The mineral vanadium is essential in human nutrition; this nutrient is considered to be an ultra-trace mineral that is found in the human body and dietary sources in minute amounts. Some sources of vanadium include plant products like the buckwheat, herbs like parsley, soybeans, the seeds and oil of the sunflower, cereals like oats and whole wheat, olive oil, plants like corn, green beans, peanut oils, common vegetables like carrots and cabbage, tomatoes and lettuce, garlic, and radishes, tuberous plants like onions and beets, fruits like apples and plums, seafood, mushrooms, soy, and gelatine. People affected by disorders such as long term diabetes can benefit from vanadium supplements. Though very rarely seen, there are reports of vanadium deficiencies from time to time. Problems like manic depression have been connected to excessive levels of vanadium in the body.
As far as the human nutrition is concerned, the mineral vanadium can be considered an ultra-trace mineral. Some animals require the presence of vanadium in their diets, for such animals, the deficiency symptoms can include retardation of growth, the development of bone deformities and persistent or long term infertility. The mineral vanadium is not considered essential in the diet as far as humans are concerned and no conclusive ill effects from a lack of vanadium have even been observed. The structural formation of bones and teeth in humans may be influenced by vanadium in some way - though the relationship is unclear.
The control of glucose levels in individuals affected by non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) may be improved by vanadyl sulfate, which is a form of this mineral - this is based on the evidence gathered during a study of eight diabetics who were given supplements of 100 mg of vanadyl sulfate every day during a four week trial. At the same time, the long term safety issues connected to the use of such large doses of vanadium is till unknown and researchers who conducted this study caution the unsupervised use of the mineral especially in high doses. The safety of such high dosages of vanadium are questioned by many doctors of natural medicine, these experts expect that the results from future research are very likely to show that the use of such high dosage amounts will turn out to be dangerous.
Though unlikely to occur, there are no reported cases of people suffering from deficiencies of the mineral vanadium. Humans do not seem to require vanadium in the diet in high amounts.
The amount of the mineral nutrient vanadium is very limited in the nature and it is mainly found in approximately 65 dissimilar minerals, which include bauxite, vanadinite, patronite and carnotite. In addition, vanadium is also found in carbon enclosing deposits, for instance coal, crude oil, tar sands and oil shale.
A variety of vanadium ores have been identified, however, neither of them are mined for the metal itself, which is usually acquired in the form of by-products of different ores. It may be noted here that the major supplies of vanadium are from South Africa as well as Russia. The annual global production of this mineral ore is approximately 45,000 tons. In effect, the production of vanadium itself is around 7000 tons annually.
In effect, vanadium is profusely present in majority of the soils, though in inconsistent quantities, and it is absorbed by plants at such levels which reveal the availability of this mineral. In effect watering the ground is a crucial way by which this mineral can be redistributed about the environment since venedates are usually quite soluble in water. In biology or environmental science, an atom of vanadium is an indispensible element of a number of enzymes, especially vanadium nitrogenase, which is employed by a number of microorganisms that fix nitrogen from the atmosphere.
It is known that rodents as well as chickens need vanadium in extremely little quantities and the dearth of this mineral leads to diminished growth as well as damaged reproduction. It may be noted that vanadium is a comparatively contentious dietary supplement, basically owing to its augmenting insulin sensitivity as well as body building. Whether or not vanadium works for the second purpose is yet to be proved and there is little substantiation that athletes who take this mineral are just experiencing the effect of a placebo. In effect, vanadyl sulfate has the aptitude to enhance the regulation of glucose in people enduring type-2 diabetes. Moreover, oxovanadates as well as decavanadate are species that have the potential for several biological actions and that have successfully been employed as tools for comprehending numerous biochemical procedures.
Although the compounds of vanadium are not considered to be a grave risk for our health, it has been found that workers who come in contact with the mineral, especially vanadium peroxide dust, suffered from acute irritation of the eye, nose and throat. Intake of vanadium by people primarily occurs by means of the foodstuff they intake, for instance, soya beans, buckwheat, sunflower oil, olive oil, apples as well as eggs.
Always bear in mind that use of vanadium may cause several effects on our health, especially when taken in excessive amounts. Uptake of vanadium by means of the air may result in health conditions, such as pneumonia and bronchitis. The severe impacts of vanadium may include irritation of the eyes, nasal cavities, throat and the lungs.
Other health effects of vanadium uptake are:
Health risks related to coming in contact with vanadium mainly depend on the oxidation form of the mineral. Fundamental vanadium may be oxidized to produce vanadium peroxide during the welding process.
It may be mentioned here that compared to its rudimentary form, vanadium peroxide is additionally toxic. Constant exposure to the dust of vanadium peroxide is likely to result in acute irritation of the skin, eyes, upper part of the respiratory tract, incessant inflammations of the bronchi and trachea, systemic poisoning and pulmonary edema. The hints as well as symptoms of over exposure to vanadium peroxide comprise cough, nasopharyngitis, fast heart beat, chronic bronchitis, conjunctivitis, difficulty in breathing, lung changes, allergic skin rash, a greenish-black tongue and skin pallor.
The vast majority of people do not require any supplements of vanadium and research indicates that vanadium supplementation is not necessary for most of the population. For this reason, the optimal intake levels for vanadium remains unknown. It is estimated that humans require vanadium at less than 10 mcg daily, however, the real levels of the mineral in the average diet is about 15 to 30 mcg of the mineral daily.
Side effects and cautions
Toxic effects from excessive exposure to vanadium have been reported from workers exposed to vanadium dust over long periods of time. Manic depressive mental disorders have also been connected to high blood levels of vanadium; however, what meaning this has for health remains a mystery. The growth of cancer in animals is at times stimulated and at other times inhibited by vanadium. Similar trials have not been conducted on humans and its effects on cancer growth rates in humans are still unclear. There are no reported interactions between vanadium and other nutrients in the body.