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Vanadium (V), Blood

Vanadium (V) is an element often found in nature in the form of crystals. Pure vanadium is odorless and is usually combined with other elements such as oxygen, sodium, sulfur, or chlorine. Vanadium and vanadium compounds can be found in the earth's crust and rocks, iron ores, and crude oil deposits. Vanadium is used in the production of rust-resistant springs and tools. Vanadium pentoxide is used in ceramics, as a catalyst, and in producing superconducting magnets. Vanadium compounds, vanadyl sulfate, and sodium metavanadate have been used as dietary supplements.

All people are exposed to low levels of vanadium in the air, water, and food. Most are mainly exposed through food. Inhalation of high concentrations of vanadium pentoxide can damage the lungs. Swallowing vanadium can cause nausea and vomiting. In experimental animals, ingesting vanadium can cause reduced red blood cell composition and increased blood pressure.

How does vanadium enter the environment?
  • Vanadium enters the environment mainly from natural sources and fuel oil combustion.
  • Vanadium does not dissolve well in water.
  • Vanadium is combined with other elements and particles.
  • Vanadium is strongly linked to soil and sediments.
  • Low levels of vanadium have been found in plants, but accumulation in animal tissues is challenging.
How is one exposed to Vanadium?
  • Consuming vanadium-containing foods, with the highest levels found in seafood. Vanadium is also found in some nutritional supplements.
  • By inhaling air near oil or coal-burning industries. These industries release vanadium oxide into the air.
  • Workers in industries processing vanadium or products containing vanadium.
  • By inhaling contaminated air or drinking contaminated water near dumps or landfills containing vanadium.
  • By inhaling cigarette smoke.
  • The stomach, intestine, or skin do not readily absorb vanadium.
How can Vanadium affect health?

Vanadium is a trace element that (like chromium) improves carbohydrate utilization by affecting the insulin receptor. The average recommended dose is 50-100 µg daily.

Exposure to high levels of vanadium pentoxide in the air can lead to lung damage. Nausea, mild diarrhea, and stomach cramps have been reported in people exposed to certain vanadium compounds. Several side effects have been observed in animals consuming certain vanadium compounds, such as decreased red blood cells, increased blood pressure, and mild neurological effects. The amounts of vanadium the animals received in these studies were much higher than those likely to occur in the environment.

How can the risk of exposure to Vanadium be reduced?
  • Vanadium is found in some dietary supplements. Consult your doctor before taking vanadium-containing supplements to determine if they are appropriate.
  • Vanadium is a component of cigarette smoke. Avoid smoking indoors or in the car to limit exposure.
How can one determine if one has been exposed to Vanadium?

Vanadium levels can be measured in blood and most biological materials.

Determination of metals is done by ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry), a method that enables the simultaneous detection of many metals. Its sensitivity and accuracy are significantly better than conventional atomic absorption, with the ability to measure metals at concentrations up to 1 in 1015 (1 in 1 quadrillion, ppq)!

Vanadium and Manic Depression

Naylor and colleagues have mainly explored the role of vanadium in mania. Elevated levels of vanadium were found in hair samples of manic patients, while values ​​fell to normal levels during the disease. In contrast, patients with depression usually had average vanadium concentrations in the hair and elevated levels in whole blood and serum. At the time of the recession, vanadium levels returned to normal. As a vanadium ion, Vanadium is a potent inhibitor of the Na/K-ATPase pump. Lithium, a drug used in the treatment of manic depression, has also been shown to affect the function of this particular pump.

Treatments designed to reduce the vanadium ion to the less active form of vanadyl, such as ascorbic acid, methylene blue, and EDTA, are used separately and in combination.

In these cases, the low-vanadium diet has also been suggested. Low-vanadium foods (1 to 5 ng/g) include fats, oils, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Whole grains, seafood, meat, and dairy products have 5 to 30 ng/g, while prepared foods, white bread, and simple breakfast cereals contain 11 to 93 ng/g.

If the Naylor hypothesis is correct, then perhaps other factors that influence the function of the Na/K-ATPase pump may be involved in some cases of bipolar disorder. These factors associated with reduced activity of the Na/K-ATPase pump include uremia, hypothyroidism, and insensitivity to catecholamines. Therapeutically, correcting underlying disorders can be of great help in some cases of bipolar disorder. Vitamins E and B6 have been shown to increase the activity of Na/K-ATPase in vitro, while vitamin E further stabilizes the membranes.




Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for diagnosing and monitoring all pathological conditions. Between 70% and 80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased."

Laboratory test results should not be interpreted solely based on the numerical result of a single analysis. They should be interpreted in relation to each individual case, family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your physician should explain the importance of your test results.

At Diagnostiki Athinon, we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and contact your doctor to ensure you receive the best possible medical care.

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