Vanadium is a beautiful colored mineral. People use supplements with this mineral for the treatment of diabetes, high cholesterol, low blood sugar, heart disease, syphilis, tuberculosis, a form of "tired blood" (anemia); for enhancing athletic performance; water retention (edema) and for preventing different kinds of cancer. Vanadium works like insulin and can also increase the effects of insulin. There is some scientific evidence supporting this fact.
Vanadium is likely effective for preventing its own deficiency, a condition when the human body lacks vanadium. However, there is insufficient evidence for the treatment of diabetes. According to some data, high doses of vanadyl sulfate (about 100 mg daily, that is 31 mg elemental vanadium) can help patients with type 2 diabetes to use insulin, a hormone processing sugar. High doses of vanadium are able to decrease blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, there is not enough scientific evidence supporting this use.
In any case, vanadium is not recommended to be taken in high doses or used for a long period of time. It can be unsafe. At the same time, it's not known yet whether lower doses of Vanadium work as well.
Vanadium proves to be safe in adults, if it's taken in the dose of up to 1.8 mg per day. In case of higher doses used for the treatment of diabetes, vanadium can often lead to undesired side effects such as diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, gas and nausea. It can also result in the loss of energy, a greenish tongue, and problems with the nervous system.
It has to be admitted that vanadium can be unsafe when used for a long time and/or in large amounts. It can increase the risk of severe side effects such as kidney damage. Remember that Vanadium can decrease blood sugar. For this reason patients with diabetes are advised to check their blood sugar regularly and pay attention to the signs of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Vanadium is considered to be safe in children if taken in small amounts (like in foods). Children should not take supplements as almost nothing is known about the safety of these products in children. Vanadium is not recommended to pregnant and breast-feeding ladies.