|Also Known As:
|| vanadate, vanadyl sulfate
Vanadium is an essential trace mineral that is present in varying amounts in
the soil and in many foods. It is also released into the air by burning
petroleum or petroleum products.
At the end of the last century, vanadium was prescribed as a cure for various
diseases. However, it turned out to be toxic at the high doses that were
While it is thought that trace amounts of vanadium are essential in the diet,
it is not clear what role it plays in the body or whether too little vanadium
has any effect on the body.
The effects of vanadium have not been studied extensively in people. The
majority of studies to date have been conducted in laboratory animals.
In a number of animal and a few human studies,
vanadyl sulfate has improved insulin sensitivity and reduced blood sugar in
those with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In one study of people with type 2
diabetes, vanadium also lowered their total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol.
Although these studies show promise, the long-term safety of vanadium has not
been established. Therefore, use of vanadium for diabetes, particularly without
guidance from a knowledgeable healthcare provider, is not recommended until more
information is available.
Body Building/Performance Enhancement
While vanadyl sulfate is
widely used by athletes to enhance performance, beneficial effects have not been
confirmed by studies. Use of vanadium is not advised because of the potential
toxic effects associated with high doses of this mineral.
High Blood Pressure
Animal studies suggest that vanadyl
sulfate may help improve blood pressure. This has yet to be tested on people.
Therefore, until more information is available, use of vanadium for this purpose
is not currently recommended.
Bipolar Disorder (Manic/Depression)
Vanadium levels may be
elevated during manic episodes and blood levels may be high during times of
depression. This is particularly true if the mood disorder is accompanied by
psychosis (particularly delusional thoughts). Some experts suggest that
following a low vanadium diet may be helpful for people with bipolar disorder.
Only about 5% of the vanadium we ingest through food is absorbed by the body.
Still, vanadium supplements are rarely, if ever, necessary. Eating any of the
foods listed here will provide sufficient amounts. The best sources of vanadium
are mushrooms, shellfish, black pepper, parsley, dill weed, grain and grain
products, sweeteners, and infant cereals.
Vanadium exists in several forms, including vanadyl sulfate and vanadate.
Vanadyl sulfate is most commonly found in nutritional supplements. Because of
its potential toxicity, some experts believe that vanadium should be considered
a drug and not a nutritional supplement.
|How to Take It|
There are no known scientific reports on the pediatric use of vanadium.
Therefore, it is not recommended for children.
Taking 0.5 to 1.0 mg/day of vanadium is enough to meet or exceed nutritional
requirements, without risking toxicity. No more than 1.8 mg/day should be used
in people. Some manufacturers promote high dosages (15 to 100 mg) of vanadyl
sulfate per day, but studies do not support such dosages, and they may be toxic.
Because the safety and effectiveness of vanadium have not been thoroughly
studied, caution should be exercised when using vanadium as a nutritional
Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications,
dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a
knowledgeable healthcare provider.
Common side effects from vanadium include stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea,
vomiting, and gas.
Some animals given vanadate supplements have developed anemia, low white
blood cell counts (the cells that help to fight infection), and high
cholesterol. While this has not been duplicated in studies of people, people
with high cholesterol, anemia, an infection, or any health problem causing a low
white blood cell count (such as HIV) should use extreme caution when using
High doses of vanadium (anything over 15 mg/day) may cause liver and/or
Large amounts of inhaled vanadium (for example, in workers who clean
petroleum storage tanks) may irritate the lungs and possibly lead to asthma.
If you are currently being treated with the following medication(s), you
should not use vanadium without first talking to your healthcare provider.
In experiments, vanadium worsened the blood thinning
effects of heparin, a medication used to prevent blood clotting. For this
reason, vandium should not be used together with heparin.
al-Bayati MA, Giri SN, Raabe OG. Time and dose-response study of the effects
of vanadate in rats: changes in blood cells, serum enzymes, protein,
cholesterol, glucose, calcium, and inorganic phosphate. J Environ Pathol
Toxicol Oncol. 1990;10(4-5):206-213.
Bhanot S, McNeill JH. Vanadyl sulfate lowers plasma insulin and blood
pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Hypertension.
Brichard SM, Henquin JC. The role of vanadium in the management of diabetes.
Trends Pharmacol Sci. 1995;16(8):265-270.
Campbell CA, Peet M, Ward NI. Vanadium and other trace elements in patients
taking lithium. Biol Psychiatry. 1988;24(7):775-781.
Cohen N, Halberstam M, Shlimovich P, Chang CJ, Shamoon H, Rosseti L. Oral
vanadyl sulfate improves hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity in patients
with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. J Clin Invest.
