The chemical element vanadium, or vanadium (V), plays a significant role for humans. It belongs to trace elements that perform a number of significant functions. In particular, it promotes proper metabolism, the formation and growth of healthy bones and teeth, increases protective abilities, cleanses the blood and even slows down aging (in combination with other minerals).
Some chemists call it an ultra-micronutrient, since the content of vanadium in the body is extremely low. And one more interesting fact. For almost a century, scientists have debated the benefits of vanadium. And only at the end of the twentieth century it became clear: this microelement is necessary for a person. Therefore, today it is important to know in what food and in what portions to look for vanadium to maintain good health.
Discovery of vanadium
Vanadium is one of those chemicals that scientists have discovered several times. It was first discovered in the century before last by the Mexican mineralogist Manuel del Rio. But a group of European scientists considered that the element discovered by the Mexican was the already known chromium. And only 30 years later, the Swedish chemist Nils Gabriel Sefstrom rediscovered vanadium and confirmed del Rio's conclusions about the new trace element. And it was the Swede who named the new trace element Vanadium - in honor of the Scandinavian goddess of beauty Vanadis. More than 30 years later, another chemist, now in England, Henry Enfield Roscoe obtained the metal vanadium in the laboratory.
Why does a person need vanadium
On average, the body of an adult contains from 20 to 25 mg of vanadium in various concentrations.
The element creates its depots in bones, fat, immune cells, liver and spleen. Vanadium was added to the category of trace elements relatively recently, so there is not as much information about it yet as about other micronutrients with a longer history. Nevertheless, based on the results of the research, scientists were convinced that important functions are assigned to vanadium in the human body.
Vanadium in the body:
- activates some of the enzymes;
- promotes the metabolism of calcium, carbohydrates, lipids, catecholamines (hormones released during stress);
- promotes the production of certain hormones;
- takes part in the formation of red blood cells;
- enhances insulin sensitivity in type 1 and type 2 diabetics;
- increases stamina;
- prevents the development of atherosclerosis;
- is a prophylactic against certain types of cancer (bone, breast, liver, prostate);
- protects against the development of cardiovascular pathologies;
- strengthens bones and teeth;
- reduces the level of "bad" cholesterol;
- regulates blood glucose;
- affects the concentration of sodium and potassium in the body;
- is necessary for the growth of children;
- has a positive effect on the functioning of the reproductive system.
Daily Requirement for Vanadium
Since vanadium has only recently been listed as a micronutrient, scientists have not yet definitively determined the recommended daily intake. In general, the intake of the substance in the range of 0.1 to 1 mg per day is considered safe and adequate to meet the needs of the body. By adhering to a rational and balanced diet, you can ensure this rate. True, only about 1 percent of vanadium obtained from food is absorbed, the rest is excreted. Which, however, is not bad, as it protects against microsubstance poisoning.
Sources in foods
High levels of vanadium are most commonly found in vegetables and seafood.
Mushrooms, oysters, parsley and spinach are among the most important micronutrient sources. In 100 grams of these products, more than 0.1 mg of a useful substance is stored. Almost 0.3 mg of vanadium is found in 100 grams of whole grains, dairy products and seafood.
|Product name (100 g)||Vanadium (µg)|
|Wheat, barley (groats)||172|
|Buckwheat, pistachios, lettuce||170|
Also, small portions of vanadium enter the body with water. According to some sources, there are large reserves of the substance in royal jelly and honey in combs.
Signs of overabundance
The maximum daily dose of vanadium, as recommended by some scientists, is 1.8 mg. A dose of 2-4 mg of the substance is theoretically considered lethal.
However, research is ongoing and data may still be revised. Therefore, it is important to take vanadium with caution, not exceeding safe limits.
An excess of vanadium in the body often occurs due to poor ecology. If excess doses of a microelement enter the body, then usually not with food, but together with emissions from metallurgical plants, in the manufacture of glass and asphalt. People working in production may develop asthma, dermatitis, anemia, which are potential signs of an excess of vanadium.
Overdose of this micronutrient can lead to:
- vascular damage;
- green coating on the tongue;
- renal failure;
- damage to the liver, lungs;
- nervous and mental disorders;
- loss of appetite;
- weight loss;
- skin problems;
- reduced immunity.
Signs of deficiency
It is too early to say with 100% certainty that vanadium deficiency is dangerous for the human body. Nevertheless, there is an opinion that the lack of this microsubstance provokes:
- complications in diabetics;
- hypoglycemia (a sharp decrease in blood glucose);
- development of oncological diseases;
- susceptibility to cardiovascular disease;
- increased cholesterol.
But it is important to note that laboratory experiments with the exclusion of vanadium from the diet were carried out only on animals. In them, the deficiency of the substance led to a deterioration in the condition of bone tissue, cartilage, muscles, and a decrease in the ability to reproduce. An experiment conducted on goats showed that a lack of vanadium provokes miscarriages, stillbirths, and abnormal development of the fetus. An experiment was also carried out on rats: after the introduction of vanadium into the diet of animals, their thyroid gland performance improved.
Signs of vanadium deficiency in humans are only a theory. In addition, if you adhere to a balanced diet, it is almost impossible to get a micronutrient deficiency. The exception is a violation of the digestive function and problems with the absorption of nutrients.
Interaction of vanadium with other elements
, aluminum and ascorbic acid - on the contrary, enhance its effect on the body. That is why, in order to quickly remove a large dose of vanadium from the body, it is worth using preparations containing chromium and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (it neutralizes the negative effects of heavy metals).
Vanadium is a new nutrient in the micronutrient group. Scientists still have a lot of research to do before making any big statements. Although it is already clear that vanadium plays a certain role in maintaining human health.