Systemic Nickel Allergy is a complex condition which significantly affects patient quality of life. Nickel allergies affect approximately 10% of the US population, with similar numbers experiencing issues with nickel around the globe.
As Nickel is a common metal in many items, it can make life difficult for many people. Nickel doesn’t just appear in costume jewellery, but also in eyeglasses, coins, keys, apparel (zippers and buttons), and various metal tools.
As one of the most common causes of inflammation in the skin, and allergic contact dermatitis, systemic nickel allergy syndrome has been the source of ongoing research through the years. Many scientific bodies have attempted to find a long-term treatment solution to nickel allergies. However, most treatment options available today are not ideal.
An Increasing Presence of Nickel Allergy Cases
The most often recommended treatment for systemic nickel allergy syndrome is avoidance of the offending substance. However, this is not always possible. Nickel allergies can emerge in many ways. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when skin sensitive to a substance comes into contact with that substance. Someone with a nickel allergy might notice a contact urticaria after a nickel interaction.
Nickel can also be a cause of irritant contact dermatitis, when skin is frequently exposed to mild irritants, such as nickel. Though some people are born with this condition, others acquire it over time, making the issue difficult to both avoid and treat. Human sweat naturally leaches nickel from many types of metal, including stainless steel, which increases the risk of exposure.
Symptoms of a nickel allergy can be mild or severe enough to disable the person in question. In the case of systemic nickel allergy syndrome, the side effects often include nausea, vomiting, headaches, diarrhoea, and fatigue. People with this condition are unable to continue their day-to-day activities after exposure to the substance.
Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome Treatment
Treatment options for allergic syndromes are limited. There is no cure for a nickel allergy, regardless of severity. Often, the best option is to work on removing the rash and reducing side effects. Lotions, creams, oatmeal baths and other medications (corticosteroids) can decrease inflammation. Medications which block the substance from the immune system response when it is encountered are also a possibility.
Unfortunately, both antihistamines to manage allergic responses, and corticosteroids can have negative side effects with regular use. The systemic use of corticosteroids is usually an option only when other treatments have not been successful, as corticosteroid exposure can increase a person’s risk of ongoing inflammatory conditions.
Antihistamines, on the other hand, can cause drowsiness and gastrointestinal effects which worsen the side effects of systemic nickel allergy syndrome and further reduce the ability of the patient to carry on with their everyday lives. As a result, doctors and practitioners are looking at alternative treatment options, such as phototherapy. Unfortunately, phototherapy can take months to have an impact on a person’s quality of life.
Agaricus Blazei for Allergy Treatment
Medicinal mushrooms like Agaricus blazei and Ganoderma Lucidum are proving their ability to deliver valuable results in cases of allergic reactions and inflammation. Agaricus blazei Murill is a Brazilian medicinal mushroom which has been proven to reduce the risk of tumours in some patients, thanks to the induction of Th1 responses.
Clinical studies into Agaricus blazei reveal that extracts of the immunomodulatory Agaricus blazei have been shown to protect against allergies and asthmas by changing T-helper cell 1 regulation and T-helper cell 2 regulation in the immune system. Extracts of the medicinal mushroom affect the performance of the immune system to reduce the allergic response to certain substances.
The allergic reaction of people with systemic nickel allergy syndrome is prompted by an immune system response in which Th2 is dominant. The extract of Agaricus blazei works to modulate the Th1-Th2 immune balance and reduce drastic responses to non-threatening stimuli, like nickel.
Studies increasingly show that extracts of this medicinal mushroom successfully reduce the allergic response in subjects. Simultaneously, the Agaricus blazei mushroom is also effective in preventing a range of additional conditions, from dermatitis, to hepatitis, and even atherosclerosis.
When offered either in combination with or in place of other treatment options for nickel allergy syndrome, Agaricus blazei could offer a risk and side-effect free solution to dealing with chronic allergic reactions and accompanying effects. It is important to select an organic and concentrated extract in a high quality nutraceutical, in which medicinal mushrooms are deeply tested, not only for heavy metals, but also for other common allergens as nickel allergic patients can be more susceptible than other patients to suffer from allergies.