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 Individual Dietary Supplements: Accessory Nutrients - A Few Others 

Germanium is trace element number 32 in the periodic table. It is twice as heavy as oxygen (16) and seems in some way related to it, as it supports cellular and tissue oxygenation. Research in Japan also verified a number of effects of Ge-132 on the immune systems of animals and humans. (This is not the effects of the trace mineral but of this special organo-germanium; see the discussion in Chapter 6, Minerals.) Ge-Oxy 132, as it is sometimes called, has been shown to have both antitumor and antiviral effects. These may be a result of its varying immunological actions, such as stimulating interferon production, stimulating macrophage ("Pac-man" white cells) and NK (natural killer) lymphocyte activity, and enhancing cell-mediated immunity. There is some suggestion that Ge-132 helps in pain relief; particularly dramatic relief has occurred in some cases of severe cancer pain.

Most of these effects are noted more in people who are immune suppressed than in normal individuals. Research on the topic has begun at the University of Texas. In an article published in the November 1984 issue of the Journal of Interferon Research, Fugio Suzulu and Richard B. Pollard commented, "Ge-132 belongs to a group of compounds capable of modulating immune response in hosts that have an alteration of immune homeostasis. Although there are a few reports describing enhancement of Ge-132 on natural killer cell activity in healthy subjects, studies in immune suppressed animals and patients with malignancies or rheumatoid arthritis suggest that Ge-132 restores the normal function of T-cell lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, natural killer cell activity, and numbers of antibody-forming cells, but does not enhance them above normal limits."

Interestingly, in both sick and normal animals and humans, Ge-132 is virtually nontoxic. Suzulu and Pollard’s article continues, "Preliminary toxicological and pharmacological studies of this compound (Ge-132) indicate that it has several unique physiological activities without any significant toxic effects." Ge-132 really could be classified as a "highly safe drug" even though it is a trace mineral compound. It has practically no toxicity or influence on reproductive or other functions.

More research is needed on Ge-132. Organic germanium from Japan, as Ge-Oxy 132, has become available only recently in the United States as a pure white powder that can be made into tablets, capsules, or dissolved in water. It is still fairly expensive and will continue to be until it is produced in this country. Now, many companies are marketing germanium products; make sure that it is in this organo-germanium sesquioxide form. Amounts in supplements range from 25–150 mg. or are available as pure powder. Suggested dosages for treatment range from 50–100 mg. daily (probably the minimum needed for an effect), up to 3–6 grams daily (the doses used in Japan for cancer therapy). The level of germanium sesquioxide needed to induce interferon synthesis in humans is a daily intake of 50–75 mg./kg. body weight.

Ge-132 looks very promising, and I am quite excited about it. Its use in the treatment of viral disorders, especially Epstein-Barr, and other problems of immunological suppression appears helpful. Gastrointestinal diseases, such as diverticulitis, circulatory problems, mental symptoms, or really any problem that might be aided by improved oxygenation could be helped by organo-germanium (Ge-132) supplementation. In my clinical experience, I have found that allergies have also been reduced by the use of this nutrient, particularly those allergies that arise to foods based on weakening of the intestinal mucosa. Germanium’s effect on cancer is probably due to its immunostimulating effects rather than a direct effect on cancer cells. Its current use by cancer patients may move it into the political arena soon, which will prompt the FDA and the medical establishment to set controls on its use.

(Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition ISBN: 1587611791)
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 About The Author
Elson Haas MDElson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more
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