Vanadium is an ultra-trace mineral found in the human diet and the human body. It is essential for some animals. Deficiency symptoms in these animals include growth retardation, bone deformities, and infertility. However, vanadium has not been proven to be an essential mineral for humans.
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Type 2 Diabetes
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Vanadyl sulfate, a form of vanadium, may improve glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes.
Vanadyl sulfate, a form of vanadium, may improve glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes.1 , 2 , 3 Over a six-week period, a small group of people with type 2 diabetes were given 75 to 300 mg of vanadyl sulfate per day.4 Only in the groups receiving 150 mg or 300 mg was glucose metabolism improved, fasting blood sugar decreased, and another marker for chronic high blood sugar reduced. At the 300 mg level, total cholesterol decreased, although not without an accompanying reduction in the protective HDL cholesterol. None of the amounts improved insulin sensitivity. Although there was no evidence of toxicity after six weeks of vanadyl sulfate supplementation, gastrointestinal side effects were experienced by some of the participants taking 150 mg per day and by all of the participants taking 300 mg per day. The long-term safety of the large amounts of vanadium needed to help people with type 2 diabetes (typically 100 mg per day) remains unknown. Many doctors expect that amounts this high may prove to be unsafe in the long term.
As yet, research indicates that most people would not benefit from vanadium supplementation. Optimal intake of vanadium is unknown. If vanadium turns out to be essential for humans, the estimated requirement would probably be less than 10 mcg per day. An average diet provides 15–30 mcg per day.
Vanadium is found in very small amounts in a wide variety of foods, including seafood, cereals, mushrooms, parsley, corn, soy, and gelatin.
Deficiencies of vanadium have not been reported in humans, and it is not known whether this mineral is essential for humans.
Information about vanadium toxicity is limited. Workers exposed to vanadium dust can develop toxic effects. High blood levels have been linked to manic-depressive mental disorders, but the meaning of this remains uncertain.5 Vanadium sometimes inhibits, but at other times stimulates, cancer growth in animals. However, the effect in humans remains unknown.6
1. Halberstam M, Cohen N, Schlimovich P, et al. Oral vanadyl sulfate improves insulin sensitivity in NIDDM but not in obese nondiabetic subjects. Diabetes 1996;45:659-66.
2. Boden G, Chen X, Ruiz J, et al. Effects of vanadyl sulfate on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Metabolism 1996;45:1130-5.
3. Goldfine AB, Patti ME, Zuberi L, et al. Metabolic effects of vanadyl sulfate in humans with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: in vivo and in vitro studies. Metabolism 2000;49:400-10.
4. Goldfine AB, Patti ME, Zuberi L, et al. Metabolic effects of vanadyl sulfate in humans with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: in vivo and in vitro studies. Metabolism 2000;49:400-10.
5. Naylor GJ. Vanadium and manic depressive psychosis. Nutr Health 1984;3:79-85 [review].
6. Chakraborty A, Ghosh R, Roy K, et al. Vanadium: a modifier of drug metabolizing enzyme patterns and its critical role in cellular proliferation in transplantable murine lymphoma. Oncology 1995;52:310-4.
Last Review: 07-22-2014
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.
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