamame, soy in processed foods)
  • All legumes (peanut butter, peanuts, kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, lentils etc.)
  • All chocolate
  • All red wine
  • All pork
  • All green leafy vegetables
  • Oatmeal, buckwheat, flax meal
  • Flour (wheat – we were already gluten-free though)
  • All black tea and green tea
  • Fruit: Pineapple, Pears, Bananas
  • Dried Fruits like raisins
  • Coconut
  • Vegetables: Sprouts, Brussel sprouts, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Corn, Mushrooms, Onions, Carrots, Avocados, Tomatoes, Rhubarb
  • Shellfish
  • Fish: Herring, Mackerel, Tuna, Salmon
  • Processed meats
  • Baking powder
  • Marzipan
  • Gelatin
  • Margarine
  • Commercially made salad dressings
  • Vitamins containing  nickel
  • Water

Post Diagnosis, Next Steps

After a weekend of being in shock, depressed and angry I decided I had to pick myself up and find a solution. I researched SNAS world-wide. I spoke with experts in the United States, Denmark, India and Europe. I began to come up a plan to grow my own vegetables with as little nickel as possible. The concept of the carnation flower experiment kept occurring to me: when a white carnation is placed in colored water, the colored water is drawn up to the leaves and changes the color in the leaves. That is what happens in plants with nickel.

Since nickel is a micro-nutrient found in the air, water and soil it is impossible to live a nickel free lifestyle but it HAD to be possible to grow food without as much nickel exposure. I began looking into hydroponics. I scheduled meetings, and met with, the head of botany programs in North Carolina. I learned all I could about growing food without soil and in an environment I could control.

In the end, this is how I decided to handle my diagnosis:

  1. The aeroponic option of growing food is what will work best for me. I purchased a Tower Garden, designed by the expert at Disney’s Epcot. It is 2.5′ x 5′ and sits perfectly in my dining room. In the dead of the winter, I will be picking fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and strawberries from the comfort of inside my home.
  2. I buy all my eggs and meat directly from the farmer. I am blessed to live 5 miles from an organic 200+ year old farm. I have seen the chickens free roaming on the farm and met the cows as they head out to pasture. There is minimal processing and the feed they are given is not high in nickel. The chickens scratch and peck for grubs and insects, the way nature intended them to eat and the cows eat only grass from the pasture.
  3. I buy Gerber Pure or Nestle Pure Life water. It is the only water which is nickel free and I use that water for my aeroponic tower.
  4. I replaced all my stainless steel kitchen cookware with Cornings Vision glassware and all my stainless steel bake-ware with silicon (whisks and tongs included).nickel free corning vision cookware
  5. I am taking Juice Plus supplements in order to have the nutrients I need from fruits and vegetables I otherwise cannot get. The protein structure is removed from the fruits and vegetables during the dehydration process, therefore no reaction can be triggered in my body.juice plus for nickel allergy

Yes, it is difficult at first, but I have gotten the hang of it and now are working on recreating over 500 published gluten free recipes to be low-nickel recipes. In doing so, I have also joined with the meal planning company RealPlans (read more about it here) to bring more gluten free, low nickel recipes to the public in 2016.

Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome is not rare, it is just rarely diagnosed. If you suffer from any of the symptoms above, please contact an immunologist and speak with them about your symptoms. Do not-self diagnose. The low-nickel diet, when not done properly, can be extremely nutrient deficient.


Do you suffer from or suspect a nickel allergy or Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome? How do YOU cope?


mary herrington nickel allergy 1

Mary’s Bio: Eating gluten-free was born out of necessity to help Mary, and her family, realize a healthier lifestyle. After years of helping friends who were recently diagnosed or whose children were recently diagnosed with issues concerning wheat, dairy and corn, she decided to put that knowledge into a way to help others. For more information about the meal planning program visit RealPlans.


  1. rita on February 12, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I’ve been following this diet for 3 months and it has made a tremendous help. My list of high nickle foods is from Penn State, and does not mention many foods on your list. Where is your list from? Also, I had some chocolate recently and had a serious flare up. It’s discouraging that so little is known about this condition.

    • Jennifer Roberge on March 11, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      Hi Rita – The list is from cross checking different countries dept of agriculture lists (US, Denmark, India, Australia) as well as the list from an allergist. The list also contains info based on individual nickel properties for all foods from a database containing all minerals and nutrients – not a site specifically dedicated to nickel allergies.

      • rita on March 11, 2016 at 3:15 pm

        thanks for your reply, Jennifer. It’s weird that our lists are so different. Cabbage and potatoes are allowed on mine and seem to be okay for me. Do you know of any clinics where oral nickle desenstiization is available? I can’t believe I have this horrible condition with so little medical support. I recently had a horrible flare which apparently was due to the mackerel in the fish oil capsules I started taking. It took me weeks to get it under control. I am worried about developing a deficiency due to such a limited diet. How do you get your Omega 3?

