(chemistry) A ductile, grayish-white metallic element found combined in certain minerals. It is a transition element with atomic number 23, and with both basic and acid properties.
Vanadium in minerals is used in producing strong varieties of steel (called vanadium steel) and in insecticides.
Vanadium occurs naturally, including in most living organisms. For example, it is found in blood cells of tunicates (Ascidians) where its concentration is very much higher than in sea water.
In humans, deficiency of vanadium is found to cause malfunctions in thyroid, glucose and lipid metabolism. It also has therapeutic effect in diabetes and is recently found to be a potent anti-carcinogenic agent.
Word origin: NL, fr. Icel. Vanadis, a surname of the Scandinavian goddess Freya.
See also: vanadic acid, vanadate, vanadinite.