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Nickel and your healthAlthough fairly obscured, and not quite as important as major minerals, nickel (Ni) is considered essential nutrient, not only because the body has cellular receptors for it, but also because it does participate in a number of biological processes. However, its exact role in some of them is still unclear. Similarly to its cellular buddy cobalt (with which it shares cellular receptors), nickel levels can affect blood pressure (decreases with low nickel levels, and vice versa), by causing constriction or relaxation of the left coronary artery18.
On direct contact, nickel can be skin irritant, and it is carcinogen in its gaseous form. In the body, it is vitamin E antagonist, and can cause all symptoms of vitamin E deficiency if it is ingested in large quantities (can't happen with dietary intake alone), or if the body accumulates the mineral over a period of time, due to metabolic glitch (rare).
For such an obscured nutrient, nickel deficiency can affect your health quite a bit: other than already mentioned hypotension, it can contribute to high blood sugar, liver disease, anemia or depression, to name a few.
Excessive nickel intake, on the other hand, can cause or contribute to angina, low blood sugar, asthma, nausea, and other symptoms.
Nickel DRI (Dietary Reference Intakes, the most recent set of dietary recommendations set by the government) for an average healthy adult is set at 0.3mg-0.7mg range, with short-term therapeutic doses of up to 50mg, and more.
Best natural nickel food sources are whole grains, nuts, beans and sea food.