      • cathi brown on October 14, 2019 at 6:59 am

        Could I follow this food list I am also allergic to Chromate and chromium and sensitive to saluclates This would be so helpful if I could follow this What fo you eat???? Thank you for all your suggestions What do you use for your skin and hair products I would love to buy these fruit powers and vegetables but also have an ash allergy This is awful not sure how much ash would be in these products Thank u

      • Molly on May 5, 2020 at 1:18 pm

        You need to be careful combining lists of foods from around the world. If you source locally, the nickel content in your region may be different and the list of foods are different. It is best to source your list locally.

        • Mary Herrington on August 3, 2020 at 4:48 pm

          Very true. Local lists can be hard to come by. For myself, any foods grown in the mountain area of NC are high in nickel, but those grown in the Piedmont area are not. As with many things, this is unfortunately a try and see diet. 🙁

    • Amanda on September 21, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      Rita, if your budget is not too tight, you can get your omega-3 from pasture-raised products (eggs, dairy and/or meat). They have more omega-3 than factory-farmed/grocery store, and have a healthy omega-3:omega-6 ratio, which again factory-farmed products do not. (also since making the switch and having eggs every day for breakfast my good cholesterol went up and my bad cholestorol went down, with my overall cholesterol down).
      Yes, its frustrating how few resources there are for SNAS and how very much on our own we are… But its better than it used to be! 10 years ago there wasnt even a name for it! And my doctor only knew about it causing my eczema. I’m the one who thought my headaches and fatigue were related, but had no info on that.
      Has anyone else had a swollen lymph node (mine was calcified and the dr. insisted on removing it, sure it was cancer but turned out it wasn’t) that they could not determine the cause? It would get problems coinciting with a nickel flare-up, so I’m convinced that was the cause.

      • Mary Herrington on January 23, 2017 at 6:00 pm

        Oral desensitization is only available in Europe. 🙁

        • Margret Swenson on September 1, 2019 at 10:26 am

          That is absurd. A nickel free diet is totally unrealistic and lacks nutrients. Telling people to follow a nickel free diet is cruel. There has to be something that binds the nickel in the diet. For one I have read Vitamin C does it. That is what we should be talking about. Not this absurd nickel-free diet. Good grief!!

          • Rebecca on November 18, 2020 at 5:25 pm

            Margaret, there is nickel in so many foods that the lack of nickel in someones diet is extremely rare. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that although there are certainly some people who warrant getting upset at, those who encourage a nickel-free diet are not one of them.

            And breeeeeeeeathe……….

        • Patricia COQUELAERE on January 8, 2022 at 7:32 am

          J’habite en France et je n’ai jamais entendu parler de désensibilisation !
          On m’a dit que ça n’existait pas !!!

      • Amanda M on July 17, 2019 at 10:00 am

        I had the exact same thing! Groin lymph node got extremely swollen and calcified. Family doc sent me to a specialist/surgeon, he said it could be 1 of 3 reasons: virus which he said it was not, cancer, or sometimes they swell and no one know why. He did a biopsy which came back negative, but he said its too inflamed, he thought it was cancer anyways and had it removed. Turns out it was not cancer. My personal theory is that it was from always inadvertently eating some nickel and having flare-ups. I try my best but as I’m sure you know, always reacting to one thing or another (from eating out, trying new things, etc).

  2. Carolne on February 26, 2016 at 2:10 am

    This piece is very valuable!. I knew very little about nickel allergies and am trying to learn more due to a family member with a nickel allergy and to be able to suggest better product review items. This was incredibly eye opening. I have guilt for pushing the red wine over the holidays to our family member.

    Thanks for the good work! Please keep it up!

    • maryherrington0401 on January 12, 2017 at 7:56 am

      Thank you Caroline. I hope you have had a wonderful year.

  3. Tammi on March 23, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Great article! I have a question for you about your recommending Juice Plus products. As I understand it,some of the ingredients are on the “do not eat” list. How is it possible that Juice Plus removes the nickel? Or is nickel in such small amounts it does not cause you to have a reaction? I really need a vitamin/food source like JP but am concerned about these products also causing problems (plus they’re expensive!). Thoughts greatly appreciated. Thanks again for posting this article; very helpful.

    • maryherrington0401 on April 13, 2016 at 8:27 am

      I dealt with the same question when I first started. Great question! I did react at first to the “green” ones, I was nauseated. They are very potent and many people react regardless of nickel allergy. After 3 days, I was fine. I just had to take 1/2 the dose at first then slowly work my way up to the full dose. Yes, the are “expensive” when you look only at the cost of the product, but when you look at what it costs you in your health (doctor visits, pain, etc.) then they aren’t that expensive. 🙂 They generally cost less, per day, than going out to coffee. I also find growing my own greens in the Tower Garden is wonderful. Yes, it is more “expensive” in the beginning, but after 2 months, i was able to eat more than baby spinach and mixed greens. Yesterday, I had some fennel I grew and it was delicious and I had no reaction!!!

