As a nutrient, manganese helps to synthesize cholesterol, carbohydrates and proteins - as well as balance sex hormone levels. Manganese also aids in building bone mass and fighting calcium deficiency.
Manganese is a trace mineral, and the body requires very little of it to remain healthy.
Manganese provides a variety of health benefits and has several functions in the body:
Manganese, along with several other nutrients including calcium, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D, potassium, and fluoride, contribute to bone formation.
Manganese also aids in the bone metabolic processes or the constant replacement of old bone tissue with new bone tissue and is an essential mineral in the prevention of bone loss and osteoporosis.
Manganese can help older women who may be at risk for fragile bones and fractures. When combined with other nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, zinc, boron, magnesium and copper can help increase bone mass naturally.
Manganese also acts to help regulate the functioning of the thyroid gland and, in turn, helps produce the sex hormones. Low levels of manganese can lead to reduced sex drive and low libido. In women, low levels of manganese has also been linked to severe symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome).
Another function of manganese is to regulate the metabolism. The digestive enzymes it activates, help metabolise cholesterol, carbohydrates and amino acids, as well as vitamins E and B1.
Manganese is one component of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD helps fight and control free radicals in the body which damage cells and DNA. This damage can lead to a number of illnesses and diseases, including those related to aging.
In addition, manganese is used in several other enzymes to work as antioxidants. Working together with these, manganese can help reduce inflammation that leads to cancer or heart disease.
Manganese plays an important role in the body's healing process. In order to heal wounds, the body needs to increase its production of collagen. Manganese helps activate prolidase, an enzyme that provides proline, an amino acid, for the development of the needed collagen. In those with a manganese deficiency, wounds might heal abnormally or slowly.
The relationship between manganese and iron is complex and still being studied. At this point in time, the research completed shows that manganese may interfere with the body's ability to absorb iron.
One study suggested that slightly increasing the amount of the subjects' daily manganese intake by small amounts reduced the amount of iron absorbed by the body. Researchers concluded that manganese and iron may travel the same pathways in the body and compete for those pathways for absorption.
Manganese is a trace mineral and the body normally retains only a small amount at any one time. It is possible, but not common, to have either too little or too much manganese at one time. There are side effects of having either too much manganese (toxicity) or too little (deficiency) in the body at one time.
Too much manganese can be toxic. Cases of manganese toxicity have usually been occupational and caused by people breathing in manganese dust, which travels directly to the brain. Manganese toxicity can lead to lung and neurological problems, such as tremors.
Manganese deficiency is rare since the body requires very little to remain healthy. Even though it's rare, a manganese deficiency can cause serious health problems.
Symptoms of manganese deficiency include:
People can get enough manganese to maintain good health by consuming legumes, whole grains, lentils, pineapples and wheat germs. However, for those who may not eat enough of these and suffer from a manganese deficiency, manganese supplements and tablets are available.
Your daily intake of manganese should not exceed 10 mg a day through both a combination of both foods and supplements. When taking manganese supplements, the dosages should be fairly small. Dosages should be adjusted for women who are pregnant or nursing. Pregnant and nursing women may take 2 mg.
Manganese capsules and tablets are widely available to buy in different dosages. Vegetarian manganese capsules are also available, which are encapsulated in vegan capsule shells.
1. Crossgrove, J, et al. Manganese toxicity upon overexposure. NMR Biomed. 2004 Dec; 17(8): 544–553.doi: 10.1002/nbm.931. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3980863/
2. Rodríguez-Matas MC, et al. Iron-manganese interactions in the evolution of iron deficiency. Ann Nutr Metab. 1998;42(2):96-109. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9625280
3. Rossander-Hulten L, et al. Competitive inhibition of iron absorption by manganese and zinc in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Jul;54(1):152-6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2058577
4. Palacios C. The Role of nutrients in bone health, from A to Z. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006;46(8):621-8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17092827
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