Vanadium is a trace mineral found in the earth soil. The name vanadium was derived from Scandinavian goddess Vanadis. She is considered goddess of beauty just like the mineral. Human body requires very small amount of vanadium for various functions and activities. Body gets its requirement from the food that we eat. Vegetables and seafood are its natural source.
Minerals are needed for repair and growth of various tissues, some of which are required in large amount while there are few that are required in trace. Calcium, magnesium, phosphates, sodium, potassium come in the first category while selenium, zinc, manganese, copper and vanadium are placed in second category.
Although vanadium takes part in various biological activities in the body, researchers are yet to determine if it is an essential element.
Functions And Benefits Of Vanadium In The Body
From whatever little understanding that is known to researchers about vanadium, let us know how it benefits human health.
- One of the main roles played by vanadium is to reduce the level of cholesterol and triglyceride in the blood. It prevents adherence of low density cholesterol (LDL) to the walls of arterial vessels. Low density cholesterol is the main culprit responsible for clogging the blood vessels of heart. With adequate amount of this trace mineral in the body it is possible to keep cholesterol and triglyceride level at its optimum.
- With its action on cholesterol and triglyceride, vanadium also lowers the risk of hypertension which is a major cause of heart attack and stroke. Other action of vanadium is to enhance the performance of smooth muscles. Heart is made up of smooth muscles. Therefore adequate amount of vanadium in the body facilitates the heart to function well.
- Vanadium is also involved in sugar (carbohydrate) metabolism. It improves the utilization of glucose from the blood into the muscles. Patient suffering from type 2 diabetes may benefit from adequate amount of vanadium in their body. This it does in two ways. First the catalytic action of vanadium facilitates circulating glucose from the blood to be utilized as energy. Second it increases the efficiency of insulin hormone to carry glucose to the cells and tissues. Both this qualities keep a check on raised blood glucose level in a person suffering from type 2 diabetes.
- Person suffering from type 2 diabetes are also at a greater risk of suffering from heart attack. The risk increases twice when he also has raised cholesterol and triglyceride level. Adequate amount of vanadium in the body curtails risk for both this problems.
- Vanadium is also required in trace amount to keep the bones and teeth strong. Evidence suggests lack of vanadium may trigger dental carries although more research is needed to prove it.
- Vanadium is also useful in patients suffering from psychiatric mood disorders and depression.
Natural Food Sources Of Vanadium
Corn oil and peanut oil are good sources of vanadium. Also green beans, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes and garlic have good amounts of this mineral. Buckwheat is an excellent source of vanadium. Various types of fish that are commonly eaten also supply vanadium.
Other food items that contain vanadium in trace amount are; oats, millet, parsley, radish, onions, beets, lettuce, olive oil, sunflower seeds, apples and plums, black pepper, mushrooms and gelatin.
- Deficiency Symptoms: Although there are beneficial properties known of vanadium, there is lack of clarity to suggest if there is any deficiency symptom exclusively prevailing due to dietary vanadium deficiency.
- Precautions: Vanadium can prove to be toxic if taken in synthetic form. The toxic symptoms can manifest in weight loss, painful menstruation, fatigue, diarrhea and vomiting, chest pain, skin rashes, anemia, etc.