      • Carol on May 21, 2020 at 2:46 am

        Hi Mary. Just wanted to understand what is meant by the protein structure is removed in the juice supplement…does this mean the fruits/veggies that are normally not okay for a nickel allergy are okay to consume in this form because they become nickel free? And can the same be said for any other fruit/juice supplement or is that specific to that brand? Thanks so much

        • Mary Herrington on August 3, 2020 at 4:51 pm

          Sorry for the delay in response. I was incapacitated due to a severe brain injury. At this time, it is understood that during the process, because the amount of nickel is so small they may be ok for some to ingest. I do not take any other supplements from JP so I cannot speak on that behalf, I am sorry.

  4. maryherrington0401 on April 13, 2016 at 8:29 am

    Honestly, Rita, I am still finding a Fish Oil I don’t react to. Currently, I am using one from Costco which doesn’t cause me any issues. The capsules are huge but so far they work. I am always on the look out for things that make my system go crazy and the ability to track it down.

  5. Doug on June 15, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Thank you for this very informative post regarding nickel allergies! My name is Doug, and I am a researcher from Loma Linda University School of Medicine doing research with Dr. Sharon Jacob on nickel allergies. Our goal is to assess the number of people in the United States confirmed to be allergic to nickel. We intend to use this information to encourage policy makers to establish safer use guidelines for nickel in common items like earring posts, keys, door handles and electronics. This academic survey is completely anonymous, and you have a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card upon completion of the survey. Thank you!

    -The LLU Nickel Team

    • Mandi tonks on May 24, 2019 at 9:07 am

      My son has just been confirmed as having a Nickel I allergy. He had knee reconstruction surgery in August 2018, using titanium screws and a plate. The area around the wound was always itching, angry with a red rash that spread. In September/October 2018 he developed a small patch of hair loss on his scalp and was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata, and has lost over 80% of his hair. The hair loss has now spread to his legs, and the cause has been given as autoimmune related with an “unknown” cause. The rash was diagnosed as dermatitis and cleared up with prescribed cream.
      My concern is, could the Alopecia be a result of a nickel I allergy/hypersensitivity if there elements of nickel in the titanium implants?

      • Amanda M on July 17, 2019 at 10:31 am

        That was my exact fear! I had ACL replacement surgery last year and they use metal parts to attach it. When they called to ask if i had any allergies I said I was severly, SEVERELY allergic to nickel. Didn’t hear anything back and I worried about the process/materials, so I called the hospital/nurse and explained to her. She told me no problem the “endo-button” is titanium. I said yes but is it 100% titanium. She offered to check and said yes, the box says 100% titanium alloy so you’re fine. NO that is NOT what the word alloy means!!! I politely explained an alloy to her. She said she would check with their rep on the specifics and get back to me, that if not there are other options but she’s sure it will be fine. Few days later she calls me back and says yeah, we’re going with plan B (bioabsorbable parts on both sides instead of one of those and 1 metal). In the meantime i had done my own research and it depends on the conpany producing the parts, but the standards they follow require a certain percentage of titanium, certain percent of other specific metals, and up to “10% other”… Well, if thats nickel, you’re screwed. I would see if the hospital has a record of the part number or the specific brand/part, and have someone provide you with the specific make-up of the part, and seebif they can detail if it contains “other” metal and what that is. If its nickel or if they cannot tell you or the hospital doesnt know which specific ones they used last year, I would seriously consider having them remove/replace the parts. Sadly, you and your son are the ONLY ones who can advocate for him. No one even in the medical community understands about this allergy, maybe a handful of specialists worldwide. I worry about getting older and needing replacement surgeries and the availability of nickel-free parts. Also, people will try to tell you that the titianium alloy parts do not release free nickel, however if you google, there are enough documented cases of systemic reactions to metal implants in nickel allergic people (no studies, but many case examples), that they do say it warrants further investigation. So, can’t say for certain, but I would never get an implant with nickel given how sensitive i am to it! (Skin issues, some GI issues, fatigue/brain fog, etc). Best of luck!

  6. Wendy on August 13, 2016 at 11:04 am

    I have a question about gluten free… Most of it has soy and brown rice flour. What do you do for bread?

    • Jennifer Roberge on August 25, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      Yes, you’re right – could you make it yourselves or skip it entirely?

    • maryherrington0401 on September 7, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      I have started to use Cassava flour and find I am not reacting to it. I make a Brazilian roll which I found on Pinterest with success. Mostly, though, I don’t eat gf bread. Even when I make it. I have to use cassava, rice flour and tapioca starch. I make it for my family and don’t eat it myself.

    • Taylor on September 20, 2016 at 11:52 pm

      I make my own using a really simple recipe I found on Pinterest. More often, I just go without bread or I whip up some fresh white flour tortillas because they’re significantly easier than bread. Buttermilk biscuits are also an easy to make alternative to store-bought bread.

