Medical Definition of Germanium

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Germanium: A nonessential trace element that has caused nephrotoxicity (kidney injury) and death when used chronically by humans, even at recommended levels of use.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (the FDA) warns that products containing germanium have been "labeled for drug use (e.g., with claims that they are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of diseases such as AIDS or cancer), although there are no approved new drug applications or current investigational new drug applications on file. Germanium-containing products also have been offered for entry as food products such as dietary supplements."

Germanium has been offered for sale under a variety of names including Germanium Sesquioxide, GE-132, GE-OXY-132, Vitamin O, Pro-Oxygen, Nutrigel 132, Immune Multiple, and Germax. The FDA recommends that such products containing germanium for human usage be labeled "poisonous and deleterious." (There are legitimate uses for germanium in the semiconductor industry.)

Reviewed on 10/30/2018

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