Vanadium

What other names is Vanadium known by?

Atomic number 23, Metavanadate, Métavanadate, Orthovanadate, Pentoxyde de Vanadium, Sulfate de Vanadyl, V, Vanadate, Vanadio, Vanadium Pentoxide, Vanadyl, Vanadyl Nicotinate, Vanadyl Sulfate, Vanadyl Sulphate.

What is Vanadium?

Vanadium is a mineral. It was named for the Norse goddess of beauty, Vanadis, because of its beautiful colors. Vanadium supplements are used as medicine.

Vanadium is used for treating diabetes, low blood sugar, high cholesterol, heart disease, tuberculosis, syphilis, a form of "tired blood" (anemia), and water retention (edema); for improving athletic performance in weight training; and for preventing cancer.

Likely Effective for...

  • Preventing vanadium deficiency, a condition in which the body doesn't have enough vanadium.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Diabetes. There is some evidence that high doses of vanadyl sulfate (100 mg daily, providing 31 mg elemental vanadium) might improve the way people with type 2 diabetes use insulin, the hormone that processes sugar. The study suggested that high-dose vanadium might lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. But there are two big concerns about this study. First, it only involved 40 people, so the conclusions need to be confirmed using a bigger study group. Secondly, even if high-dose vanadium works for diabetes, these high doses, used long-term, might not be safe. It's not known if lower doses work as well. For now, don't use vanadium to treat type 2 diabetes. Wait to see if additional larger studies show benefit and safety.
  • Heart disease.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Water retention (edema).
  • Preventing cancer.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of vanadium for these uses.

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How does Vanadium work?

There is some evidence that vanadium might act like insulin, or help to increase the effects of insulin.

Are there safety concerns?

Vanadium is LIKELY SAFE in adults, if less than 1.8 mg per day is taken. At higher doses, such as those used to treat diabetes, vanadium frequently causes unwanted side effects including abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, nausea, and gas. It can also cause a greenish tongue, loss of energy, and problems with the nervous system.

Vanadium is UNSAFE when used in large amounts and for a long time. This increases the risk of serious side effects including kidney damage.

Vanadium might lower blood sugar. People with diabetes should check their blood sugar carefully and watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

Vanadium is LIKELY SAFE in children when taken in amounts found in foods. Don't give children supplements. Not enough is known about the safety of these larger doses in children.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, limit your intake of vanadium to the amount found in food. Not enough is known about the safety of taking larger doses.

Diabetes: The vanadyl sulfate form of vanadium might lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar carefully.

Kidney problems: There is developing evidence that vanadium might harm the kidneys. If you have kidney disease, don't use vanadium supplements.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Vanadium seems to decrease blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking vanadium along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.



Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Vanadium might slow blood clotting. Taking vanadium along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Dosing considerations for Vanadium.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:
  • People get vanadium from food and from supplements. An average diet provides 6 to 18 mcg of vanadium per day. The various vanadium supplements contain a different amount of vanadium, depending on the chemical compound used. For example, vanadyl sulfate contains 31% elemental vanadium; sodium metavanadate contains 42% elemental vanadium; and sodium orthovanadate contains 28% elemental vanadium.
  • The National Institute of Medicine has set the tolerable upper intake level (UL) of vanadium, the highest intake amount for which no unwanted side effects are expected, at 1.8 mg per day of elemental vanadium for adults. No UL has been set for infants, children, and pregnant or breast-feeding women. In these groups, vanadium intake should be limited to food or infant formula.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011