Vanadium is represented on the periodic table by the V symbol and it has an atomic number of 23. This element is silvery-gray, soft and ductile. How much do you know about vanadium? Well, we’re about to find out.
A Brief History
Vanadium was first discovered in 1801 by Andres Manuel del Rio. He was able to extract this element from vanadinite. However, his discovery was questioned 1805 by Hippolyte Victor Collet-Descotils who was backed by Alexander von Humboldt. Both declared, albeit incorrectly, that the element Del Rio found was simply impure chromium. Del Rio made the decision to accept this and his claim was retracted.
In 1831, a Swedish chemist Nils Gabriel Sefstrom rediscovered the element. Friedrich Wohler ended up confirming Del Rio’s work later that year; however, it was Sefstrom’s name for the element that stuck. The name of the element was chosen by Sefstrom due to the wide variety of colorful chemical compounds produced by it.
Vanadium: Uses and Benefits
Orally, vanadium is used for diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyperlipidemia, heart disease, edema, improving athletic performance in weight training, and preventing cancer. Vanadium is also used for treating tuberculosis, diabetes, syphilis, and a form of microcytic anemia (chlorosis). There is some evidence that high oral doses of vanadyl sulfate (100 mg daily, 31 mg elemental vanadium), can improve hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes and possibly reduce blood glucose levels, however, the use of this element for an extended period of time may not be completely safe. It’s not known if lower doses have the same benefit. Clinical studies of vanadium have included a total of less than 40 patients. Until more is known, tell patients not to use vanadium for treating type 2 diabetes.
When used orally and appropriately. Vanadium is safe when taken in amounts below the tolerable upper intake level (UL) of 1.8 mg per day. Taking more than the tolerable upper intake level (UL) of 1.8 mg per day can increase the risk of gastrointestinal side effects and theoretically, renal toxicity. In some cases, patients with diabetes have used very high doses (100 mg per day) safely for up to 4 weeks. On the other hand, there is concern that prolonged use of high doses might cause serious side effects including kidney damage, thus, it is discouraged to take Vanadium in high dosage for long periods of time.
Orally, vanadium most commonly causes mild gastrointestinal upset. There is concern that taking doses exceeding the tolerable upper intake level (UL) of 1.8 mg per day can increase the risk of gastrointestinal side effects and possibly lead to more severe toxicity. At higher doses, vanadium frequently causes gastrointestinal effects including abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, nausea, and flatulence. Vanadium has also been associated with green discoloration of tongue, fatigue, lethargy, and focal neurological lesions, which were unrelated to dose.
Significant toxic effects have been observed in animal studies of vanadium including decreased weight gain, deterioration in health, pro-oxidant effects, alteration in renal function, increased serum urea and creatinine levels, tissue vanadium accumulation, and some deaths.