What is organic germanium?
Organic germanium is the common name given to biscarboxyethyl
germanium sesquioxide – a biologically active
compound of the element germanium containing carbon,
hydrogen and oxygen. Its chemical formula is
(GeCH2CH2COOH)2O3. This is the only form of germanium
that has been extensively studied for its health benefits.
What is Ge-132?
Ge-132 is the name given to organic germanium by the
Japanese chemist, Dr. K. Asai, who originally identified this
form of germanium in 1967. Today, the term Ge-132 is used
interchangeably with the name organic germanium to indicate
the compound bis-carboxyethyl germanium sesquioxide.
How safe is germanium?
Inorganic forms of germanium, such as germanium dioxide,
have been found to be quite toxic at high levels. However,
pure, organic germanium has no demonstrated toxicity, even
in very high amounts. The real safety issue concerning organic
germanium centers around its degree of purity. Improper
manufacturing procedures can result in impure organic
germanium. High quality organic germanium products have
a purity of 99.7% or greater.
How is the price of organic germanium related
to its quality?
Because organic germanium is expensive relative to most
other nutritional supplements, concerned customers fear that
low price may also mean low quality. Unfortunately, price is
no indication of germanium quality. While some high
quality products are fairly priced, others may be priced
excessively. Still others may be priced below the average
price of other germanium products even though they are of
equal high quality. Prices of lower quality germanium
products can vary just as much. The quality of available
germanium products should be evaluated based on objective
criteria which authenticate their purity. Once the quality is
established, a selection can easily be made on the basis of
preferred dosage form and competitive pricing.
What are the objective criteria that identify
pure, organic germanium?
It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to verify the
quality and purity of the organic germanium they provide.
This is accomplished only by performing appropriate quality control and analytical assay procedures. The following
testing protocol is used to establish the authenticity and
purity of organic germanium:
1) Appearance: Organic germanium is a white crystalline
powder that appears dense and free-flowing.
2) Solubility in Water: Pure organic germanium dissolves
in water leaving a clear, colorless solution with no evidence
of turbidity. This is tested by suspending a specified amount
of germanium sesquioxide (.20 gram) in 10 ml of deionized
water, agitating the suspension, and heating to 60° C at a rate
of approximately 5° per minute. Total solubility should occur
in less that 10 minutes. If either immediate solubility or prolonged
resistance to solubility occurs, foreign substances may be present.
3) Taste Evaluation: Pure organic germanium has a
characteristic slight acidic or astringent taste and dissolves
readily on the tongue. This test is valid only for the evaluation
of pure germanium powder. It is not appropriate for tablets,
capsules, or liquid formulations because of other ingredients
used during their manufacture.
4) Infrared Spectroscopy: An infrared spectrum is so
characteristic for a chemical compound that it is considered
to be its “fingerprint”. Organic germanium sesquioxide
shows well-defined infrared absorption bands at wave
numbers (cm-1) of 1690, 1410, 1240, 910 and 810. If any
defined absorption occurs at approximately 875 cm-1, the
undesirable germanium dioxide form may be present.
5) Loss on Drying: The moisture content of organic
germanium is a variable that must be considered as it helps
to determine the sesquioxide composition. Upon drying, the
weight loss of the material should be less than 0.5 percent,
otherwise, you may not be getting full value for your money
because of high water content.
6) Titration: This procedure measures the organic
germanium content of a material. A specified volume of
germanium sesquioxide solution is compared against
another solution of known concentration to determine the
purity of the germanium solution. A titration value of 99.7%
or greater indicates organic germanium with a high
degree of purity.
7) Elemental Germanium Content: The amount of elemental
germanium provided by the organic germanium compound is
another indicator of the purity of the material. Pure organic
germanium should contain 42.78% elemental germanium.
Given the inherent limitations of analytical instruments (Atomic
Absorption, ICP Emission Spectroscopy, etc.) used to measure
elemental germanium, the actual observed and acceptable range
is between 42.4 to 43.0 percent.
8) Elemental Nitrogen Content: Because some methods
for manufacturing germanium sesquioxide involve the use of
nitrogen-containing compounds, the nitrogen content can be
used as another indication of purity. If the material is of high
quality and purity, a negligible amount of nitrogen will be
9) Other Impurities: Because toxic heavy metals such as
lead and arsenic can occur as contaminants in a variety of
materials, the content of these should be determined to
ensure that safe and acceptable standards are not exceeded.
None of the above tests can be relied upon by itself to
establish germanium purity. Used together, they will
accurately confirm the quality of germanium sesquioxide.
Amni® uses all of the above indicators to ensure that only the
highest quality organic germanium material is provided in
How does Germanium from Japan and other
countries compare with Germanium produced
within the United States?
Germanium sesquioxide was first identified and produced in
Japan. As demand for this material grew, chemists in this
country began manufacturing it as well. In fact, an increased
supply of germanium sesquioxide is one of the reasons the
price has recently come down. Although companies who
market germanium from Japanese sources claim it to be
superior, laboratory tests show that the organic germanium
produced in this country is chemically identical to that
produced in Japan. Interestingly, no Japanese source germanium
is currently being allowed into the United States. The Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an import alert in
June 1988 on all germanium imported from Japan. Currently,
there are only two manufacturers of organic germanium
sesquioxide in the United States. Thus, all companies now
marketing germanium sesquioxide are obtaining it from the
same sources. Any claims by a company indicating that they
are the sole suppliers with the only authentic or the purest
germanium sesquioxide are simply untrue.
Which dosage form of germanium is best?
Amni® Organic germanium, provided by Douglas
Laboratories®, is available as a dietary supplement in
sublingual tablet, capsule, liquid and pure powder form. The
decision to use one form over another is largely a matter of
personal preference, as no scientific evidence exists comparing
the absorption characteristics of the various forms. However,
to ensure they receive maximum benefit from the products
they buy, consumers should be aware of differences in the
way commercially available germanium products are formulated.
Sublingual Tablets: Some companies produce high dose
tablets for sublingual use in a very small tablet size in an
attempt to maximize convenience and hypoallergenicity.
However, because of the astringent, acidic nature of organic
germanium, such concentrated amounts can irritate the sensitive
tissues under the tongue causing an uncomfortable burning
sensation which may produce an abrasion. To avoid this
effect, it is necessary to adequately buffer the germanium
with an appropriate material. Amni uses mannitol, a natural
plant compound, that is well-tolerated by allergy prone
Capsules: Two-piece gelatin capsules also offer a convenient
way to take germanium in a premeasured dose. Allergic
individuals need to be aware which filler has been used in
the capsules as this will vary between manufacturers. Amni®
germanium capsules contain only pure organic germanium
Pure Powder: Finely powdered germanium is ideal for
mixing with water. Dilution instructions should be carefully
followed to ensure that stock solution provides dosages of
known concentration. For best results, the use of distilled
water in making the stock solution is recommended.
Liquids: Concentrated solutions of organic germanium are
provided by some companies. Additives are necessary to
adjust the pH so as to solubilize the germanium. Other
nutrients are sometimes added to the formulations as well.
Amni® does not currently provide a liquid germanium product
because no data exists as to the stability of germanium in this
form or any potential adverse interactions which may occur
between ingredients when in solution.
Cellulose, gelatin, magnesium stearate, and water.