What is manganese?

Manganese is a trace mineral that involved in no fewer than 20 enzyme systems in the body. Found in large quantities in tropical fruit, nuts, seeds and whole grains, but very little of this element is found in human body. In fact, the importance of manganese to health wasn’t discovered until 1930s.

Manganese-activated enzymes play many important roles in our body which including metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and cholesterol, normal brain and nerve function, formation of healthy cartilage and bone, and would healing. However, one of the most vital function of manganese is antioxidant ability. It is required for enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which helps to disarm free radicals.

A deficiency in manganese is quite rare in developed countries, but It can be caused by lack of manganese-rich diets or digestive disorders that make it hard to absorb manganese. Also, our body regulates the levels of manganese through absorption and excretion. The symptoms of manganese deficiency include skeletal and postural abnormalities, abnormal glucose tolerance, and hormonal imbalances.

Manganese health benefits, manganese rich foods list

Manganese health benefits:

1. Antioxidant ability

Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is one of the body’s most powerful natural antioxidant enzymes present in the mitochondria. SOD requires the presence of manganese, it plays a critical role in fight superoxide radicals and reduce the oxidative stress implicated in many chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, or Alzheimer’s disease. Some research has shown that SOD can reduce internal inflammation and lessen pain associated with conditions such as arthritis. SODs are valuable for slowing the aging process and promoting long term health.

2. Supports bone health

Manganese deficiency is related to abnormal skeletal development, it is an essential mineral that has been proven to add to overall bone mineral density. A study in postmenopausal women found that calcium supplementation with trace minerals including manganese, copper and zinc was more effective than the calcium supplement alone in preventing spinal bone loss.

3. Improves cognitive function

Manganese affects synaptic neurotransmission in the brain which closely tied to electrophysiological activity of the brain’s neurons that control cognitive function. Also, SOD scavenges free radicals throughout the body including the neural pathways. It’s possible that a manganese deficiency can increase the chance of mental illness in a long term.

4. Diabetes prevention

Manganese deficiency results in glucose intolerance similar to diabetes mellitus, as manganese is needed for the production of digestive enzymes responsible for a process called gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis involves the conversion of amino acids into sugar and the balance of sugar within the bloodstream. A study showed a group of mice with manganese supplementation improved glucose tolerance compared to those did not.

Intake recommendation

Both nutritionally essential and potentially toxic, excessive or insufficient intake may result in multiple health conditions. Because there was insufficient data on manganese requirements to set a Recommended Dietary Allowance, NutriSearch Corporation set an optimum intake at 5mg to 7mg daily for average adults. People eating vegetarian diets can easily achieve this amount. The tolerable upper intake level for manganese is 11mg/day, supplementation beyond 2mg/day is not recommended.

Manganese rich foods list: Pecans, almonds, peanuts, oats, brown rice, whole grain, navy beans, adzuki beans, black beans, amaranth, spinach, kale, pineapple

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