Vanadium: What Is It, and What Does It Do For You?

Many of vanadium's benefits are especially good for diabetic patients. Since vanadium is characterized by poor absorption, it is safe for human consumption. It's most frequently found in seafood, cereal, mushrooms and soybeans.
Vanadium is used in making rubber, plastics, ceramics, and other chemicals.  If you've never heard of vanadium, and aren't familiar with its role in everything from air and water to food, get ready for a little education.



What Is Vanadium?

Vanadium is a white-to-gray metal, and is often found as crystals. Odorless, vanadium typically combines with other elements like oxygen, sodium, sulfur, or chloride. Vanadium and vanadium compounds are sprinkled around the earth's crust and in rocks, some iron ores, and crude petroleum deposits.

Vanadium oxide is a yellow-orange powder, dark-gray flakes, or yellow crystals. Vanadium is also mixed with iron for making aircraft engine. Vanadium is used in making rubber, plastics, ceramics, and other chemicals. So what's the significance of vanadium, besides providing some of the essentials for 747's? Check out vanadium's effects on biology.

Vanadium and Biology

Vanadium is present some enzymes, in particular the vanadium nitrogenase, and it's used by some microorganisms for providing oxygen. Vanadium has a role in metabolizing carbohydrates and is believed to have a positive influence on cholesterol and blood lipid metabolism.
Vanadium is also believed to:

  • Lower blood sugar
  • Increases muscle mass
  • Increases muscle vascularity
  • Mirrors insulin action
  • Increases glycogen synthesis and storage

Many of vanadium's benefits are especially good for diabetic patients. Since vanadium is characterized by poor absorption, it is safe for human consumption.
The Japanese see vanadium as a good health supplement, and it's even present in their drinking water. With a normal diet you'll typically consume about 10-30 micrograms  of vanadium per day-and that works out just fine considering there's no recommended daily intake. It's most frequently found in seafood, cereal, mushrooms and soybeans.

Vanadium is important to sea squirts. Rats and chickens also require vanadium in very trace amounts, and deficiencies can result in reduced growth and difficulty reproducing.

While diabetics and people monitoring their blood glucose levels may benefit from taking a vanadium supplement, they aren't necessary for most people. In fact, you can get a healthy helping of the mineral as a part of your own diet.
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