  7. Karen Mariosa on September 3, 2016 at 6:50 am

    This is the most helpful article I have read .I have been diagnosed with a systematic allergy to nickel after months of having the inside of my mouth and tongue so swollen that I could not swallow and a rash of blisters on my legs and back .I am now in the 3rd month of my diet ,as I am also allergic to wheat ,eggs and milk ,and have lost more than 20kg but am a lot better. My mouth swells still but not like before . I live in Rome and have been told that There is a vaccine for nickel allergies I am still waiting for information regarding this .

    • maryherrington0401 on January 12, 2017 at 7:50 am

      Hi Karen. I am glad you like the article. I understand those mouth blisters! I get them myself. I would love to hear more about the nickel vaccine. I have heard it is available only in Europe. Here in the U.S. we are no where near that. Please let me know how you’re doing.

      • laurie main on January 27, 2018 at 4:55 pm

        I too suffer from swelling & mouth blisters .which are painful & itchy .what to do for supplements ,vitamins & bread?

    • Rochelle on November 2, 2022 at 3:45 pm

      I wonder how they vaccinate for Nickel allergies… also, why this isn’t available in the US is beyond me. I suffer from the kind that cause blinding chest pain (it literally feels like I’m wearing a bra made of pain) and then once that subsides, a few hours later… hives… everywhere! It ruined my 1st day at a new job. It kinda ruins… well, everything. Dealing with this while poor is a nightmare.

  8. Marsha Spain on October 17, 2016 at 8:40 am

    This site is very helpful. I was diagnosed with a systemic nickel allergy over six months ago by a dermatologist. I am still having a hard time giving up some foods that are on the list on this site. I have been following the list the dermatologist gave me but still having symptoms of itchy eyelids and patches of eczema on my neck. Being a vegetarian for years has made this change very hard. I really want to try to start a hydroponic garden so I can eat more veggies. I can no longer garden outside because I itch even if I cover all my skin. I am gluten free and try to avoid high carb foods like rice so I have been using coconut flour. I have also been putting coconut cream in my coffee every morning. After reading the information above I realized I need to get rid of the coconut. This diet is no fun, but I know it’s no the end of the world.

    So glad to find blogs like this!

    • maryherrington0401 on October 28, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      I am glad you are finding help on this site and with the article. I would be happy to share my experience with a hydroponic tower and how to do low nickel dirt gardens. I was raw vegan for a long time, so boy do I understand how hard it is to not eat beans and soy!!
      Please visit my website to schedule a 1:1 if you’d like. It is done best via the Free Essential Oil pop up or link.

    • maryherrington0401 on January 12, 2017 at 7:49 am

      Hi Marsha. Just checking in to see how you’re doing. I’d love to hear an update after removing coconut.

    • Angie U. on August 18, 2021 at 5:44 am

      I was diagnosed with a nickel allergy 2 months ago from my allergist and my food list of foods to avoid said to avoid coffee.

  9. Anna Carolinna Macedo on January 22, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Hi! Thank you for the informations. I was diagnosed with nickel allergy and I have fought a fight against it.
    Would like to know about some things …
    I’m from Brazil and here we consume lots of cassava or tapioca flour. Do you have any knowledge if it influences the low nickel diet?
    Sugars like brown and high carbohydrate fruits like bananas too?
    I am very difficult to get out of the crisis despite not being consumed grains, dark green vegetables and oilseeds. I cook in pots of ceramics and aluminum, I do not know where else to go …
    If you can help me, I’m very grateful!

    • tara on January 23, 2017 at 5:52 pm

      I avoid using aluminum and aluminum foil. I believe the cooking vessels made of aluminum also contain nickle. Same with stainless steel.

      • Mary Herrington on January 25, 2017 at 3:02 pm

        That is true. I don’t use aluminum foil either. So much cross contamination around us.

    • Mary Herrington on January 23, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      Hi Anna. It’s Mary. I wrote the article.
      First of all, welcome to the world of low nickel living.
      Second, good news is cassava/tapioca are generally low in nickel. Sugar and bananas should also be fine. For me, personally, I cannot handle foods which are processed when I am in the middle of a flare because foods are processed in stainless steel (industry wide), so when I am flaring, I can only eat whole foods. The aluminum pans could also be causing some issues. Are you eating with stainless steel utensils? That can cross contaminate your food also. Take a look at my website for more information. It is based solely on Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome. Go through the articles. There is a ton of information on it. 🙂

  10. Heather on February 24, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    I am also allergic to nickle. I have been trying to reduce my nickle. I heard about detoxing the body with infrared saunas. It detoxes the body of many metals including nickle. I am going to try it. Also a special program called NAET. A special trained accupunturest can treat all types of allergies. look into it.

