Germanium

Germanium is a trace element found in a wide range of foods including beans, tomato juice, oysters, tuna and garlic.

How much do I need?

Germanium isn't needed for good health.

What does it do?

It has no known function in the body but it may help us get energy from the carbohydrates we eat.

What happens if I take too much?

There are two forms of germanium - organic and inorganic. Inorganic germanium supplements are no longer sold in the UK because in this form germanium can damage the kidneys, muscles and nervous system.

Organic germanium is found naturally in foods. Although the amount we get from food doesn't appear to be harmful, it isn't clear what the effects of taking organic germanium supplements might be.

What is our advice?

The amount of germanium we get from food doesn't appear to be harmful. But the Agency advises against taking germanium supplements.