Germanium: Overview

Germanium sesquioxide is a novel mineral supplement with significant potential for maintaining health and extending life.  The high-purity organic complex is safe, with much lower toxicity than the inorganic form.  This product has been in use since 1967 in Japan, and is now gaining popularity in the West.  Germanium sesquioxide aids the body's natural defenses against disease and aging.  Its primary action is the restoration of the natural balance of cells in the immune system.

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Germanium is a mineral found in the soil, in foods and many healing herbs such as Aloe Vera, garlic and ginseng.  It is known to initiate healthy oxygen flow in the body tissues and aids in the normal functioning of the immune cells.  It is also known to maintain a healthy balance between various body functions and is a water-soluble dietary supplement.

Germanium is not classified as a trace mineral but as an ultratrace element in human nutrition and is said to possess a variety of health benefits.  Japanese Shitake Mushrooms, ginseng, garlic and other folk remedies which have survived the test of time are all rich in Germanium.  Germanium is, of course, not the only active ingredient in these plants but the fact remains that these are healing plants and germanium alone has been found to be a highly successful adjunct in the treatment of cancer.

Various studies have been performed to measure the amounts of ultratrace elements in human diets.  For germanium, the typical dietary intake for humans is 0.4 to 3.4mcg per day.

History; Source

As a supplementary mineral it came to the attention of the health industry on account of the works of Doctor Kazuhika Asai of Japan in 1950.  The results of his research determined that Germanium will be helpful in protecting the liver from toxic damage and support various aspects of the immune system.

The remarkable success of germanium as a semiconductor in the electronics industry motivated Dr. Asai to study the biochemical potential of this element.  Because the inorganic form used in the semiconductor industry can cause kidney failure, Dr. Asai's chemical intuition told him that a water-soluble, organic complex of germanium would be a better answer.  He expected this complex to change the oxidation state of the human body and correct the chemical imbalances responsible for most illnesses.  To check his hypothesis, he measured the germanium content of various plants.  He found notably high levels in a number of plants which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.  From this data, Dr. Asai concluded that an organic form of germanium would be safer and more beneficial, while maintaining the unique electronic properties of the mineral.

Dr. Asai established the Germanium Research Institute to produce a water-soluble organic complex of germanium.  The result, first found in 1967, was bis-beta-carboxyethyl germanium sesquioxide, often shortened to germanium sesquioxide or germanium-132.

Throughout the 1970s, Dr. Asai operated the Organic Germanium Clinic in a suburb of Tokyo.  He and his staff offered germanium sesquioxide treatment to all who came, regardless of illness.  This bold experiment led to a number of satisfied customers and academic research papers.  Dr. Asai reported the results from his clinic in his book, Miracle Cure: Organic Germanium in 1980.  The book reports that several thousand patients used the clinic without a single complaint.  Some 20% of the patients became germanium believers, continuing to take the compound on a regular basis.  Three medical doctors added chapters to the book describing their positive experiences with germanium: Drs. Shigeru Makiuchi, Takahiro Tanaka, and Mieko Okazawa.

Western scientists discovered the benefits of germanium sesquioxide through an entirely different route.  A detailed study of various organometallic complexes as possible cancer drugs was reported in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 1994.  Both clinical and animal studies were used.  The rationale for these experiments was the success of an organic platinum complex called cisplatin.

Two organogermanium compounds were studied extensively: spirogermanium and germanium sesquioxide.  While both were effective against some cancers, their mechanisms of action were completely different.  Spirogermanium was found to be effective in killing cancer cells, even when the cells were cultured outside the body (in vitro).  Germanium sesquioxide, on the other hand, does not kill cancer cells directly.  Researchers concluded that germanium sesquioxide stimulates immunopotentiating mechanisms, leading to augmentation of natural killer cell activity and activation of macrophages.

Germanium is a constituent of various natural foods in the amount of around 1mg per day for the average diet.