  11. Craig on March 9, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Firstly thanks for the article. I suspected my condition a few weeks ago and only finally come to the realisation that i have found whats wrong with me. I tried all the doctors, diets and creams in the world. I even went vegan but now i see why it didn’t work for me. I want to live a healthy nutritious life but i need help finding how. I’m very hesitant of taking vitamin supplement because they are processed in a way and there are no requirements to state nickel content. Any experience and help on this matter woud be appreciated. I don’t have space and time to grow my own veg. Are organic vegetables better? Any help appreciated. Thanks

    • Jennifer Roberge on March 13, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      Hi Craig – I don’t believe there are any differences with organic vs conventional produce in terms of nickel contamination.

    • Mary Herrington on March 13, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      Hi Craig. I, too, tried going vegan to get my symptoms under control before I knew it was Nickel related. That was a true mess!

      You should be hesitant about supplements. Anything that is processed is done with stainless steel and therefore risks cross contamination.

      Join the Facebook group Eating with Nickel Allergy Syndrome (I think that’s what it is called-I’m on my phone sorry) . It is a great group!

      Organic or not may not matter in regards to nickel. What’s more important is the soil the food was grown in. Is it serpentine soil (high in meteoroid activity)? That’s the key.

  12. Lora on March 29, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Hello everyone. I recently went to the dermatologist to figure out why/how my whole body broke out in hives/rashes. Turned out I am sereverly allergic to nickel (and other things too unfortunatley. I’ve read nickel and colbalt allergies kinda go hand in hand). I am still to to all of this and have been researching online for something more solid when it comes to what to avoid eating. For example, one website claims it’s fine to eat spinach, asparagus, potatoes and the other refers to them as “avoid at all costs”. I’m just confused on what is true and what isn’t. I understand that everyone reacts differently. But I’m a bit afraid to test it out myself in fear of breaking out all over again. I hope I’m not alone on this… I’m concerned of my health now that I need to avoid a lot of products that are nutritious and healthy. Does anyone have an accurate list of veggies and fruits that we ARE allowed to eat? Please and thank you!!!

  13. djsolomon2012 on April 9, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    My immunologist diagnosed me with
    Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome
    – I see you list pork as an off limits food-
    Where did you find it was to be avoided ?
    Your list of must avoid foods is very comprehnsive a closest to what I have read in the literature . Please post about pork ?
    Thanks !

  14. Mary Herrington on April 18, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    The entire FDA list of foods and minerals, etc is at

  15. Catherine on August 15, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Is the only way to confirm SNAS by following the diet? I am allergic to nickel (contact dermatitis), but have been experiencing swollen eyes, facial rash/edema/eczema, rash on hands (one finger is particularly severe)/inside of elbows for almost a year. I have been tested for almost every disease out there. I have no GI symptoms (except throwing up once after eating a banana and nausea another time shortly after eating a banana). I have been tested for banana allergy – just need to avoid, but not a “true” allergy. I am so frustrated. I have been on prednisone about 10 times in the past year.

    • Mary on August 15, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      To the best of my knowledge it is how to handle the symptoms when they become Systemic. There is not a test that can be given other than the patch test. If your symptoms are that of SNAS, I would try being dedicated to the diet for 90 days to see the results.

    • Lyn on August 16, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      Your symptoms sound exactly like mine, except for inside elbows – I experience occasional itch on my forearms.
      I am interested to know whether you have found answers in the 2 years since your post?
      I hope you are on the road to recovery.

  16. Catherine on August 16, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Thank you for responding. My patch test was positive to several things: propolis, linalool, benzyl alcohol and nickel. I am going on vacation in a couple of weeks, so will wait until I get back to try the nickel-free diet. The Balsam of Peru diet did not work. If the nickel diet doesn’t work, my next option is an elimination diet, followed by an appointment with an expert in mast cell activation syndrome.

  17. Mary Lou on September 7, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Hello Mary! Your info is great. I figured out I had SNAS myself,long story, and was able to confirm with contacting the lab MELISA in Wisconsin and having blood work done. I had to pay for for it, had to have an MD order it. There are 3 such labs in world. High allergic response, blood, for nickel is 10…my value is 14! I’ve been coping for 24 mos now. It’s very hard! Managing it takes layers of knowledge. You’re info and comments from others has taught me new things, solutions. Thank you. So google MELISSA…
    Thank you so much!

  18. Mary Lou on September 7, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Oops, my above post has important typo.
    It’s MELISA to Google, learn.
    The lab I used from their recommendation in U.S. is

    They have lots of information, education,few helpful ideas…

  19. Kathy Caron on October 5, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Hi Mary,
    Would you mind telling me if you are employed?
    I’ve worked in the same industry my whole career, I changed companies, same industry (just a much dustier environment that I didn’t see until after hire) I had to leave the job after 6 weeks. I developed a rash that worsened by the day, my hands, arms, legs, and back. When I was in the building, I began to feel drugged after a few hours. After 8 months, last week, the dermatologist did a patch test and found Nickle Sulphate the culprit. Glitter and some earring always bothered me. I didn’t think much of it, I have no other allergies. Now I am super sensitive to Nickle. I don’t know what to do for work now! Any comments would be helpful!

