Atomic number 32, Bis-Carboxyethyl Germanium Sesquioxide, Carboxyethylgermanium Sesquioxide, Ge, Ge-132, Ge-Oxy 132, Germanio, Germanium-132, Germanium Inorganique, Germanium Lactate Citrate, Germanium Sesquioxide, Inorganic Germanium, Numéro Atomique 32, Organic Germanium, Sesquioxyde de Germanium, Spirogermanium.
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 does it work?
Germanium might act against inflammation. It might also have antioxidant properties and affect the immune system.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Cancer. 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.
- Hepatitis B. 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.
- Osteoporosis (weak bones).
- Low energy.
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Heart disease.
- Liver problems.
- Food allergies.
- Yeast infections.
- Viral infections.
- Heavy metal poisoning.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
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.
The appropriate dose of germanium depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for germanium. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Shim, J. U. and Lim, K. T. Antioxidative activity of glycoprotein isolated from Geranium sibiricum Linne. Nat Prod Res 2009;23(4):375-387. View abstract.
Asaka T, Nitta E, Makifuchi T, et al. Germanium intoxication with sensory ataxia. J Neurol Sci 1995;130:220-3.. View abstract.
Aso, H., Suzuki, F., Ebina, T., and Ishida, N. Antiviral activity of carboxyethylgermanium sesquioxide (Ge-132) in mice infected with influenza virus. J Biol.Response Mod. 1989;8(2):180-189. View abstract.
Aso, H., Suzuki, F., Yamaguchi, T., Hayashi, Y., Ebina, T., and Ishida, N. Induction of interferon and activation of NK cells and macrophages in mice by oral administration of Ge-132, an organic germanium compound. Microbiol.Immunol. 1985;29(1):65-74. View abstract.
Becker BN. Ginseng-induced diuretic resistance. JAMA 1996;276:606-7. View abstract.
Budman DR, Schulman P, Vinciguerra V, Degnan TJ. Phase I trial of spirogermanium given by infusion in a multiple-dose schedule. Cancer Treat Rep 1982;66:173-5.. View abstract.
DiMartino, M. J., Lee, J. C., Badger, A. M., Muirhead, K. A., Mirabelli, C. K., and Hanna, N. Antiarthritic and immunoregulatory activity of spirogermanium. J Pharmacol Exp.Ther. 1986;236(1):103-110. View abstract.
Ettinger DS, Finkelstein DM, Donehower RC, et al. Phase II study of N-methylformamide, spirogermanium, and 4-demethoxydaunorubicin in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (EST 3583): an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group study. Med Pediatr Oncol 1989;17:197-201.. View abstract.
Fujii, A., Kuboyama, N., Yamane, J., Nakao, S., and Furukawa, Y. Effect of organic germanium compound (Ge-132) on experimental osteoporosis in rats. Gen.Pharmacol 1993;24(6):1527-1532. View abstract.
Fujimoto, M., Ishibashi, H., Shimamura, R., Takahashi, K., Hirata, Y., Kudo, J., Niho, Y., Kira, J., and Miyata, K. [A patient with liver cirrhosis manifesting various symptoms including cerebellar ataxia due to germanium intoxication]. Fukuoka Igaku Zasshi 1992;83(3):139-143. View abstract.
Gerber GB, Leonard A. Mutagenicity, carcinogenicity and teratogenicity of germanium compounds. Mutat Res 1997;387:141-6.. View abstract.
Goodman S. Therapeutic effects of organic germanium. Med Hypotheses 1988;26:207-15.. View abstract.
Hachisu, M., Takahashi, H., Koeda, T., and Sekizawa, Y. Analgesic effect of novel organogermanium compound, GE-132. J Pharmacobiodyn. 1983;6(11):814-820. View abstract.
Henry, M. C., Rosen, E., Port, C. D., and Levine, B. S. Toxicity of spirogermanium in mice and dogs after iv or im administration. Cancer Treat.Rep. 1980;64(12):1207-1210. View abstract.
