Medical Articles

Germanium - An Extremely Protective Antioxidant

Germanium is a powerful antioxidant which has been shown to protect against asthma, arthritis, cancer, diabetes and even acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDs). In this article I will be discussing this nutrient in greater detail and providing you with a summary of its main functions, the best food sources, the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) and the potentially adverse effects of consuming too much or too little.

1) DISCOVERY:

Germanium's existence was actually predicted many years before it was discovered. In 1871 the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev created the periodic table of elements. In this table he arranged all the known elements in a way that made sense to him. This resulted in a number of gaps being left. Medeleev hypothesised that these gaps were elements that would be discovered at a later date. One such gap was element 32 which was discovered and isolated in 1882 by the German chemist Clemens Alexander Winkler.

2) FUNCTION:

Germanium is an essential nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body and protects the cells from damaging free radicals (harmful by-products of oxygen based reactions). This powerful nutrient can offer protection from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), asthma (a condition which makes breathing difficult), arthritis (inflammation of the joints), cancer (by stimulating the production of cancer fighting natural killer cells), cirrhosis (a chronic liver disease), diabetes (a disease that leads to extremely high blood glucose levels), depression, heart disease, neuralgia (a condition which causes nerve pain), high blood pressure (a condition which can cause damage to your blood vessels and vital organs), osteoporosis (reduced bone mineral density) and sinus infections. In addition to this it can boost the immune system, promote oxygen uptake in the body's cells and treat cataracts (a condition which causes clouding on the lenses of the eyes).

3) RDA:

Germanium has only recently been classed as an essential nutrient so there is currently no official RDA. Research suggests that consuming 1 milligram (mg) per day of this nutrient is enough to meet the body's needs. The unofficial tolerable upper limit (TUL) for germanium is 49mg per day.

4) FOOD SOURCES:

Since germanium is a relatively recent addition to the family of essential nutrients, there is little information available on the amounts found in certain foods. However, plant based foods such as comfrey, garlic, ginseng and mushrooms are often the best sources of this nutrient. Research suggests that most Western diets contain around 1mg of this nutrient and therefore supply the body with all the germanium it needs.

5) OVERDOSE SYMPTOMS:

There are currently no overdose symptoms associated with natural germanium. However, taking 50mg or more of germanium supplements each day can lead to a number of negative symptoms including bruising, liver damage and kidney failure.

6) DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS:

Germanium deficiencies are extremely rare and often only develop as the result of an extremely limited diet. The symptoms of germanium deficiency include cancer, heart disease, immune disorders and osteoporosis.

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