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Germanium is a trace mineral that has been called one of the greatest new developments in the nutritional treatment of cancer. In its inorganic form germanium has no nutritional benefits, although it is an effective semiconductor, or a substance that is good at transporting electrons. Inorganic germanium is related to silicon, and is used in the electronics industry to make computer chips.

However, organic germanium, also called Germanium-132, or Ge-Oxy 132, has been shown to protect the body from cancerous cell and tumor growth by strengthening the immune system. Germanium may be a potential treatment for cancer as well as other degenerative diseases associated with aging and free radical damage.

Many of the important herbs and medicinal plants traditionally used in healing, including ginseng, garlic, comfrey, and aloe vera, all contain substantial amounts of germanium. The therapeutic benefits of these herbs may be linked to the high amounts of germanium they contain.

Organic germanium was first successfully synthesized by Dr. Kazuhiko Asai of Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Asai found that organic germanium protect against cancer by stimulating the production of interferon, a substance that stimulates the production of natural killer (NK) cells, which directly combat cancer cells. Dr. Asai was the first to develop the process for producing an organic germanium that was chemically identical to the form extracted from plants, but much less costly and therefore more accessible to the public. The chemical name for this organic germanium compound is bis-carboxyethyl germanium sesquioxide. Since then, several other Japanese companies have patented other processes for the production of organic germanium.

Organic germanium helps increases oxygen in the body, which has been shown to retard the growth of cancer cells an may even help return those cells to their normal state. Dr. Otto Warburg, who won the Nobel prize for his cancer research, discovered that cancer cells cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment. Organic germanium carries oxygen across cellular membranes into the cell, which helps fight diseases caused by insufficient cellular oxygenation, or oxidative free-radical damage. One study published in the Journal of Interferon Research concluded that organic germanium restored the function of T-cells, B-lymphocytes, and natural killer cell activity, while increasing the number of antibody-forming cells, without any side effects. Research suggests that germanium may help treat cancer of the lungs, bladder, larynx and breast, as well as depression, asthma, arthritis, heavy metal poisoning, sinus infection, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, neuralgia, leukemia, and cirrhosis.

Organic germanium may cause minor side effects, including skin rash and diarrhea. Therapeutic doses of germanium should be administered only under the care of a qualified physician, with appropriate monitoring of kidney function. In addition, most research indicates that germanium functions best when used in conjunction with, rather than in place of, traditional or alternative cancer therapy.

Germanium is currently available in capsules and tablet supplements. It is also available in pure powder form, which can be stirred into water to make a liquid that must be stored in the refrigerator maintain its stability. It is also sometimes included in smaller amounts in combination multivitamin-mineral supplement formulations. Liquid organic germanium is sometimes inhaled in a nebulizer used to oxygenate the lungs of lung cancer, emphysema, and asthma patients.

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