Hess B, Raisin J, Zimmermann A, et al. Tubulointerstitial nephropathy persisting 20 months after discontinuation of chronic intake of germanium lactate citrate. Am J Kidney Dis 1993;21:548-52.. View abstract.
Higuchi I, Izumo S, Kuriyama M, et al. Germanium myopathy: clinical and experimental pathological studies. Acta Neuropathol (Berl) 1989;79:300-4.. View abstract.
Hirayama, C., Suzuki, H., Ito, M., Okumura, M., and Oda, T. Propagermanium: a nonspecific immune modulator for chronic hepatitis B. J Gastroenterol. 2003;38(6):525-532. View abstract.
Iijima, M., Mugishima, M., Takeuchi, M., Uchiyama, S., Kobayashi, I., and Maruyama, S. [A case of inorganic germanium poisoning with peripheral and cranial neuropathy, myopathy and autonomic dysfunction]. No To Shinkei 1990;42(9):851-856. View abstract.
Ikemoto, K., Kobayashi, M., Fukumoto, T., Morimatsu, M., Pollard, R. B., and Suzuki, F. 2-Carboxyethylgermanium sesquioxide, a synthetic organogermanium compound, as an inducer of contrasuppressor T cells. Experientia 2-15-1996;52(2):159-166. View abstract.
Ishiwata, Y., Yokochi, S., Hashimoto, H., Ninomiya, F., and Suzuki, T. Protection against concanavalin A-induced murine liver injury by the organic germanium compound, propagermanium. Scand.J Immunol. 1998;48(6):605-614. View abstract.
Jao, S. W., Lee, W., and Ho, Y. S. Effect of germanium on 1,2-dimethylhydrazine-induced intestinal cancer in rats. Dis.Colon Rectum 1990;33(2):99-104. View abstract.
Kamijo, M., Yagihashi, S., Kida, K., Narita, S., and Nakata, F. [An autopsy case of chronic germanium intoxication presenting peripheral neuropathy, spinal ataxia, and chronic renal failure]. Rinsho Shinkeigaku 1991;31(2):191-196. View abstract.
Kaplan, B. J., Andrus, G. M., and Parish, W. W. Germane facts about germanium sesquioxide: II. Scientific error and misrepresentation. J.Altern.Complement Med. 2004;10(2):345-348. View abstract.
Kaplan, B. J., Parish, W. W., Andrus, G. M., Simpson, J. S., and Field, C. J. Germane facts about germanium sesquioxide: I. Chemistry and anticancer properties. J.Altern.Complement Med. 2004;10(2):337-344. View abstract.
Kleinrok, Z., Lekim, D., and Jagiello-Wojtowicz, E. Central action of sanumgerman administered orally in mice. Acta Physiol Pol. 1988;39(4):244-253. View abstract.
Komuro, T., Kakimoto, N., Katayama, T., and Hazato, T. Inhibitory effects of Ge-132 (carboxyethyl germanium sesquioxide) derivatives on enkephalin-degrading enzymes. Biotechnol.Appl.Biochem. 1986;8(5):379-386. View abstract.
Krapf R, Schaffner T, Iten PX. Abuse of germanium associated with fatal lactic acidosis. Nephron 1992;62:351-6.. View abstract.
Kumano, N., Ishikawa, T., Koinumaru, S., Kikumoto, T., Suzuki, S., Nakai, Y., and Konno, K. Antitumor effect of the organogermanium compound Ge-132 on the Lewis lung carcinoma (3LL) in C57BL/6 (B6) mice. Tohoku J Exp.Med. 1985;146(1):97-104. View abstract.
Kuwabara, M., Ohba, S., and Yukawa, M. Effect of germanium, poly-trans-[2-carboxyethyl] germasesquioxane on natural killer (NK) activity in dogs. J Vet.Med.Sci. 2002;64(8):719-721. View abstract.
