A systematic review of vanadium oral supplements for glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus

QJM. 2008 May;101(5):351-8. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcn003. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


Objective: To assess the effectiveness of oral vanadium supplementation for glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes by conducting a systematic review of the literature.

Design and methods: Eligible studies were identified by searching 14 databases using standardized terms. Experts, study authors and manufacturers were also contacted. Hand-searching was not undertaken. Selection criteria for inclusion in the review were controlled human trials of vanadium vs. placebo in adults with type 2 diabetes of minimum 2 months duration, and a minimum of 10 subjects per arm. Data extraction, assessment of study quality and outcome analysis were undertaken by two independent reviewers.

Results: One hundred and fifty one studies were found but none met the inclusion criteria. We proceeded to summarize the state of existing evidence and plan for a future clinical trial by applying revised, less restrictive criteria to our search, for clinical trials of 30-150 mg daily oral vanadium supplementation in diabetic humans. Only five were identified. These demonstrated significant treatment-effects, but due to poor study quality, must be interpreted with caution. Treatment with vanadium often results in gastrointestinal side-effects.

Conclusion: There is no rigorous evidence that oral vanadium supplementation improves glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes. The routine use of vanadium for this purpose cannot be recommended. A large-scale randomized controlled trial is needed to address this clinical question.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Blood Glucose
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Trace Elements / administration & dosage*
  • Vanadium / administration & dosage*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Trace Elements
  • Vanadium