Germanium is a chemical element. People use it as medicine.
Despite serious safety concerns, germanium is used for heart and blood vessel conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease; for eye conditions, including glaucoma and cataracts; and for liver conditions, including hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Some people use germanium for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), pain, weak bones (osteoporosis), low energy, and AIDS.
Other uses include heavy metal poisoning, including mercury and cadmium poisoning; depression; cancer; food allergies; and yeast and viral infections.
Germanium is also used for increasing circulation of blood to the brain, supporting the immune system, and as an antioxidant.
How it works
Germanium might act against inflammation. It might also have antioxidant properties and affect the immune system.
Researchers are interested in spirogermanium, a form of germanium, as an alternative treatment for various kinds of cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, head and neck cancer, and lung cancer. However, early research has shown only minimal response to treatment with spirogermanium. Other early research suggests that taking propagermanium, another form of germanium, by mouth for 1-7 months might benefit people with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. Finally, in one person, all symptoms of a particular type of lung cancer went away after taking germanium sesquioxide, another form of germanium, by mouth.
Early research suggests that taking a specific product (Serocion, Yamanouchi, Japan) containing propagermanium by mouth for 16 weeks reduces the amount of active hepatitis virus in people with hepatitis B.
Germanium is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts normally found in the diet. A typical daily diet includes 0.4-3.4 mg of germanium
Spirogermanium, a specific form of germanium, is POSSIBLY SAFE when injected intravenously (by IV) in recommended amounts by a licensed professional. Propagermanium, another form of germanium, is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in recommended doses for up to 7 months
Germanium is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in elemental form and in the form of certain compounds such as germanium oxide and germanium lactate-citrate. There have been more than 30 reports of kidney failure and death linked with use of these forms of germanium. It builds up in the body and can damage vital organs such as the kidneys. It can also cause anemia, muscle weakness, nerve problems, and other side effects.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Germanium isLIKELY UNSAFEwhen taken by mouth by women who arepregnantorbreast-feeding. More than 30 deaths have been linked to using germanium. Don't use it.Are there any interactions with medications?
Germanium might decrease how well furosemide (Lasix) works. But there isn't enough information to know if this is a big concern.