    • Mary Herrington on October 5, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      Hi Kathy!
      Thank you for your comment. I am so sorry you are suffering. SNAS is a horrible thing to deal with. In response to your question about where I am employed: I am self-employed in my own home. I run a consulting business for those with SNAS and other food allergies as well as a parenting consulting business. You will need to assess your skill sets and see where else you can apply them in order to move forward in your work life. I wish I had a better answer. Please feel free to poke around to see if any information there is helpful.

      • Su on April 5, 2018 at 5:01 pm

        Hi, In trying to follow the link above, I am getting an error. Can you confirm that this link has not changed? Thank you

  20. Kim on December 4, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    I feel itchy and miserable. Mostly the reaction comes on one arm as well as blistery itchy breakouts on my lower back. I stopped gluten as best as I knew how but love gluten free bread. Lately have much more gas, diarrhea a lot and also cut out soy as best I could. Then I thought maybe it’s. night shade vegetables ? A few years ago I saw a GI doctor who did a colonoscopy and endoscopy and stool samples….no diagnosis from him so I saw online that I seemed to have IBS.
    I am on insulin for 42 years as a diabetic.
    I had a definite reaction to my white gold wedding band so maybe I should see an immunologist. I live close to Philadelphia so hopefully I will find a helpful Dr.
    I feel hungry watching my husband eat whatever he wants. I feel
    ike I just want to be well. I’m glad I saw your blog. Keep up the good work and thank s for the inspiration…..I just feel tired….. Thanks again

  21. Brooke on April 5, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Hi Mary – thanks so much for writing this article! (and Hello from North Carolina!)
    While we’re just learning about SNAS, we’ve created Elemental to tackle nickel free jewelry. We were sick of getting red and itchy and having no idea what was actually in our jewelry.
    Elemental is jewelry made only from titanium – the most biocompatible and nonreactive metal out there.
    We hope you like it!

  22. Cristina on May 28, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    Has anybody tried Spirulina algae? What about chelation therapy?

  23. Samantha on October 12, 2018 at 10:44 am

    I have recently been diagnosed with a severe nikel allergy. Reading your story made me think about what I have been suffering with.
    I have bad eczema all over me including face, urticaria hives again all over me, blisters and extremely sore hands and stomach pains.

    Do you think it sounds like I have snaps?

  24. Erica on March 22, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Hi Everyone! Does anyone experience constant brain fog, tiredness or dizzy feeling with this allergy? I was diagnosed by a dermatologist that I was allergic to Nickel based on a rash on my hands. Well then I had a patch test at another dermatologist which came back negative???? Went the gastro route, no celiac, no issues with my stool. Extreme bloating constantly but the brain fog is the WORST. I feel like I am going to pass out at times. After reading this I feel like I should try the nickel free diet again despite my negative patch test??? Thank you and I would love to hear from you all!

  25. Erica on March 22, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    Can you please share your list of 50 foods that you do eat?

  26. Lesli on April 17, 2019 at 10:17 am

    Wow, this article was eye opening! Thank you! I was diagnosed with a nickel allergy about 10 years ago and since then have avoided anything that isn’t gold when it comes to jewelry. Well fast forward 10 years later and I am now experiencing eyelid dermatitis for which nobody can figure out the cause. I have inflammation in my gums (on the brink of gum disease) with no root cause. I have hearing loss which nobody has been able to figure out the cause. I have always suffered from digestive issues but my symptoms got much better after incorporating a lower glycemic diet, but I still have digestive issues such as heartburn, bloating, gas, mucus etc.
    I see a functional medicine doctor in June but I am wondering where it could be because of the dietary consumption of nickel so I will mention that when I see her. I consume oatmeal, bananas, green tea and nuts almost every single day!

  27. Marge on May 2, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Hi mary! I have a diagnosed nickel allergy and I’m really interested in hydroponic an aeroponic, but I can’t find any info on the nickel levels in liquid fertilizers that are essential… Can you tell me which brand do you use? Or other info on this topic? I live in europe. Thank you very much

  28. J Natascha Tomazsewski on May 4, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    I was diagnosed with servere nickel allergy 7yrs ago, had bad rashes all over even without wearing nickel. my allergist did not believe in nickel I food, my dermatologist was the one hinting towards it.
    My next allergist says there was a posiblity that consuming chocolate and canned food will cause my breakouts.
    Last year I ended up in hospital with servere stomach issues, i lost 20lbs in 2month and developed Gerd (my esophagus and stomach all.inflammed). They took me off gluten and lactose, did gallbladder tests and idk how many and noone could figure out where all of a sudden it came from.. now they assume it maybe the food and not the gluteb as I am allergic. But figuring it out what to eat and not it hard and to find recipes too so I appreciate this site as I now know I’m not alone with this crap

  29. Nikki on May 13, 2019 at 8:04 am

    So interesting to read – I’ve known I had a nickel and cobalt allergy for the last 20 years after patch testing, and despite knowing this my dentist fitted a bridge that I think must contain nickel. Since the bridge was fitted my gum has swollen around it and bleeds and I’ve been having gastrointestinal pain and issues too as well as my usual eczema / hives so I’m thinking it could be a systemic reaction. I was never told to avoid nickel in my diet, so in trying to eat healthily all these years have been eating all the foods like green leafy veg and whole grains, not knowing they could have been exacerbating my symptoms!

