Manganese is a trace mineral that is present in tiny amounts in the body. It is found mostly in bones, the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Manganese helps the body form connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Manganese is also necessary for normal brain and nerve function.

Manganese is a component of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which helps fight free radicals. Free radicals occur naturally in the body but can damage cell membranes and DNA. They may play a role in aging as well as the development of a number of health conditions including heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants, such as SOD, can help neutralize free radicals and reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.

Low levels of manganese in the body can contribute to infertility, bone malformation, weakness, and seizures. It is fairly easy to get enough manganese in your diet -- this nutrient is found in whole grains, nuts, and seeds -- but some experts estimate that as many as 37% of Americans do not get the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of manganese in their diet. The American diet tends to contain more refined grains than whole grains, and refined grains only provide half the amount of manganese as whole grains

What is Manganese ?
Manganese is a trace mineral that is vital to life. The human body contains about 15 to 20 milligrams of it. Most of it is found in the bones, with the rest distributed throughout the body in tissues like the pancreas, kidneys, liver, adrenal glands and pituitary glands.

Though manganese is needed in only trace amounts, it is estimated that as much as 1/3 of the North American population do not get enough of it. This is mainly due to the highly processed modern diet that we eat.

A large proportion of the manganese in food is lost in processing. Whole grains, for instance, are foods high in manganese, but refined grains or flour which are much more widely consumed, provide only half the amount.

Deficiency Symptoms
A deficiency of manganese has not clearly been linked in humans to a specific set of symptoms. However low levels may be associated with the following disorders:
arw Skeletal abnormalities

arw Defective muscular co-ordination

arw Reproductive dysfunction

arw Impaired glucose tolerance

arw Problems in lipid metabolism

Where it is found
The most important sources of manganese, rich in this mineral, include names like raspberries, pineapple, garlic, grapes, beetroot, green beans, rice, peppermint, oats, nuts, watercress, mustard greens, strawberries, blackberries, tropical fruits, lettuce, spinach, molasses, cloves, turmeric, leeks, tofu, whole wheat, banana, cucumber, kiwifruit, figs and carrots. The best sources of naturally abundant manganese trace mineral like green veggies, brown rice, coconuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc are excellent absorption helpers.

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Benefits / uses
Healthy bones: Manganese is very essential for proper and normal growth of human bone structure. It is a very effective mineral, which aids in increasing the mineral density of spinal bone, especially so in case of post menopausal women. Most women after post menopause suffer from manganese deficiency.
Free radicals: Due to antioxidant properties of manganese, the health benefits of manganese include a special function of controlling the flow of free radicals in human body. These radicals are capable of damaging human cells and thus, manganese control these radicals to prevent any type of damage.
Sugar level: Manganese has also exhibited its efficiency in controlling the level of sugar in human blood. This may further prevent the occurrence of certain diseases like diabetes.

Epilepsy: Low level of manganese can act as a trigger for epileptic seizures. Manganese supplements can aid in controlling the possibility of any minor or major epilepsy seizure.

Metabolism: Metabolism happens to be one of the vital functions of manganese. Manganese activated enzymes help in metabolism of cholesterol, amino acids as well as carbohydrates. It is also important for the metabolism of Vitamins such as Vitamin E and Vitamin B-1.
Inflammation and sprains: Manganese is a widely known remedy for sprains as well as inflammation as it helps in increasing the level of superoxide dismutase resulting in the activity as an antioxidant.

Preventing osteoporosis: Manganese supplements are known to relive osteoporosis and osteoarthritis syndrome.
Alleviating PMS syndrome: Women are found to suffer from premenstrual syndrome. In such situations, manganese helps to alleviate the mood swings, headaches, depression and irritability to a considerable extent.

Aids in vitamin absorption: Manganese helps absorb vital vitamins like vitamin B and E and minerals like magnesium.
Brain and nervous system: Manganese is essential for healthy functioning of the brain and it is also used to treat specific nervous disorders.
Glucose Metabolism: Manganese also aids in glucose metabolism in human body. This is one of the most important health benefits of manganese to provide proper resources to different body parts.

Digestive track: Manganese is a mineral, which is helpful in maintaining the functioning of digestive track. This further improves the absorption of fat in the process of digestion.

Best Form For Human Consumption
Manganese is available in a wide variety of forms, including manganese salts (sulfate and gluconate) and manganese chelates (aspartate, picolinate, fumarate, malate, succinate, citrate, and amino acid chelate). Manganese supplements can be taken as tablets or capsules, usually along with other vitamins and minerals in the form of a multivitamin.

