Organic germanium is the common name for the chemical biscarboxyethyl germanium sesquioxide (also called organo germanium, germanium-132 or Ge-132.) Organic germanium has recently sparked interest following the publication of numerous papers on its therapeutic effects.
Less than fifty years ago many essential minerals were believed to be irrelevant to human health, including zinc, manganese, and chromium. Today scientists recognize that all three are vitally important to proper metabolic functioning and health. Now researchers are devoting their attention to a number of ultra-trace minerals, including cobalt, silicon, gold, and germanium.
Originally discovered in 1886, germanium received little attention until the electron-transfer properties of inorganic germanium lead to its use in the creation of the first semiconductor transistor 1948. Shortly thereafter, a Japanese engineer, Dr. Kuzihiko Asai, discovered that coal deposits, the fossilized remains of plants, contained large amounts of germanium. Since very little germanium occurs in the earths crust, averaging only about 7 parts per million, until Dr. Asai’s research scientists hadn’t suspected that plants contained germanium.
Dr. Asai recognized the potential benefits of organic germanium in human health when he discovered that medicinal plants such as ginseng, shiitake mushrooms, aloe vera, comfrey, garlic, and chlorella contained very high natural concentrations of this rare mineral, leading to speculation that germanium accounted for much of their therapeutic activity.
Dr. Asai experimented with organic germanium, in doses ranging from 100-300 mg. of a day, and found them to be effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis, food allergies, elevated cholesterol levels, Candida albicans, chronic viral infections, and cancer. Germanium also evidenced impressive activity in helping to control pain.
Organic vs. Inorganic Germanium: It must be stressed that organic germanium is not to be confused with inorganic germanium, which is used as a semi-conductor to conduct electricity efficiently, and is highly toxic in even minute concentrations. By comparison, organic germanium has been thoroughly studied in extensive toxicological (acute, sub-acute, chronic, and reproductive) and pharmacological studies and has been found to be virtually non-toxic.
Activity and Function: Germanium seems to function by attaching itself to oxygen to improve cellular oxygenation. The body requires more oxygen to support the immune system and to help the body excrete toxins. Other researcher has supported germaniums’ role in helping to increasing oxygenation of tissues, and further medically supervised studies of germanium are in progress in American and Japanese institutions. Under medical supervision numerous patients with a broad range of symptoms have been treated with germanium at doses from 500 to 1000 mg. per day.
The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine also reported that germanium was found to be a dramatic immunostimulant capable of raising immune functions and maintaining them within optimal ranges. Germanium has also been shown to possesses antiviral activity, and is able to activate macrophages and natural killer cells. Evidence also suggests that organic germanium increases interferon production, making it an immuno-stimulant.
In one study of healthy, arthritic, or cancer subjects, organic germanium normalized T and B Iymphocyte function while stimulating natural killer (NK) cell activity. These and other results closely correlate with interferon production (i.e. proliferation of antibody-generating cells, etc.). These findings in humans are similar to the observed increases in both numbers and activity of macrophages, neutrophils, and lymphocytes seen in laboratory animals receiving organic germanium.
Cancer: Twelve in vivo and in vitro animal carcinogenicity studies of organic germanium have been reported in the scientific literature. In none of these studies was any evidence of organic germanium’s carcinogenicity reported. Most striking were the consistent findings reporting that organic germanium arrested the growth of experimentally induced cancers, including leukemia, sarcomas, Iymphomas, and adenocarcinomas.
Besides enhancing the survival time of these animals, organic germanium also retarded metastatic spreading of their cancers. This suggests that organic germanium may be a new anticancer agent in humans. Researchers in Japan have begun double-blind placebo (phase lll) studies of organic germanium’s effectiveness against certain cancers.
Further support for organic germanium’s safety comes from the finding that it has no direct cytotoxic effect on cancer cells in vitro, thereby preventing surrounding noncancerous tissue from damage. It also further supports the prevailing theory that organic germanium works as an anticancer agent by stimulating the host’s natural anticancer defense system.
Heart Disease: Animal experiments suggest a role for organic germanium in hypertension and heart disease. However, unlike the numerous cancer studies, supportive findings are limited. One study gave organic germanium to rats with induced hypertension, and their blood pressure levels dropped to normal. Of particular interest was the failure of organic germanium to force the blood pressure to drop too low. Unlike so many anti-hypertensive drugs, organic germanium administration restored blood pressure to normal levels only. This may give organic germanium considerable advantage over many other anti-hypertensive drugs if similar results are reported following both human clinical and experimental trials.
Toxicology – Pharmacology: Multi-dimensional behavioral observation by Irwin’s method of mice given organic germanium intraperitoneally showed no abnormalities. A careful review of the published literature, including Japanese citations, found organic germanium virtually free of any side effects with the exception of occasional complaints in postsurgical and other patients receiving high therapeutic doses who complained of loose stools. However, these complaints subsided after discontinuation of organic germanium. Anecdotal reports of adverse effects in a single diabetic could not be substantiated through published sources. Animal studies have found no influence of organic germanium on respiration, blood pressure, or electrocardiogram (ECG).
Pharmacokinetic (absorption, excretion, distribution, and metabolism) studies of organic germanium have found it to rapidly disappear in both blood, tissues and organs after oral administration to laboratory animals. These studies also show that organic germanium is almost totally excreted within 1 to 1.5 days after administration. This suggests no accumulation occurring in the body if taken in recommended daily doses.
A review of the literature found no reports of allergic reactions to organic germanium. However, it is always possible that such a reaction can occur in susceptible persons, suggesting that administration of organic germanium should be monitored.
There is no recommended dosage for germanium. Food tolerance has been improved with doses as low as 100-200 mg., while candida-associated symptoms have been known to respond to less than 100 mg. per day. Germanium is safe and is totally secreted intact from the body within 48 hours.