Sources of germanium include Shelf fungus (Trametes cinnabarina), Ginseng, Sanzukon (Codonopsis Tangshen), Sushi (Angelica pubescens), Waternut (Trapa japonica), Boxthorn seed (Lycium Chinense), Wisteria Knob (Wisteria floribunda), Pearl Barley (Semen Coicis), Gromwell (Lithosemi radix), Aloe, Comfrey, Ginseng, Chlorella, and Garlic, all of which are considered healthful in modern nutrition.

There are two general forms of germanium: organogermanium and inorganic germanium compounds.  Both types have been sold as nutritional supplements for their alleged health benefits.  However, because of the possibility of contamination and several unclear and poor-quality scientific reviews, some consider any use of germanium unsafe.

Function; Why it is Recommended

Dr. Asai reported that germanium sesquioxide benefited patients with a wide variety of conditions, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, stroke, and stomach ulcers.  Researchers investigated both animal models and humans in order to understand how one compound could treat so many disorders.  Their conclusions were that germanium sesquioxide aids the body's natural defenses against disease and aging.

Germanium is extremely efficient as an intracellular electrical impulse initiator in the human body.  It helps rectify distortions in the electrical aggregate of the body and is a metallic co-factor for the utilization of oxygen.  It is essential for optimum nutrition, absorption and raises the level of activity of various organs by enabling them to attract more oxygen.  It supports the body's natural immune system and is used to bring about a number of health benefits.  Germanium enhances the body's natural capacity to combat viruses.

Germanium plays a key role in the circulation of oxygen to the body tissues and regulates the functioning of cells.  It helps ensure proper cell replication.  It is a powerful analgesic known to increase the body's endorphin levels.

Germanium deficiency is not recognized but is usually characterized by conditions such as infection, heart disease, increased cholesterol levels, osteoporosis, cancer, arthritis and immune disorders.

Germanium is used in the treatment of several diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, malfunction of the immune system and arthritis.

Japanese researchers have found excellent results using germanium sesquioxide to treat cancer.  Korean medical literature reports success in treating cancers of the breast, cervix, nervous system, esophagus, and endometrium.

Chinese researchers have found that germanium-132 can inhibit the abnormal growth of fibroblasts in the eye.

There is limited evidence for the use of propagermanium (an organogermanium – organic germanium) in the treatment of Hepatitis B.  Additional research is warranted in this area.

Germanium has been used in the treatment of AIDS/HIV since the late 1990s.  It activates the production of Interferon, Macrophages and NK-Lymphocytes.

It relieves angina when consumed in therapeutic doses.  It helps lower blood pressure and improves the health of arteries.  It is known to possess powerful antioxidant properties that enable the body to fight the harmful effects of free radicals.

It is used in the prevention and treatment of cataracts.  It relives joint pain, aids in the formation and maintenance of strong bones.  It helps in the prevention of Raynaud's Disease and reduces the development of Gangrene.


Product purity is critical to the safety of germanium sesquioxide.  In the thousands of patients who attended Dr. Asai's Germanium Clinic, there were no reported cases of germanium toxicity.  The dosage for several patients was reported as 40mg per kg of body weight.  That is, a person who weighs 110 pounds would take 2,000mg (2gm) per day.  Even at such high doses, the product appeared to be safe.  Pure germanium sesquioxide is completely excreted in the urine within 72 hours.

Counter-Indicators and Warnings

High dosage of synthetic germanium (50 to 250 mg per day) is hazardous to health.  Organic Germanium (Germanium sesquioxide) and Germanium lactate citrate are fairly safe but Germanium dioxide can cause permanent kidney damage.

Potential health hazards caused by certain germanium-containing dietary supplements include nephropathy (leading in some cases to renal failure and death), cardiomyopathy and peripheral myopathy.

Before taking any mineral supplements it is essential to consult a registered medical practitioner in order to determine if the nutrient is required by your body or not.  You must also make note of any diseases or ailments you might be suffering from such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, depression, kidney problem, gastro intestinal disease, high cholesterol levels etc.  You must also consider your present medical condition, if you are allergic to any prescription or over-the-counter drugs or have a family history of any ailments before taking any mineral.  Pregnant and lactating women should take supplements only after consulting a physician.

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