The daily Adequate Intake (AI) for manganese is listed below.Supplements and dietary intake of manganese together should not exceed 10 milligrams per day because of the risk of nervous system side effects. You should only take manganese supplements under the supervision of your doctor; that is especially true for children:

Children and Infants
Infants 0 - 6 months: 0.003 mg
Infants 7 months - 1 year: 0.6 mg
Children 1 - 3 years: 1.2 mg
Children 4 - 8 years: 1.5 mg
Males 9 - 13 years: 1.9 mg
Males 14 - 18 years: 2.2 mg
Females 9 - 18 years: 1.6 mg
Males 19 years and older: 2.3 mg
Females 19 years and older: 1.8 mg
Pregnant women: 2 mg
Breastfeeding women: 2.6 mg

Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid intakes of manganese above the upper limit of the AI, unless under a doctor's supervision."

Possible Side effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions:
Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider. The amount of manganese ingested in one day (from foods or supplements) should not exceed 10 milligrams due to the potential for nervous system damage.

Calcium, phosphorous, and manganese work closely together in the body. For this reason, you may need more manganese if you are getting more calcium and phosphorus.

Manganese rarely causes side effects when taken orally. It can be toxic to people who regularly inhale manganese vapors, such as industrial workers in steel mills and mines, or people with liver damage, including alcoholic cirrhosis. Symptoms include loss of appetite, headaches, leg cramps, muscle rigidity, tremors, convulsions, extreme irritability, acts of violence, and hallucinations. Manganese toxicity has also been seen in people who received very high amounts of intravenous nutrition (containing manganese) over long periods of time.

Possible Interactions:
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use manganese supplements without first talking to your health care provider.

Haloperidol and other antipsychotics -- There has been at least one clinical report of an interaction between haloperidol and manganese that resulted in hallucinations and behavioral changes in a person with liver disease. In addition, some experts believe that medications for schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis may worsen side effects from manganese supplements. If you take antipsychotic medications, do not take manganese without first talking to your doctor.

Reserpine -- Reserpine, a medication used to treat high blood pressure, may lower manganese levels in the body.

Antacids -- Magnesium-containing antacids may decrease the absorption of manganese if taken together. Take supplements containing manganese at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after taking antacids.

Laxatives -- Magnesium-containing laxatives may decrease the absorption of manganese if taken together. Take supplements containing manganese at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after taking laxatives.

Tetracycline antibiotics -- These drugs may reduce the absorption of manganese if taken together. Take supplements containing manganese at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after taking these antibiotics. They include tetracycline, minocycline (Minocin), and demeclocycline (Declomycin).

When To Take/Types To Take
Manganese supplements are best to take with meals. It is available in several forms including as gluconate, sulfate, ascorbate and amino acid chelates. It is often combined with glucosamnine and chondroitin for joint health.

Research studies / References

arw Dendle P. Lupines, manganese, and devil-sickness: an Anglo-Saxon medical response to epilepsy. Bull Hist Med. 2001;75(1):91-101.

arw Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. Rockville, MD: US Dept of Health and Human Services and US Dept of Agriculture; 2005.

arw Ekmekcioglu C, Prohaska C, Pomazal K, Steffan I, Schernthaner G, Marktl W. Concentrations of seven trace elements in different hematological matrices in patients with type 2 diabetes as compared to healthy controls. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2001;79(3):205-219.

arw Hori H, Ohmari O, Shinkai T, Kojima H, Okano C, Suzuki T, Nakamur J. Manganese superoxide dismutase gene polymorphism and schizophrenia: relation to tardive dyskinesia. Neuropsychopharm. 2000;23(2):170-177.

arw Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2001.

arw Kazi TG, Afridi HI, Kazi N, Jamali MK, et al. Copper, chromium, manganese, iron, nickel, and zinc levels in biological samples of diabetes mellitus patients. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2008 Apr;122(1):1-18.

arw Morselli B, Neuenschwander B, Perrelet R, Lippunter K. Osteoporosis diet [in German]. Ther Umsch. 2000;57(3):152-160.

arw Das A, Hammad TA. Combination of glucosamine and chondroitin in knee OA. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2000;8(5):343-350.

Palacios C. The role of nutrients in bone health, from A to Z. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006;46(8):621-8.

arw Sarban S, Isikan UE, Kocabey Y, Kocyigit A. Relationship between synovial fluid and plasma manganese, arginase, and nitric oxide in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2007 Feb;115(2):97-106. Erratum in: Biol Trace Elem Res. 2007 Summer;117(1-3):155.

arw Shamberger RJ. Calcium, magnesium, and other elements in the red blood cells and hair of normals and patients with premenstrual syndrome. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2003;94(2):123-9.

arw Odabasi E, Turan M, Aydin A, Akay C, Kutlu M. Magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium levels in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Can magnesium play a key role in osteoporosis? Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2008 Jul;37(7):564-7.