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Vanadium Insulin Mimetics Essay

2558 words - 11 pages

Background After a normal person ingests food, the intricate carbohydrates of the food are broken down to glucose, a simple sugar, which is absorbed into the blood stream. This triggers certain cells in the pancreas to release tiny amounts of insulin, which takes glucose from the blood into each of the cells that make up the body's various tissues and organs. Insulin also helps to burn up the sugar within the cells, releasing the energy required to sustain vital functions. Without insulin, it is extremely difficult for glucose in the blood to be used by the body's cells as energy. Conversely, an abundance of insulin increases the rate at which glucose is used by the cells and ...view middle of the document...

In the body, the +4 form occurs as VO2+, the vanadyl cation. Vanadyl cations form conjunctions with other substances, making the compound more stable against oxidation. This enables the vanadyl compound to compete with other transition metal ions for binding sites on proteins and small ligands. Vanadate in the +5 form occurs as VO3-. Vanadate forms complexes with other substances and competes with phosphate in many biochemical reactions. Specifically, it competes for the binding sites of phosphate-transport proteins, phosphohydrolases and phosphotransferases. Vanadate also contributes in redox reactions. Compounds like nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide hydrogenase, NADH, ascorbate and glutathione reduce it. A third form of vanadium is the peroxo form. It is believed to be responsible for vanadium's insulin mimetic actions as its role in catalyzing specific enzymes. Badmaev et al. (1). Peroxovanadyl is formed when vanadate interacts with O2- and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate, NADPH.The vanadium compound is found in the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the food we eat. It is not determined if vanadium is essential in human nutrition. American diet provides between 10 and 60 micrograms per day from foods such as vegetable oil, grains, skim milk, shellfish and wine. Vanadium is known as a "trace element", which are those elements needed by the human body in an amount of less than 100 mg per day.History Since it's discovery, the role of vanadium in human nutrition has been highly controversial. The controversy began in 1876 with the first report of the toxicity of sodium vanadate. In 1923, scientists reported details of vanadium's properties, therapeutic value and toxicological actions. It was not until 1971 through 1974 that researchers were able to identify conclusive evidence that vanadium may be vital to human nutrition. In the early 1980s, the first study was performed showing how vanadium has a function similar to insulin. Badmaev et al. (1). Most of the research that has been performed on vanadium has been in the area of diabetes. Vanadium has demonstrated insulin-mimicking action and has been shown to be beneficial at lowering blood sugar levels of diabetic animals and humans.Vanadium Metabolism There has not been a great deal of research available on he metabolism of vanadium at high levels. The forms of vanadium absorbed from food are either vanadyl or vanadate. It is believed to be converted from vanadium to vanadyl in the stomach and absorbed in that form in the duodenum. During vanadium's conversion in plasma and other body fluids, it binds to vanadyl-transferrin and vanadyl-ferritin. There is a 3 to 5 times greater change of vanadate adsorption versus that of vanadyl. Based on research from the dietary intake of vanadium, only 5 percent is absorbed by the body founded on concentrations located in the feces and urine. One of the main storage locations for vanadium is in the bones and the largest percent...

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