Cunningham JJ. Micronutrients as nutriceutical interventions in diabetes
mellitus [review]. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998;17(1):7-10.
Cusi K, Cukier S, DeFronzo RA, Torres M, Puchulu FM, Rdondo JC. Vanadyl
sulfate improves hepatic and muscle insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes. J
Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001;86(3):1410-1417.
Fawcett JP, Farquhar SJ, Thou T, Shand BI. Oral vanadyl sulphate does not
affect blood cells, viscosity or biochemistry in humans. Pharmacol
Funakoshi T, Shimada H, Kojima S, et al. Anticoagulant action of vanadate.
Chem Pharm Bull. 1992;40(1):174-176.
Goldwaser I, Gefel D, Gershonov E, Fridkin M, Shechter Y. Insulin-like
effects of vanadium: basic and clinical implications. J Inorg Biochem.
Halberstam M. Cohen N, Shlimovich P, Rossetti L, Shamoon H. Oral vanadyl
sulfate improves insulin sensitivity in NIDDM but not in obese nondiabetic
subjects. Diabetes. 1996;45(5):659-666.
Institute of Medicine. Dietary reference intakes for vitamin A, vitamin K,
arsenic, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel,
silicon, vanadium, and zinc. IOM Reports. January 9, 2001. Accessed February 12,
2002 at www.iom.edu.
Irsigler GB, Visser PJ, Spangenberg PA. Asthma and chemical bronchitis in
vanadium plant workers. Am J Ind Med. 1999;35(4):366-374.
Kreider RB. Dietary supplements and the promotion of muscle growth with
resistance exercise. Sports Med. 1999;27(2):97-110.
Naylor GJ, Corrigan FM, Smith AH, Connelly P, Ward NI. Further studies of
vanadium in depressive psychosis. Br J Psychiatry. 1987;150:656-661.
Naylor GJ, Smith AH, Bryce-Smith D, Ward NI. Tissue vanadium levels in
manic-depressive psychosis. Psychol Med. 1984;14(4):767-772.
Pizzorno JE, Murray MT. Textbook of Natural Medicine. New York, NY:
Churchill Livingstone; 1999:529-530, 1053-1054.
Preuss HG, Jarrell ST, Scheckenbach R, Lieberman S, Anderson RA. Comparative
effects of chormium, vanadium, and Gymnema sylvestre on sugar-induced blood
pressure elevations in SHR. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998;17(2):116-123.
Role of vanadium as a mimic of insulin. Nutri Res Newslett.
Srivastava AK. Anti-diabetic and toxic effects of vanadium compounds. Mol
Cell Biochem. 2000;206(1-2):177-182.
Werbach MR. Textbook of Nutritional Medicine. Tarzana, California:
Third Line Press. 1999: 329.
|Review Date: April 2002|
|Reviewed By: Participants in the review process include: Ruth DeBusk, RD, PhD, Editor,
Nutrition in Complementary Care, Tallahassee, FL; Jacqueline A. Hart, MD,
Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard University
and Senior Medical Editor Integrative Medicine, Boston, MA; Gary Kracoff, RPh
(Pediatric Dosing section February 2001), Johnson Drugs, Natick, Ma; Steven
Ottariono, RPh (Pediatric Dosing section February 2001), Veteran's
Administrative Hospital, Londonderry, NH. All interaction sections have also
been reviewed by a team of experts including Joseph Lamb, MD (July 2000), The
Integrative Medicine Works, Alexandria, VA;Enrico Liva, ND, RPh (August 2000),
Vital Nutrients, Middletown, CT; Brian T Sanderoff, PD, BS in Pharmacy (March
2000), Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy;
President, Your Prescription for Health, Owings Mills, MD; Ira Zunin, MD, MPH,
MBA (July 2000), President and Chairman, Hawaii State Consortium for Integrative
Medicine, Honolulu, HI.|
Copyright © 2004 A.D.A.M., Inc
The publisher does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of
the information or the consequences arising from the application, use, or misuse
of any of the information contained herein, including any injury and/or damage
to any person or property as a matter of product liability, negligence, or
otherwise. No warranty, expressed or implied, is made in regard to the contents
of this material. No claims or endorsements are made for any drugs or compounds
currently marketed or in investigative use. This material is not intended as a
guide to self-medication. The reader is advised to discuss the information
provided here with a doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or other authorized healthcare
practitioner and to check product information (including package inserts)
regarding dosage, precautions, warnings, interactions, and contraindications
before administering any drug, herb, or supplement discussed