T Nation

Vanadyl Sulfate

Has anyone recently been using vanadyl sulfate with any kind of success? I had used the product when it was first introduced on the market but soon stopped using it because it didnt produce the results it had claimed. Recently I was told that only large amounts would have any positive impact, so I’m checkin the board to see if anyone can confirm this.


I recently did quite a bit of research on vanadyl for an article. It’s not worth it; trust me.

There are two other vanadium salts that have consisten efficacy for acting “insulin-like” and aiding in blood sugar control, however…the data is only strong for Type II diabetics, not weight lifters or people without T2DM

Doug Kalman

I hate to be the guy to stand up for VS because I?m not really into supplements to begin with. The hill I?d rather die on is hard and heavy training, consistent lifting/eating, and a variety of methods. Here are my uncensored thoughts.

I found that VS is good for getting you into ketosis within 48 hours (or sooner). I have used it for the second and third days of a hardcore F+P only diet (fat fast, body opus). You have to use more than the recommended dose and I have had a problem with jaundice eyes after introducing VS; however, I don?t know if this is directly related to VS (Maybe 1. I can?t handle the ketones, 2. Not enough water, 3. Too much iron from red meat, too much mineral sups., 4. It was the EC stack, 5. High blood pH.)

Considering that in the past I?ve taken a grueling 4 days to reach ketosis and I like the Bodyopus split (5 days P+F, 2 days carbs), using VS for short periods in a ketogenic diet is worth while.

Final advice (from Dan D. (RIP) and personal hellish experience: Take VS before you go to sleep. Otherwise, the transition into ketosis during the day will be hell.

To Eric:

As I said I?m not wedded to VS. So, since you have done some research, I?d like to read your thoughts on VS and ketosis. Are there any studies out there? My VS knowledge is strictly from personal experience; just me, VS, and a glucometer. Am I off my rocker?


I can’t say that I have any personal experience myself in using VS to get into ketosis, although I have used it in the past in a hopeless attempt to make the most of carbups.

DK is right on the money; in NIDDM patients, you’ll see some benefits (improved insulin sensitivity and decreased plasma glucose) with the traditional VS, and even greater improvements with the new compounds. Incidentally, it also works great with rats, mice, and gerbils in the event that you have any pets with blood sugar issues:)

However, these same benefits DO NOT carry over to anyone who isn’t a rodent or a NIDDM patient. You won’t even see improvements in “normal” obese individuals or type 1 diabetics. If it doesn’t decrease plasma glucose, I can’t see it assisting in facilitating the transition to ketosis.

Here are two studies of interest. Note that they are not based on the newer compounds.

No improvements in insulin sensitivity:

Jentjens RL, Jeukendrup AE. Effect of acute and short-term administration of vanadyl sulphate on insulin sensitivity in healthy active humans. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2002 Dec;12(4):470-9

Vanadium compounds have been shown to have insulin-like properties in rats and non-insulin-dependent diabetic humans. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether the effects of acute and short-term administration of vanadyl sulfate (VA) on insulin sensitivity also exist in healthy active individuals. Five male and two female participants (age: 24.9 +/- 1.5 years; height: 176.1 +/- 2.9 cm; body mass: 70.1 +/- 2.9 kg) underwent 3 oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT). The first OGTT was performed to obtain a baseline index of insulin sensitivity (ISI). On the night preceding the second OGTT, participants ingested 100 mg of VS, and the acute effects of VS on ISI were examined. For the next 6 days, participants were instructed to ingest 50 mg of VS twice daily, and a final OGTT was performed on day 7 to determine the short-term effects of VS on ISI. No differences were found in fasting plasma glucose and insulin concentrations after VS administration. Furthermore, ISI after 1 day and 7 days of VS administration was not different compared with baseline ISI (4.8 +/- 0.1 vs. 4.7 +/- 0.1 vs. 4.7 +/- 0.1, respectively). These results demonstrate that there are no acute and short-term effects of VS administration on insulin sensitivity in healthy humans.

No change in plasma glucose in control group:

Halberstam M, Cohen N, Shlimovich P, Rossetti L, Shamoon H. Oral vanadyl sulfate improves insulin sensitivity in NIDDM but not in obese nondiabetic subjects. Diabetes 1996 May;45(5):659-66

We compared the effects of oral vanadyl sulfate (100 mg/day) in moderately obese NIDDM and nondiabetic subjects. Three-hour euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic (insulin infusion 30 mU / m / min) clamps were performed after 2 weeks of placebo and 3 weeks of vanadyl sulfate treatment in six nondiabetic control subjects (age 37 +/- 3 years; BMI 29.5 +/- 2.4 kg/m2 ) and seven NIDDM subjects (age 53 +/- 2 years; BMI 28.7 +/-1.8 kg/m2). Glucose turnover ([3-3 H]glucose), glycolysis from plasma glucose, glycogen synthesis, and whole-body carbohydrate and lipid oxidation were evaluated. Decreases in fasting plasma glucose (by approximately 1.7 mmol/l) and HbAlc (both P < 0.05) were observed in NIDDM subjects during treatment; plasma glucose was unchanged in control subjects. In the latter, the glucose infusion rate (GIR) required to maintain euglycemia (40.1 +/- 5.7 and 38.1 +/- 4.8 micromol / kg fat-free mass FFM / min) and glucose disposal (Rd) (41.7 +/- 5.7 and 38.9 +/-4.7 micromol / kg FFM / min were similar during placebo and vanadyl sulfate administration, respectively. Hepatic glucose output (HGO) was completely suppressed in both studies. In contrast, in NIDDM subjects, vanadyl sulfate increased GIR approximately 82% (17.3 +/- 4.7 to 30.9 +/- 2.7 micromol / kg FFM / min, P < 0.05); this improvement in insulin sensitivity was due to both augmented stimulation of Rd (26.0 +/-4.0 vs. 33.6 +/- 2.22 micromol / kg FFM / min, P < 0.05) and enhanced suppression of HGO (7.7 +/- 3.1 vs. 1.3 +/- 0.9 micromol / kg FFM / min, P < 0.05). Increased insulin-stimulated glycogen synthesis accounted for >80% of the increased Rd with vanadyl sulfate (P < 0.005), but plasma glucose flux via glycolysis was unchanged. In NIDDM subjects, vanadyl sulfate was also associated with greater suppression of plasma free fatty acids (FFAs) (P < 0.01) and lipid oxidation (P < 0.05) during clamps. The reduction in HGO and increase in Rd were both highly correlated with the decline in plasma FFA concentrations during the clamp period (P < 0.001). In conclusion, small oral doses of vanadyl sulfate do not alter insulin sensitivity in nondiabetic subjects, but it does improve both hepatic and skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity in NIDDM subjects in part by enhancing insulin’s inhibitory effect on lipolysis. These data suggest that vanadyl sulfate may improve a defect in insulin signaling specific to NIDDM.

Thanks to all those who replied.