Lin CH, Chen TJ, Hsieh YL, et al. Kinetics of germanium dioxide in rats. Toxicology 1999;132:147-53.. View abstract.
Long, Q. C., Zeng, G. X., and Zhao, X. L. Pharmacokinetics of germanium after po beta-carboxyethylgermanium sesquioxide in 24 Chinese volunteers. Zhongguo Yao Li Xue.Bao. 1996;17(5):415-418. View abstract.
Luck BE, Mann H, Melzer H, et al. Renal and other organ failure caused by germanium intoxication. Nephrol Dial Transplant 1999;14:2464-8.
Luck, B. E., Mann, H., Melzer, H., Dunemann, L., and Begerow, J. Renal and other organ failure caused by germanium intoxication. Nephrol.Dial.Transplant. 1999;14(10):2464-2468. View abstract.
Mainwaring MG, Poor C, Zander DS, Harman E. Complete remission of pulmonary spindle cell carcinoma after treatment with oral germanium sesquioxide. Chest 2000;117:591-3.. View abstract.
Matsusaka T, Fujii M, Nakano T, et al. Germanium-induced nephropathy: report of two cases and review of the literature. Clin Nephrol 1988;30:341-5.. View abstract.
McMaster, M. L., Greco, F. A., Johnson, D. H., and Hainsworth, J. D. An evaluation of combination 5-fluorouracil and spirogermanium in the treatment of advanced colorectal carcinoma. Invest New Drugs 1990;8(1):87-92. View abstract.
Ming, X., Yin, H., and Zhu, Z. [Effect of dietary selenium and germanium on the precancerous lesion in rat glandular stomach induced by N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine]. Zhonghua Wai Ke.Za Zhi. 1996;34(4):221-223. View abstract.
Mizushima, Y., Shoji, Y., and Kaneko, K. Restoration of impaired immunoresponse by germanium in mice. Int.Arch.Allergy Appl.Immunol. 1980;63(3):338-339. View abstract.
Mrema, J. E., Slavik, M., and Davis, J. Spirogermanium: a new drug with antimalarial activity against chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. Int.J Clin.Pharmacol Ther.Toxicol. 1983;21(4):167-171. View abstract.
Nagata, N., Yoneyama, T., Yanagida, K., Ushio, K., Yanagihara, S., Matsubara, O., and Eishi, Y. Accumulation of germanium in the tissues of a long-term user of germanium preparation died of acute renal failure. J.Toxicol.Sci. 1985;10(4):333-341. View abstract.
Nakada, Y., Kosaka, T., Kuwabara, M., Tanaka, S., Sato, K., and Koide, F. Effects of 2-carboxythylgerumanium sesquioxide (Ge-132) as an immunological modifier of post-surgical immunosuppression in dogs. J Vet.Med.Sci. 1993;55(5):795-799. View abstract.
Obara, K., Saito, T., Sato, H., Yamakage, K., Watanabe, T., Kakizawa, M., Tsukamoto, T., Kobayashi, K., Hongo, M., and Yoshinaga, K. Germanium poisoning: clinical symptoms and renal damage caused by long-term intake of germanium. Jpn.J.Med. 1991;30(1):67-72. View abstract.
Peng X, Lingxia Z, Schrauzer GN, Xiong G. Selenium, boron, and germanium deficiency in the etiology of Kashin-Beck disease. Biol Trace Elem Res 2000;77:193-7.. View abstract.
Pronai, L. and Arimori, S. Protective effect of carboxyethylgermanium sesquioxide (Ge-132) on superoxide generation by 60Co-irradiated leukocytes. Biotherapy 1991;3(3):273-279. View abstract.
Raisin, J., Hess, B., Blatter, M., Zimmermann, A., Descoeudres, C., Horber, F. F., and Jaeger, P. [Toxicity of an organic Germanium compound: deleterious consequences of a "natural remedy"]. Schweiz.Med.Wochenschr. 1-8-1992;122(1-2):11-13. View abstract.
