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CHAPTER 8
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Germanium - The Health & Life Enhancer

PREFACE    |   INTRODUCTION   |   CHAPTER 1   |   CHAPTER 2   |   CHAPTER 3   |   CHAPTER 4   |   CHAPTER 5   |   CHAPTER 6   |   CHAPTER 7   |   CHAPTER 8   |   CHAPTER 9   |   CHAPTER 10   |   CHAPTER 11   |   CHAPTER 12   |   CHAPTER 13   |   CHAPTER 14   |   CHAPTER 15   |   REFERENCES

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Germanium And Arthritis


Arthritis The Enigma

Recently, a programme in the BBC series "Wider Horizons" compiled a compelling documentary of the search for the cause and ultimately a cure for one of the most debilitating diseases, rheumatoid arthritis. It included archeological data from skeletal remains to make the point that this form of arthritis was unknown until comparatively modern times which implicates factors of our present civilization in this disease. The course of this tale took us through searches for a bacteriological and viral agent, psychological, dietary and environmental contributors, as well as malfunctioning genes, all the while poignantly demonstrating our pitiful inability to offer sustained relief for the millions of arthritis sufferers. Maniacal excitement first generated by the "miracle cure" cortisone eventually gave way to despair, as the severe side effects of steroids became manifest. Today, treatment for arthritis is still empirical at best, with patients having to cope, day by day, with the painful effects of this illness.

Arthritis is a disease of the immune system, commonly referred to as an "autoimmune" disorder. The synovium, the membrane surrounding a joint, becomes inflamed, resulting in a buildup of lymphoid cells, resulting in the degeneration of bone, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. Some agent, perhaps the Epstein-Barr virus, may trigger the initial joint inflammation, resulting in the production of antibodies. Now this is where the gene factor comes in. The product of a congenitally defective gene then alters this antibody so that it is recognized as foreign to the body. The immune system then mounts a massive defense against this factor. This immune response gone awry results in the painful swelling and inflammation characterized by arthritis. Due to the autoimmune characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis, immunosuppressive measures usually help to alleviate the pain, although sometimes with drastic effects. Interestingly, doctors have long observed that during pregnancy, women's arthritis often subsides, presumably due to immunosuppressive factors that may be involved in preventing her body from "rejecting" that of her foetus.

Metals have been used since the 1920's to treat rheumatoid arthritis. These include gold, platinum, ruthenium and metallocene. Organic Germanium has been used in animal and human clinical studies. In addition to the encouraging results emerging is a growing understanding of the mechanisms underlying the success of organic Germanium. Thus, again, scientific progress has proceeded synchronously with holistic use, with the result that we have some insight into how Germanium works.

Animal Studies Point Out Immune Parameters Of Germanium

The immunology group of Smith Kline and French Laboratories, directed by Michael DiMartino, has been conducting studies to evaluate the anticancer and antiarthritic properties of Spirogermanium (21). The arthritis studies have used rats, in which arthritis is experimentally induced by a single injection of a bacterium (Mycobacterium butyricum) into the left hindpaw footpad of male rats. The primary lesion is the inflammation induced in the injected leg; the secondary lesion is the inflammation in the noninjected leg 16 days later. The results are as follows:

  1. The development of both primary and secondary lesions isinhibited (17% and 27%, respectively), by oral administration of Spirogermanium.
  2. Spirogermanium administered during a 27 day period, significantly suppressed hindleg lesions on established hindleg inflammation. Furthermore, the injected hindleg lesions remained significantly suppressed for the 17 days following the drug treatment. The non-injected inflammation tended to increase in the postdrug period.
  3. Spirogermanium restored enhanced levels of IL-1 to normal levels. IL-1, present in the synovial fluid of patients with chronic inflammation, is a product of activated macrophages involved in immunoregulation and the stimulation of synovial cells to produce collagenase and prostaglandins.
  4. Spirogermanium can induce or enhance suppressor cell activity in vivo in both nonarthritic as well as arthritic rats. These induced suppressor cells are radiation resistant (4). Defective suppressor cell activity has been implicated in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

These studies suggest mechanisms to explain organic Germanium's antiarthritic activity. First of all,organic Germanium may work on arthritis through modulating macrophage functions, which are involved in inflammation and immunoregulation. The inhibition of macrophage functions could interfere with antigen presentation to helper T-cells which could lead to the induction of suppressor cells. Also, the inhibition of IL-1 production in the inflamed joint could result in the reduction of local inflammation and tissue destruction.

Clinical Trials

Seventeen patients with rheumatoid arthritis were treated with either Ge-132 alone or with small doses (under 5 mg per day) of prednisone (1). Immune parameters were monitored, including circulating lymphocytes, T and B lymphocytes, natural killer (NK) cell activity, interferon and antibody dependent cell mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). The results of this study were as follows:

  1. Clinical improvement of joint pains and morning stiffness were observed in fourteen out of seventeen patients.
  2. Ge-132 treatment normalized reduced T lymphocytes, ADCC, NK cell activity as well as interferon activity.

The conclusions reached in this study were that "Ge-132 is useful in ...rheumatic disorders as an immunomodulator of immunosuppressive treatment".

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