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It is estimated that approximately five to ten percent of consumed vanadium is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, very little is known about the mechanism of vanadium’s absorption.
Fats and vegetable oils are the richest food sources of vanadium. Vanadium also occurs in fish, grains, meats, and nuts. The following foods and spices also contain vanadium: black pepper, dill seeds, mushrooms, and parsley.
Vanadium is an essential trace mineral found in water and soil throughout the world. Interest in vanadium as a nutritional substance has been steadily building over the past twenty years. Vanadium is a transition metal with biochemical properties similar to chromium, molybdenum, manganese and iron. Vanadium primarily functions as a cofactor in various enzymatic reactions for utilization and regulation of insulin, glucose, and cholesterol. It accumulates primarily in organ tissues. The highest concentrations are found in the liver, kidneys, and bone. Bone appears to be the long-term storage site for vanadium, while storage of accessible vanadium is primarily in fat and lipid serum.
Toxicities & Precautions
Vanadium has no known toxicity in humans when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines. Vanadium can be absorbed through inhalation, and too much exposure could be toxic. It is also used in a wide variety of industrial processes. Occasionally, industrial accidents create a situation excessive vanadium is inhaled to create toxicity.
Vanadium doses associated with the treatment of type II diabetes have produced mild gastrointestinal discomfort.
Functions in the Body
Bones and Teeth
Vanadium has been shown to have a functional role as a building block in bone and teeth development.
Cholesterol and Triglyceride
Vanadium may be able to assist in lowering elevated serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
The most significant research on vanadium to date involves its insulin-like properties and its role in helping to treat diabetes. Vanadium stimulates glucose metabolism. When taken by patients with type II Diabetes, blood glucose levels decrease.
Vanadium may be involved amino acid transport, the growth of red blood cells, lipoprotein activity, and oxidation reactions.
Symptoms & Causes of Deficiency
No known cases of vanadium deficiency have been recorded. Based on what is known about vanadium it may be speculated that a deficiency could result in increase risk of high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, decreased bone development, increased risk of oxidative damage.