What foods contribute nickel to the diet?
In general, plants are more concentrated sources of nickel than are animal sources. Nuts are the most concentrated sources while grains, cured meats, and vegetables offer respectable amounts. Fish, milk, and eggs are recognized as poorer sources of nickel. The absorption of nickel from the digestive tract is probably affected by varying the amounts of copper, iron, and zinc, and perhaps vice versa. Adult requirements for nickel are most likely about 35 µg daily although the RDA has yet to be established.
What does nickel do in the body?
The possible essentiality of nickel was not seriously considered until about twenty years ago. Defining exact roles for nickel in the body remains somewhat elusive. However, nickel does seem to be involved in the breakdown of the amino acids leucine, valine, and isoleucine (branch-chain amino acids) and odd chain length fatty acids. Nickel research is relatively young and more clear-cut roles for nickel will probably emerge in the next decade.