This element was named after a Norse goddess of beauty because it comes in many colors, which chemists enjoy playing with:
Hard to believe vanadium is also a critical mineral used in metal alloys, as well as a possible cancer drug!
This colorful element is found in multivitamin supplements, though there is no US recommended dietary amount. The quantities are very small–there is a very fine balance between too much and too little of this mineral!
Vanadium apparently isn’t mined out like gold, silver, or even phosphate. According to the USGS 2018 mineral commodity report, it is generally produced as a by-product of various industrial processes. That’s not a very auspicious origin for an element whose 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.” (Source)
Very little is known yet about vanadium’s effects on our bodies. It sounds promising, though–we can only wait for new discoveries to be made about this chameleon of the periodic table.
Featured image: Steffan Kristensen, public domain.