This Little-Known Supplement Could Reverse Chronic Skin Rashes, Cancer, and Heart Disease

Steve Kroening, ND
February 6, 2019


If you’re struggling with dermatitis, eczema, or some other skin issue, you know how frustrating this can be. It itches, looks terrible, and doesn’t seem to respond to any treatments. Until recently, the cause of these rashes was hard to uncover. But new research has found an underlying cause that is far more common than we expected.

What’s more, there’s an easy oral treatment that can eliminate this cause – giving you complete relief in just a few weeks. Just ask Haley.

Haley is a very healthy young woman who moved away to college. Not long after living in the dorm, she started to experience terrible eczema and dermatitis. She thought it might be something in the dorm room. But she couldn’t identify anything that might be causing it. And none of her friends were struggling with it.

Then she wondered if gluten might be the culprit. She noticed the rash improved some when she didn’t eat gluten. So she stayed off of it and seemed to manage the rash. But she was never able to get rid of it. She was very frustrated.

Haley isn’t alone. Another friend, Samantha, is a 47-year-old woman who has been suffering from severe dermatitis for about seven years. Her dermatologist put her on topical steroids and a variety of prescription medications. But nothing seemed to help for long. Any improvements from the medications would quickly wear off.

When looking for a possible cause, we discovered that Samantha was really frustrated because right before the dermatitis issues started, she had switched to what she thought was a healthier diet. As we explored the diet, it was clear one thing jumped out – it included lots of whole grains, especially whole wheat.

Sounds like gluten, doesn’t it. Funny thing was, Haley had done the same thing. So in both cases it seemed reasonable to blame gluten.

But it wasn’t gluten. Haley and Samantha both had another problem.

Since I had talked Samantha a few years prior to seeing Haley, I had an idea of what might be causing Haley’s issue. I asked Samantha to see an allergist and go through a patch testing process called the North American Contact Dermatitis Panel. This test is helpful in identifying possible skin allergens.

Sure enough, Samantha had a nickel allergy. Nickel, as you may know, is a heavy metal. It’s plentiful in whole wheat, rye, oats, millet, buckwheat, cocoa, chocolate, tea, gelatin, baking powder, soy products, red kidney beans, legumes (including peas, lentils, peanuts, soya beans, and chickpeas), dried fruits, and canned foods. So it’s easy to see why Samantha all of a sudden started having issues. Nickel and other heavy metals like lead can often lead to skin problems. But very few dermatologists think about the effects of these metals.

I encouraged Samantha to change her diet so it was low in nickel. As soon as she did, her dermatitis improved significantly within two months. But it didn’t go away completely. That’s when I suggested another treatment – and it’s a very similar treatment that has helped Haley escape her eczema.

The Best Way to Remove Heavy Metals

When I first talked to Samantha, the best treatment for removing metals was chelation therapy. The term “chelation” (pronounced key-lay-shun) comes from the Greek word chele, which means “claw.” When a compound acts as a chelator, it is able to grab hold of (claw) metals, minerals, or toxins and take them out of the body. When the chelator binds with heavy metals, it allows the body to remove the metal easier than it could without the chelator.

As you may know, there are two very effective forms of intravenous chelation therapy. The first is the di-sodium EDTA form. This is the best form for treating atherosclerosis and heart disease. The other form is calcium EDTA chelation. This is very good at removing heavy metals, and the form I suggested Samantha use. It’s not as effective for atherosclerosis and heart disease, though removing heavy metals is good for your cardiovascular system.

Samantha was quick to find a doctor to administer the calcium EDTA chelation and she almost immediately saw her skin clear up completely. She was very excited.

For Haley, there was an easier option. This option didn’t require a doctor’s visit or an IV. It simply required taking a supplement. I didn’t know if Haley’s skin problem was caused by nickel or lead (or some other metal). She had a lab test that said her lead levels were high. But it’s common for people to have high levels of more than just one metal.

On her own, she started taking a supplement that has worked wonders on her skin. It’s a supplement I heard about years ago, but completely forgot about. So I was glad she reminded me about it.

