Germanium. The secret behind the health benefits of garlic,
ginseng and mushrooms.
not officially classed as a "trace mineral",
Germanium is one of the most important reasons why natural
foods, such as garlic are recommended
by nutritional practitioners.
disease states, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, immune
system dysfunction and cancer have all been shown to respond
to germanium therapy. It would appear that the reason for
germanium's effectiveness is its ability to regulate the
uptake of oxygen in the cells
this process helps protect them from infections by viruses,
bacteria and fungi as well as increasing growth and protecting
them from the cold. In humans, it seems the effects are
both related to oxygen regulation and strong antioxidant activity.
seems to be particularly effective in enhancing the body's
natural resistance to viruses. this led to it being used
as a treatment for AIDS in the late 1980s, prior to some
toxicity problems with one of the synthetic forms. If the
same critical approach was applied to aids
would surely be taken off the market tomorrow (or even
better, would never have even got there!).
no surprise that the dietary sources rich in germanium
are those that are used routinely by traditional medicine,
such as garlic, ginseng, comfrey and mushrooms.
It is also a powerful analgaesic, which enhances the effects
of the body's own endorphins.
Functions of Germanium in the body
- Antiviral activity
- Powerful antioxidant
- Anticancer properties
- Enhances oxygen supply to tissues
- May protect against osteoporosis
Although germanium deficiency per se is not recognised,
a lack of germanium is associated with infection and immune
disorders, heart disease and high cholesterol, arthritis,
osteoporosis, cancer and many other conditions.
Normal amounts of Germanium in the diet
Germanium is present in many natural foods, comprising around
1mg/day in an average western diet. High intakes of synthetic
germanium (50-250mg/day) have been shown to be detrimental
although this seems to depend on the form taken.
Sources of dietary Germanium
Mushrooms (especially shitake)
Whilst organic germanium (germanium sesquioxide) and germanium
lactate citrate seem to be fairy safe, germanium dioxide
has been associated with permanent kidney damage. It was
this knowledge that prompted regulatory bodies to ban ALL
forms of germanium on a "tar them all with the same
brush" approach that led to its withdrawal for the treatment
of AIDS patients, despite the
fact that the alternatives
not only kill AIDS patients, but they may
even be responsible for it in the first place!
Germanium supplements are now not easily available and it
should be sought through dietary sources.
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