Nickel is a trace mineral. Good food sources of nickel include: tuna, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, onions, raw carrots, peas, chocolate, and soy products.1 Nickel does not have a Daily Value (DV) issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because it is not considered an essential mineral.


Major Health Benefits

Nickel, as a component of various enzymes, and may be involved in proper function of the body and normal vitamin metabolism (e.g., B12 and folate).2 It has been suggested in preclinical studies that Nickel may contribute to iron metabolism.3


The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of Nickel is 1.0 mg per day.4 Nickel is the most common alloy that causes allergic reactions such as swollen and red skin (dermatitis).1 Excessive intake of Nickel through foods, inhalation, or drinking water can cause respiratory failure, heart disorders, asthma, and higher chance of developing prostate, lung, nose or larynx cancer.5


  1. Sharma AD. Low nickel diet in dermatology. Indian J Dermatol. 2013 May;58(3):240. PMID: 23723488; PMCID: PMC3667300.
  2. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. The National Academic Press. 2001. (pp. 521)
  3. Nielsen FH, Shuler TR, McLeod TG, Zimmerman TJ. Nickel influences iron metabolism through physiologic, pharmacologic and toxicologic mechanisms in the rat. J Nutr. 1984 Jul;114(7):1280-8. PMID: 6737089.
  4. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Tolerable Upper Intake Levels, Elements. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, The National Academic Press. 2001. (PDF available)
  5. Lenntech: Water Treatment Solutions.