A Simple Way to Detox Heavy Metals

Most oral chelators aren’t as effective at removing heavy metals as IV chelation. The digestive tract acts as a barrier to the chelator and keeps it from working as well. Chelating suppositories, such as Detoxamin, tend to be more effective than oral chelators. But there’s one oral chelator that does work very well. It’s call phytate or IP6.

Dr. Stephen Seely first identified IP6 phytate in 1991. He found that it helps retain elasticity of the arteries, particularly the aorta. The aorta is highly prone to calcification. And the IP6 greatly reduced this calcification. But how?

It turns out that IP6 is a natural chelator found in beans, peanuts, peas, lentils, corn, oats, rice, and walnuts. It’s the most potent natural chelator of iron, but it also works on other heavy metals. And it’s completely non-toxic. Since it works very well for removing metals, it’s highly protective of the cardiovascular system. But it does a lot more than that.

Researchers at Wake Forest University Health Sciences state that “iron chelators may be of value as therapeutic agents in the treatment of cancer. They may act by depleting iron, a necessary nutrient, and limiting tumor growth.”

IP6 appears to work selectively against cancer cells. Because cancer cells are high in iron content, IP6 directs most of its attention to these abnormal cells by selectively removing iron.  That deprives them of their primary growth factor. IP6 does not remove iron from normal red blood cells, which are tightly bound to hemoglobin. Unlike cancer drugs, healthy cells are not affected with IP6, so IP6 has very low toxicity.

Other studies are beginning to show that IP6 also works to remove nickel and other metals, though the research is thin at this point. One study showed the phytates remove nickel from soil. So it would make sense it would work to clear nickel from the body. It’s essentially the same chelation process.

The Results?

Haley began taking the IP6, and sure enough, her skin began to clear. The eczema that plagued her for years started to disappear in a matter of weeks. Today, she is almost completely free of any skin rashes.

If you want to try IP6, you can find it in the foods I listed earlier. And you can buy it in supplement form on the Internet. But don’t just depend on the supplement. Take the extra effort to remove nickel and other heavy metal foods from your diet.

A study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that simply eating a low-nickel diet can be very effective at clearing dermatitis. This study reported on a woman nearly identical to Samantha. It also followed a 23-year-old woman who experienced large, painful blisters on her hands and feet and papules and plaques on her elbows. There also was a 63-year-old man who experienced itchy papules on his trunk and elbows. For all of the patients, patch testing revealed a nickel allergy, and dietary changes cleared up the issues within weeks.

To help avoid the problems with nickel and other metals, avoid foods stored in metal, such as canned goods. Also avoid cooking acidic foods, such as tomato, vinegar, or lemon, in stainless steel cookware. Doing so can cause nickel from the pans to leach into food. Some processed foods contain nickel because of the equipment used to prepare them. And even hot tap water can be a source of nickel if the water sits too long in the fixtures.

Nickel content in foods does vary by region. That’s because nickel in the water and soil can influence the amount present in fruits, vegetables, and grains. So if you’re noticing a new reaction after a move, like Haley did, an allergen in your diet (or leaching into your tap water from new-to-you fixtures) could be to blame even if you haven’t changed the actual foods you choose.

If you haven’t been able to identify the culprit for dermatitis, blisters, eczema on your hands, or papules, particularly if they’re occurring near your elbows, it’s time to get tested. Talk to your doctor about the North American Contact Dermatitis panel. It may reveal a nickel allergy, which can give you a good starting place for clearing up the issue.

Of course, if you notice wearing certain jewelry triggers a reaction, which usually includes a blackening around your skin where you wore the jewelry, you should stop wearing it. But you may need to stop your nickel exposure from the inside as well as from the outside by cutting out the nickel in your diet.

Because a low-nickel diet can also be low in fiber (their fiber content is one of the main reasons whole grains are generally beneficial to a healthy diet), you may find that you need to take a fiber supplement to avoid constipation.


Current Topics Medical Chemistry 4: 1623-35, 2004.

Deliliers GL, British J Haematology 117: 577-87, 2002

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