When Eating Healthy Can Come Back to Bite You

Author: Ohio State Wexner Medical Center

Narrator: Sara Plumby says for years shes made a conscious effort to lead a healthier life by exercising and eating nutritious foods. But instead of enjoying the rewards of being fit, Sara found herself in excruciating pain. Sara Plumby: I experienced a burning tongue. My muscles would twitch, I had sleep disruptions and I would wake up in the morning feeling like I wasn’t rested. Narrator: It turns out, the foods Sara was eating were high in the mineral nickel. Things like oatmeal, beans, and Whole grains, which may be contributing to a rash of new allergy cases.

Matthew Zirwas, MD: And the reason, we think, is that there’s been a shift in dietary habits. As people are trying to eat healthier, they’re actually eating more nickel. Narrator: Doctor Matthew Zirwas is a renowned allergist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. He says some patients can go for years with itchy, painful rashes - often on the outside of their elbow, or on their palms - and never know what’s causing it. Partly because nickel allergies don’t appear immediately. Matthew Zirwas, MD: So, if you start eating more nickel, it slowly builds up in your body until your immune system get stimulated enough that you start to break out in this rash.

Narrator: Even then, diagnosing a nickel allergy can be tough - because it’s in so many things - like soy and dark chocolate - and can even be released from stainless steel pots and pans when you cook acidic foods like tomatoes. Sara went to Doctor Zirwas and Today is nearly symptom-free, thanks to a nickel-free diet. Sara Plumby: I was shocked. Because I was eating a healthy diet, but the healthy diet was making me worse.” “I’m so happy that he found out what the allergy was. Narrator: At Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, this is Clark Powell reporting.

When Eating Healthy Can Come Back to Bite You

When Eating Healthy Can Come Back to Bite You

Narrator: Sara Plumby says for years shes made a conscious effort to lead a healthier life by exercising and eating nutritious foods. But instead of enjoying the rewards of being fit,…

By: Ohio State Wexner Medical Center