Sanai T, Okuda S, Onoyama K, et al. Germanium dioxide-induced nephropathy: a new type of renal disease. Nephron. 1990;54:53-60.. View abstract.
Schauss AG. Nephrotoxicity and neurotoxicity in humans from organogermanium compounds and germanium dioxide. Biol Trace Elem Res 1991;29:267-80.. View abstract.
Schauss, A. G. Nephrotoxicity in humans by the ultratrace element germanium. Ren Fail. 1991;13(1):1-4. View abstract.
Schein PS, Slavik M, Smythe T, et al. Phase I clinical trial of spirogermanium. Cancer Treat Rep 1980;64:1051-6.. View abstract.
Schroeder, H. A. and Balassa, J. J. Abnormal trace metals in man: germanium. J.Chronic.Dis. 1967;20(4):211-224. View abstract.
Shamir, M. and Sprung, C. L. [Fatal multiple organ system dysfunction associated with germanium metal used in complementary therapy]. Harefuah 11-16-1997;133(10):446-7, 502. View abstract.
Suzuki, F. and Pollard, R. B. Prevention of suppressed interferon gamma production in thermally injured mice by administration of a novel organogermanium compound, Ge-132. J Interferon Res 1984;4(2):223-233. View abstract.
Takeuchi A, Yoshizawa N, Oshima S, et al. Nephrotoxicity of germanium compounds: report of a case and review of the literature. Nephron 1992;60:436-42.. View abstract.
Tanaka, N., Ohida, J., Ono, M., Yoshiwara, H., Beika, T., Terasawa, A., Yamada, J., Morioka, S., Mannami, T., and Orita, K. [Augmentation of NK activity in peripheral blood lymphocytes of cancer patients by intermittent GE-132 administration]. Gan To Kagaku Ryoho 1984;11(6):1303-1306. View abstract.
Tao SH, Bolger PM. Hazard assessment of germanium supplements. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 1997;25:211-9. View abstract.
Tao SH, Bolger, PM. Hazard assessment of germanium supplements. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 1997;25:211-9. View abstract.
Trope C, Mattsson W, Gynning I, et al. Phase II study of spirogermanium in advanced ovarian malignancy. Cancer Treat Rep 1981;65:119-20.. View abstract.
Tsutsumi, Y., Tanaka, J., Kanamori, H., Musashi, M., Minami, H., Fukushima, A., Yamato, H., Ehira, N., Kawamura, T., Obara, S., Ogura, N., Asaka, M., Imamura, M., and Masauzi, N. Effectiveness of propagermanium treatment in multiple myeloma patients. Eur.J Haematol. 2004;73(6):397-401. View abstract.
Van der Spoel, J. I., Stricker, B. H., Schipper, M. E., de Bruijn, W., de Smet, P. A., and Esseveld, M. R. [Toxic damage of kidney, liver and muscle attributed to the administration of germanium-lactate-citrate]. Ned.Tijdschr.Geneeskd. 6-22-1991;135(25):1134-1137. View abstract.
Vogelzang NJ, Gesme DH, Kennedy BJ. A phase II study of spirogermanium in advanced human malignancy. Am J Clin Oncol 1985;8:341-4.. View abstract.
Woolley, P. V., Ahlgren, J. D., Byrne, P. J., Priego, V. M., and Schein, P. S. A Phase I trial of spirogermanium administered on a continuous infusion schedule. Invest New Drugs 1984;2(3):305-309. View abstract.
Yanagisawa H, Yamazaki N, Sato G, Wada O. L-Arginine treatment may prevent tubulointerstitial nephropathy caused by germanium dioxide. Kidney Int 2000;57:2275-84.. View abstract.
Yang MK, Kim YG. Protective role of germanium-132 against paraquat-induced oxidative stress in the livers of senescence-accelerated mice. J Toxicol Environ Health A 1999;58:289-97.. View abstract.