Definition of Germanium

Reviewed on 6/3/2021

Germanium: A nonessential trace element that has caused nephrotoxicity (kidney injury) and death when used chronically by humans, even at recommended levels of use.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (the FDA) warns that products containing germanium have been "labeled for drug use (e.g., with claims that they are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of diseases such as AIDS or cancer), although there are no approved new drug applications or current investigational new drug applications on file. Germanium-containing products also have been offered for entry as food products such as dietary supplements."

Germanium has been offered for sale under a variety of names including Germanium Sesquioxide, GE-132, GE-OXY-132, Vitamin O, Pro-Oxygen, Nutrigel 132, Immune Multiple, and Germax. The FDA recommends that such products containing germanium for human usage be labeled "poisonous and deleterious." (There are legitimate uses for germanium in the semiconductor industry.)


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