    I had the MELISA blood test done recently, and along with a slight reaction to a few other metals nickel came up as 32 in the sensitivity index (anything over 10 is strongly positive). I’m certain it is the nickel causing all these problems. I live in the UK and don’t think there is any vaccine or desensitisation therapy available here, I’m just trying to find out – does anyone know if it is available and where from? Does it actually work?

  30. Lesley stead on May 17, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    I too have been patch tested, which was told I am allergic to nickle. I have also got a bilateral allergic eye disease, which I am on permanent steroid drops and other drops. This as been going on now for 16 months with my eyes. I am also allergic to soya sesame seed, aniseed and nuts. Me my self think I must have SNAS because I have started to come out in hives and a rash, when I eat oats, wheat, green beans, bean sprouts, lentils . I have now started to eat gluten free bread, but the one i got as got millet seed in so i am not sure if it is related to the sesame seed family. I also had a massive red rash on touching chrysantheums flowers and took an asthma attack. I am due to see the immunologist on Tuesday 21/5/2019. See what they say.

  31. Aidan on May 25, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    I suspect I have this as well I did see a Dermatologist in the UK years back asking why I keep breaking out in Hives, itchiness from a belt buckle he did say maybe you have Nickel allergy but did no tests or mention foods I stopped wearing belts & numerous watches chains etc. I am now waiting to see if my Doctor will skin patch test me I react to all those foods on the lists I read now even gluten/gluten free products as well it is one horrible damn illness…Has anyone on here also tested for 1. Eagle Syndrome ‘calcification’ also involved? 2. Alpha Gal Meat Allergy from a Lyme tick? 3. (HATS) Hereditary Alpha Tryptasemia Syndrome mutiple copies of the Tryptase Gene a Genetic test? I had one Woman ask me on Facebook on Histamine Intolerance Group if I was ever screened for this condition I am glad she asked this question of me I am thinking I will test Positive but still think it may not be just one illness there may be more involved so I will test for all above & try to post here my results hopefully soon I know the HATS Test takes 2 or more months to complete in Houston, Texas area the cost is not much at $169.00 so worth the possibility…I wish you all a Cure or answers its a Monster if this is what it turns out to be

  32. Jody on July 18, 2019 at 3:18 am

    Thank you for this wonderful blog! I searched for answers for 14 years. When it got strange, I started writing down what was happening. So thankful to know now for the past two years what it is. Here is the journal I wrote and continue to update at the end with things that are helping.

  33. becca on December 11, 2019 at 11:28 am

    i have this. just got melisa test back. my immune responses are type for and lymphocyte type reaction. cell mediated.
    i have artificial tmj joints that have a very minute amt of nickel as well as dental implants that supposedly have no nickel.
    was in braces for years separate times and mulitple maxilofacial surgeries.
    i have mostly oral reactions and chronic sinus issues et as well as other systemic issues.
    the foods high in nickel have bothered me and now it all makes sense.
    im vegetarian and this diet leaves vvvv few options yikes. i just got test results so have not really been wothout nickel and it seems all my staple foods such as oatmeal et nickel. as well as plant based milks?
    i def wont be giving up rhubarb.
    i do get the ibs mostly in the form of constipation ughh
    lots of other symptoms but dont want to write a book. thanks for the imformation.

    • Bill on February 24, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      One hidden source is metal dental fillings. Was itchy all the time. So I had them removed and replaced with resin. Supposedly manufactures dont have to list the nickle as a ingredient if it’s under 4%. About 4-5 days huge difference. Also levi Jean’s are nickel free. So are their belts !

  34. Jordan on September 10, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    Hi Jennifer,
    I have had Nickel Allergy issues for almost 6+ years now and have struggled immensely with finding anyone to properly diagnose and treat me. Is there any suggestions you might have for specialists for SNAS? I know you mentioned immunologists, but sadly many of the specialists I have been to have not been helpful in long-term treatment. I can relate to the many issues you have experienced more than you could ever imagine. Especially the diagnosis process that has not been overly conclusive thus far. Any input on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

  35. Perawatan Terbaik untuk Ruam Wajah – My Blog on January 29, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    […] disebabkan oleh alergen. Alergen yang paling umum meliputi: debu, tungau rumah, poison ivy / oak, nikel, lateks, poliester, wewangian, pewarna, dan banyak lagi lainnya. Orang dengan kulit sensitif atau […]

  36. Louetta on March 11, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    I just now found this site and am delighted! I have 3 grown sons and a daughter-in-law who think I am a hypochondriac! Well, I have known I have a severe nickel allergy for many years, but doctors don’t seem too concerned, nor do they have much knowledge or concern. Now that I’m in my 70s it has gotten worse, possibly because of thinning skin. Knowing what to eat and which medications to take/avoid is very difficult! I will join the Facebook group and continue on this journey with others who have the same issues in hopes of getting more information for this confusing and perplexing condition. Thanks to everyone for this valuable information and for knowing I’m not alone!

