Vanadium is a trace mineral present in several kinds of foods, like mushrooms, shellfish, grains, dill, parsley, black pepper, wine, beer and sweetened drinks. It is considered essential in the body in terms of normal bone growth, although it is only needed in very small amounts.
High doses of vanadium are considered harmful to the body. Several studies have been performed on animals to see if it has any effects on blood sugar levels. Although there have been a few human clinical trials done on the effects of Vanadium for diabetes, nothing conclusive has been discovered so far. This poses a serious challenge to scientists as they continue to find solutions in the treatment of diabetes.
Several studies involving animals have shown that Vanadium can reduce the blood sugar levels as well as improve insulin sensitivity in cases of type 2 diabetes. In those studies, the amount of Vanadium given was well above the considered safe upper intake level for humans, which leads scientist to believe that using vanadium to treat diabetes may be harmful for humans instead of improving their health. Some of those studies even suggest that there are no positive effects on blood sugar levels when Vanadium is used.
Some of these studies also showed that Vanadium may have some protective effects against colon cancer, however, more studies are still needed to establish this.
In one of the studies conducted on human subjects, the same effects such as reduction of blood sugar levels and an increase in the sensitivity of the body to insulin have been observed. These results may suggest that Vanadium has potential for the treatment of diabetes. Vanadium has even reduced the total bad cholesterol levels in the body, which leads scientists and researchers to believe that more studies should be done to verify these findings.
Vanadium has also been used as a health supplement for athletes, but clinical trials did not find any evidence that it enhances athletes’ performance.
Side Effects of Vanadium
Some studies have demonstrated that even with the positive effects that Vanadium may potentially have on patients with diabetes, it can also have several harmful effects in the body. They found that Vanadium may cause damage to DNA which can result in the formation of cancer. It can also block the synthesis of protein and the oxidation of lipids. These effects can lead to the development of heart diseases in patients.
Vanadium for diabetes treatment is strongly indicated based on the results of animal testing, but human testing have yet to be fruitful. So far, only animal testing have proven promising. As of now, taking vanadium to treat diabetes is not recommended because it may in fact do more harm than good.
Diabetes Information Library: Vanadium: Diabetes Therapy
DiabetesNet.com: Vanadium and Diabetes: Benefit or Harm?