Forms of Germanium
Understanding the difference between safe organic and dangerous inorganic forms of germanium is essential to fully appreciate the significant errors perpetuated in this area. These errors can be divided into four categories: failure to specify the form of germanium under investigation, failure to conduct studies with a pure form of material, failure to correctly classify the form being studied, and failure to comprehensively search published works.
Inorganic forms: Salts and oxides lacking germanium carbon bond are correctly categorized as inorganic forms. The most common inorganic form is Germanium dioxide (GeO2). Germanium lactate citrate (Ge-lac-cit) is a preparation of GeO2 in a buffered mixture of lactic and citric acid to make it more bioavailable. Inorganic forms of germanium can accumulate in the body and are associated with nephrotoxicity, acute renal failure, and death. The Ge-lac-cit preparation is especially bothersome as it is occasionally reported by scientist as an organic form 10, 11, 12, 13. Toxicity from inorganic forms is reported at dosages ranging from 13 to 426 grams over a period of months 12, 30. There is no doubt that elevated levels of inorganic germanium are harmful so we won’t spend a lot of time here. Our purpose is simply to provide the tools to readily identify and avoid them.
Organic forms: A distinguishing feature for all organic germanium compounds is the presence of a germanium carbon bond. As mentioned earlier, scientists report at least 53 organic forms 5 and upwards of 30 organic derivatives of germanium 6. This site, however, focuses only on germanium sesquioxide. We mention this merely to stress the fact that there is a lot of information available, and just because an article mentions “organic germanium” doesn’t necessarily mean that it involves germanium sesquioxide. On the other hand, some companies try to differentiate their germanium sesquioxide through name branding and occasionally attempt to conceal the fact that their product is actually germanium sesquioxide. These elements can make it somewhat difficult to sort through the available information and correctly determine which physiological effects can legitimately be attributed to germanium sesquioxide and which cannot. There are numerous alternate names for germanium sesquioide: Ge-132; SK 818; propagermanium; proxygermanium; repagermanium; to name a few. In an effort to eliminate potential confusion, we will generally use “germanium sesquioxide” to describe all of the alternate names.
Not all organic germanium compounds have physiological effects similar to germanium sesquioxide. Spirogermanium is just one example of this. Spirogermanium is a pharmaceutical attempt to make and patent a new organic germanium form for oncology studies 3, 58. Numerous clinical trials with marginal results for Spirogermanium are published. Spirogermanium, however, must not be confused with germanium sesquioxide. Nor should any benefits or adverse side-effects reported in Spirogermanium clinical trials be extrapolated to compounds beyond the scope of the studies 58-65.
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