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Editorial Issue 64

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 64 - May 2001

In Issues 62 and 63, I have discussed the considerable impact that individuals, clinicians and researchers can exert upon therapeutic healthcare progress and hence upon all our lives. I left off retelling my own story of attempting to raise funds to conduct research to confirm or refute the potentially therapeutic effects of organic germanium upon AIDS.

A blow-by-blow account of the sordid and disgraceful travesty which led to the ban of the sale of organic germanium supplements was published in the masterful Dirty Medicine by investigative writer Martin Walker in 1993 and reprinted in 1994 (available from Slingshot Publications, BM Box 8314 London WC1N 3XX; £15 + £1.5 post and packing; UK; £3 overseas).

To make a long and painful story very short (I have been reviewing a folder crammed with magazine and tabloid clippings and correspondence from 1989 and 1990), my research focus during the late 1980s was reviewing the literature, clinical and toxicological data regarding a variety of organic germanium compounds. This research, mainly from Japan, included highly competent biochemical, immunological and molecular studies demonstrating the ability of organic germanium compounds to modulate and enhance components of the immune system, including T suppressor cells, natural killer cell activity, macrophages and interferon. Such properties made it a prima facia candidate as an effective therapeutic agent for the treatment of AIDS.

In 1988 I published a peer-reviewed article (Goodman S. Therapeutic Effects of Organic Germanium. Medical Hypotheses 26: 207-15. 1988) with 72 references to the scientific literature. My book Germanium - The health and life enhancer (Thorsons, 1988), contained 119 scientific references. Both of these publications raised the hypothesis that organic germanium might be therapeutically effective in the treatment of AIDS. The text of my Germanium book is reproduced in full on (from the home page, select Germanium Germanium from the book menu).

Furiously attempting to raise research funding, and working as a freelance scientist, I wrote clinical trial proposals in the UK and assembled a clinical team to stage preliminary research. Having failed to raise the necessary funding, I went across to the US to conduct research at Bastyr College, and continued to try to set up research at the Linus Pauling Institute.

Having got nowhere in my attempts with organic germanium, upon my return to the UK in the summer of 1989, my focus had turned to writing my second book Vitamin C - The Master Nutrient, published in 1991 by Keats. In September 1989 the proverbial hit the fan, with exceedingly vicious attacks across the spectrum of complementary medicine aimed at many prominent figures, as well as health publications such as Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, which were deemed to be fronts for organizations selling vitamins! Following allegations that germanium caused kidney toxicity, organic germanium was banned from sale across the UK by October 1989, period.

And thus the clock on research for AIDS was stopped, and all for nothing. In November 1989, I received a reply to my enquiries to the Japanese scientists who had reported the germanium toxicity, stating that the renal toxicity was due to inorganic germanium, germanium dioxide (the material used in transistors), not organic germanium. In fact, these researchers had tested organic germanium samples and could not detect any toxicity. A paper (Sanai et al. Germanium Dioxide-Induced Nephropathy: A New Type of Renal Disease Nephron 54: 53-60. 1990) demonstrated that no toxicity was discovered in the organic germanium samples, and even recapitulated the anti-tumour properties of organic germanium in animals and humans.

Whether organic germanium has any therapeutic effects in the treatment of AIDS has never been tested. There has been during the past few years new activity with organic germanium in Korea, with research showing that germanium protects against the inhibition of gap junctional intercellular communication, which often occurs in cancer cells.

Martin Walker's thesis was that all research into alternative AIDS research (alternatives to drug therapy) was shut down by pharmaceutical companies (what else is new?), and that organic germanium posed a threat to this powerful establishment.

As for me, those traumatic events of 1989/90, followed by the attacks against the Bristol Cancer Help Centre a year later, led to the establishment of the Nutrition and Cancer database which I set up for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993 and Positive Health in 1994, which are attempts to communicate research-based information to health professionals and the global community over the internet.

As for research, I have learned that many professionals are highly selective about the research they choose to believe, are never satisfied with the quality of research which exists, and that when financial interests are involved, anomalous research findings are often the first casualty in the rush for the almighty buck.


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About Sandra Goodman PhD

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder and Editor of Positive Health, trained as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada and the US, focusing upon health issues since the 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman was the lead author of the Consensus Document Nutritional and LifeStyle Guidelines for People with Cancer and compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993. Dr Goodman is passionate about making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, clinical expertise in Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. Dr Goodman was recently featured as Doctor of the Fortnight in ThinkWellness360.

Dr Goodman and long-term partner Mike Howell seek individuals with vision, resources, and organization to continue and expand the Positive Health PH Online legacy beyond the first 30 years, with facilities for training, to fund alternative cancer research, and promote holistic organizations internationally. Read about Dr Goodman and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  She may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via:   and

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