Perspectives for vanadium in health issues

Future Med Chem. 2016;8(3):325-38. doi: 10.4155/fmc.15.187. Epub 2016 Feb 22.


Vanadium is omnipresent in trace amounts in the environment, in food and also in the human body, where it might serve as a regulator for phosphate-dependent proteins. Potential vanadium-based formulations--inorganic and coordination compounds with organic ligands--commonly underlie speciation in the body, that is, they are converted to vanadate(V), oxidovanadium(IV) and to complexes with the body's own ligand systems. Vanadium compounds have been shown to be potentially effective against diabetes Type 2, malign tumors including cancer, endemic tropical diseases (such as trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis and amoebiasis), bacterial infections (tuberculosis and pneumonia) and HIV infections. Furthermore, vanadium drugs can be operative in cardio- and neuro-protection. So far, vanadium compounds have not yet been approved as pharmaceuticals for clinical use.

Keywords: bacterial/parasitic/viral infections; cardio; cytostatic potential; diabetes Type 2; essentiality/toxicity of vanadium; neuroprotection; pharmacokinetics; phosphate antagonism; reactive oxygen species; vanadate; vanadium compounds and DNA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amebiasis / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Leishmaniasis / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia / drug therapy
  • Trypanosomiasis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Vanadium Compounds / chemistry
  • Vanadium Compounds / therapeutic use*


  • Vanadium Compounds