Contrary to common beliefs, stainless steel may not be the most inert substance. A new study has found that stainless steel coronary stents may trigger allergic reactions to substances such as nickel, molybdenum, or chromium, which are released. These allergic reactions may be a major factor in causing in-stent restenosis.
- The researchers looked at 131 patients (avg. age 62 years) with coronary stainless-steel stents who underwent angiography for suspected restenosis. The average time since the stents were inserted was about 6 months.
- All patients underwent allergy skin tests for nickel, chromate, molybdenum, manganese, and small stainless-steel plates.
- In-stent restenosis (50% diameter stenosis) occurred in 89 patients.
- All ten patients with positive patch-test results had restenosis (4 had positive reactions to molybdenum and 7 patients had positive reactions to nickel)
The authors conclude that "Allergic reactions to nickel and molybdenum released from stents may be one of the triggering mechanisms for in-stent restenosis."
Lancet 2000; 356: 1895-1897
Stainless steel may not be the most inert substance to use. This study, which is clearly not related at all to cooking, does show that sensitive individuals can have adverse reactions to stainless steel devises placed into their body for coronrary artery disease.
As far as stents go, the best thing to do is to avoid them in the first place. One of the best ways to do so is to follow the food choice recommendations, get proper exercise, and get plenty of sleep.
What most physicians do not realize is that nickel is every bit as toxic as mercury and some physicians believe that nickel is actually more toxic than mercury. Nickel comes from a German word for malicious or capricious spirit, sometimes meaning the devil.
It is well known from the literature that some of the ions which are released from these devises are able to destroy or damage enzymes and proteins, in addition to causing allergic reactions.
Clearly there is a quantitative element involved and I can not begin to guess how many nickel ions are liberated during the cooking process with stainless steel cookware. Clearly this is better than aluminum, which should be definitely avoided. The best cookware would be ceramic-coated metal as the ceramic is virtually inert and will not transfer any metal ions to the food you cook.
If you use non-stick cookware, you should be aware that there is some evidence that fluoride can be released. Plan on discarding all non-stick cookware after about one year of regular use. As soon as a scratch develops on the surface this cookware will start to leach aluminum as that is the typical metal used beneath most non-stick cookware.
Stainless steel alloys all contain nickel, chromium, molybdenum, iron, carbon, and various other metals. In addition, higher temperatures will always increase the rate of leaching. Unfortunately, I don't know of any studies on this subject.
However, contact time has to be considered as well. The stents are in place inside the body and subjected to an environment that will solubilize almost anything, where the cookware is only subjected to any given batch of food for a very short period.
Dr. Ray Peat is the biochemist who helped Dr. John Lee understand natural progesterone. According to Dr. Peat, there are two kinds of stainless steel -- one kind is attracted to magnets, the other kind is not. You want to buy only the magnetically-attractive type of stainless steel, which apparently has a very low nickel content and does not leach nickel into food.
Here is some additional evidence of the fact that magnetized steel is safer. The following two links http://www.chenbros.com.tw/page13.htm http://www.chenbros.com.tw/page14.htm
are from a company that produces stainless steel cookware and clearly demonstrates that then magnetized version has no nickel. Nickel is likely more toxic than mercury and the main reason for concern with stainless steel cookware.
Lastly, the pH of the food has an impact as well. A more acidic food may leach more from the cookware.
Needless to say, you absolutely need to pay attention to the products you use, in particular when it comes to your cookware. The best choice out there, in my opinion -- and the one that I personally use -- is ceramic cookware. Glass cookware is also a suitable alternative, but I feel that ceramic cookware is a much better option.
Ceramic cookware is not only extremely durable and easy to clean (even the toughest cooked-on foods can be wiped away after soaking it in warm water), it is completely inert--which means it won’t release any harmful chemicals into your home or your food unlike other sets of cookware.