Written by Markus Horneber, Elke Wolf and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated February 28, 2017


Is it safe ?

A review from 1997 reported on 31 cases of organ toxicity related to different germanium compounds, including GeO2, germanium-lactate-citrate and propagermanium (Ge-132), which were ingested over a period from two to 36 months. In the two cases of propagermanium intake contamination with GeO2 was detected 9. All cases showed renal impairment in terms of chronic or acute renal failure, which caused death in nine cases. Other clinical findings were anaemia, which occurred in all cases, gastrointestinal disturbances, weight loss, myopathy and liver dysfunction9. If at all, renal function improved very slowly and remained impaired in some patients observed as long as 40 months 23-24. As a consequence, governmental institutions of several countries imposed alerts because of possible injury to health.

According to data from animal studies, inorganic germanium compounds cause renal toxicity, whereas propagermanium does not 25. However, French investigators found evidence that at least in rats, higher doses of propagermanium could also cause structural changes in the kidneys 26.

Adverse effects

In a case series with 10 myeloma patients, depression was seen as an adverse effect attributed to propagermanium in two patients 16. In a double-blind placebo-controlled trial on the treatment of chronic hepatitis B with daily doses of 30 mg propagermanium including 182 patients no adverse events attributable to propagermanium were reported. A post-market survey including 32,700 patients with chronic hepatitis B reported liver enzyme flares in 4% of patients treated with propagermanium. As a consequence, severely impaired liver function is regarded a contraindication for the application of propagermanium in Japan 20.

Quality problems

Germanium dioxide (GeO2) represents an intermediate product in the synthesis of organic germanium compounds9. Thus contamination of organic germanium compounds is possible if manufacturers do not safeguard the purity of their products.

Citation Markus Horneber, Elke Wolf, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Propagermanium [online document]. http://ws.cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Dietary-approaches/Propagermanium. February 28, 2017.


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