  37. Suelynn on April 28, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    I am so glad that I came across your site. My allergist-immunologist is suspecting a systemic nickel allergy syndrome (SNAS) getting worse each year by #10 stainless steel wiring used in my aortic valve replacement 10 years ago. I’ve had my gallbladder removed and been treated over and over again for SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth) – constipation, terrible bloatedness, etc. I am trying to find a reliable nickel test (not skin or patch since I already know I am allergic to nickel jewelry and zippers) here in the USA, and a physician who is experienced with SNAS. Any suggestions? I will spend the money to travel.

  38. Carlito on May 21, 2021 at 6:03 am

    Hi, I am not sure if this page is still followed/supported. For around 10 years or so I have a had a reaction to metal.. Metal Ray bans give me a rash where they touch my face, my belt buckle gives me a nasty itch rash where it touches my stomach.. even if i am driving the car in shorts and the keys touch my knee i get a nasty contact rash… Anyway for a round 6 years now I have been experiencing severe diarrhea and sometimes vomiting, bloating, waking every night a 4am, muscle pain, joint pain etc. My wife has always thought this was maybe a yeast intolerance, but looking through the symptoms it seems to me that i could have SNAS, i recently have had a very bad 3 or 4 days, bloating, vomit, chest pain and difficulty breathing after eating 2 cans of tuna with tomatoes. My GP has arranged a prick test for the 31st of may then a visit with an immunologist next month.. Hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel

  39. My name is Lucy Elisabeth Patiala on July 25, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    I had a stent inserted in my leg on March 1,2021and almost immediately I began to suffer from a constellation of many symptoms. I had a rash on both of my legs and feet, swelling of both legs, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and severe pain that was supposed to have eliminated my pain. I saw many different specialists, neurologist, cardiologists, had and EMG ( which made things even worse) a hematologist, physical therapist, and the list goes on. After contacting the manufacturer of the stent, I found out that it was 55% nickel and 45% titanium. I have 3 stents in my heart and they are made of cobalt and chromium and never had a problem with any of those. After doing some research, I find that the problem is most likely from the implant the doctor put in my leg. It has taken me all these months to finally get the attention of the vascular surgeon and convince him of the possibility of the allergy. I had my ears pierced years ago and I had a really bad reaction to the metal they used. I had pus and bleeding from both ears and if the doctor had only asked, I might have avoided all of this. I am no longer able to walk even half a block and have been made a prisoner of my apartment. I used to walk 2 miles a day until this whole thing started. I will see a dermatologist this week and see what she says.

  40. Arielle on September 14, 2022 at 11:27 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. I luckily found out about my nickel allergy around 6 years ago from an amazing allergist who was determined to diagnose my issues after I tested negative for all foods I thought I was allergic to.
    It’s still a battle for me, trial and error figuring out my definite no’s and my okay list of foods etc.
    No one’s ever mentioned water being an issue to me so I’m so glad it’s on your list, I’m going to switch to the nestle pure life and try the juice plus supplements as well.

  41. TANISHA on March 11, 2023 at 7:52 am

    I am newly researching this issue, I’ve had a nickel allergy for many many years; allergic reactions that show themselves on my skin. I never realized foods contained nickel & my goodness so many! It now makes sense that sometimes my skin seems to be irritated on the “inside” like an itch I can’t relieve. I have been reading that taking iron supplements can help reverse your body’s negative reaction to foods containing nickel. I will be looking into this and praying that it helps!

    • CM on August 28, 2023 at 4:12 pm

      I pray you find answers and healing. I know your post was from quite a while back, but for you and anyone else reading: be careful with iron supplements, they can come with their own problems. It’s good to speak with a doctor first. Sometimes when we try to fix problems using supplements, we end up creating other problems, because what we do can have an effect on how something else is processed or absorbed in our body. Vitamin C supplement is another one you hear about that could help, but one should be careful with that as well. Researching long term effects, both studies and anecdotal experience, is helpful imo. I don’t mean to suggest that supplements are all bad, I just mean to be careful because through the use of supplements, other problems can sometimes arise.

  42. Sara on November 30, 2023 at 5:54 pm

    I am starting to think my autoimmune condition (no family/genetic history) is intrinsically linked with childhood-onset nickel skin allergy (jewelry, belt buckles, and snaps on jeans) and getting amalgam fillings as an adult. Escalated to long term low-grade elevations in LFTs and a positive ANA, possible MCAS (autoimmune hepatitis and all other tests negative). Working on having all of my amalgams replaced as a friend did that and her nickel-related eczema cleared up completely shortly thereafter.

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