15 Health Benefits of Manganese: A Comprehensive Guide

Benefits of Manganese in The Body

Manganese is a trace mineral that plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. While it is required by the body in small amounts, its benefits are numerous and evidence-based. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various health benefits of manganese and how it contributes to the proper functioning of the body.

Benefits of Manganese in The Body

  1. Improved Bone Health: Manganese is essential for the development and maintenance of healthy bones. It works in conjunction with other nutrients like calcium, zinc, and copper to support bone mineral density. Studies have shown that supplementing with manganese alongside these nutrients can help reduce spinal bone loss in older women. Furthermore, it may improve bone mass, particularly in individuals with weak bones.
  2. Powerful Antioxidant Properties: Manganese is a component of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which plays a vital role in protecting the body against free radicals. By converting harmful free radicals into harmless molecules, SOD helps prevent cell damage and reduce the risk of aging, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Adequate intake of manganese can contribute to better antioxidant status and overall health.
  3. Reduced Inflammation: Manganese, through its involvement in SOD, has anti-inflammatory properties. Studies suggest that manganese supplementation, particularly in combination with glucosamine and chondroitin, can help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms associated with inflammatory disorders like osteoarthritis. It may provide relief from joint pain and improve overall joint health.
  4. Regulation of Blood Sugar: Manganese plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels. Research has shown that individuals with diabetes have lower levels of manganese in their blood. Manganese is involved in insulin production and secretion, contributing to proper blood sugar control. Maintaining adequate levels of manganese may help stabilize blood sugar and reduce the risk of developing glucose intolerance.
  5. Prevention of Epileptic Seizures: Low levels of manganese in the body have been associated with an increased risk of epileptic seizures. Manganese acts as a vasodilator, promoting healthy blood flow to the brain. It is believed that adequate manganese levels may help decrease the risk of conditions like strokes, which can trigger seizures. Further research is needed to fully understand the relationship between manganese and seizures.
  6. Essential for Nutrient Metabolism: Manganese plays a crucial role in the metabolism of various nutrients. It activates enzymes involved in the digestion and utilization of proteins, amino acids, cholesterol, and carbohydrates. Moreover, manganese assists in the absorption of vitamins such as choline, thiamine, and vitamins C and E. It supports healthy liver function and is involved in energy production, reproduction, immune response, and brain activity regulation.
  7. Alleviation of PMS Symptoms: Combining manganese with calcium has shown potential in reducing premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. Early research suggests that low blood levels of manganese may contribute to increased pain and mood-related symptoms during the menstrual cycle. However, further studies are required to determine the exact mechanisms and effectiveness of manganese in alleviating PMS symptoms.
  8. Brain Health and Function: Manganese is essential for maintaining healthy brain function. It acts as an antioxidant, protecting brain cells from damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, manganese binds to neurotransmitters and facilitates efficient electrical impulse transmission throughout the body, potentially improving cognitive function. It is important to note that excessive manganese intake can have negative effects on the brain, so it is crucial to stay within the recommended limits.
  9. Support for Thyroid Health: Manganese serves as a cofactor for various enzymes involved in thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism. Adequate manganese levels are necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. It ensures optimal thyroid hormone production and helps maintain overall thyroid health.
  10. Immune System Support: Manganese plays a crucial role in supporting a healthy immune system. It helps in the production of immune cells and the synthesis of antibodies, which are essential for fighting off infections and diseases. Adequate manganese levels can enhance the body's immune response, enabling it to better defend against pathogens and maintain overall immune system function.
  11. Wound Healing: Manganese is involved in the process of wound healing. It promotes collagen synthesis, which is a crucial component of skin, tendons, and other connective tissues. Collagen is necessary for proper wound closure and tissue repair. By ensuring sufficient manganese intake, you can support the healing process and reduce the risk of complications associated with slow wound healing.
  12. Healthy Metabolism: Manganese is involved in the metabolism of macronutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It helps convert these nutrients into energy that the body can utilize efficiently. Manganese also plays a role in the regulation of metabolism-related hormones, such as insulin and thyroid hormones. By supporting a healthy metabolism, manganese contributes to overall energy levels and weight management.
  13. Protection against Oxidative Stress: Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body's ability to neutralize them. Manganese, as a component of SOD, helps neutralize free radicals and protects cells from oxidative damage. By reducing oxidative stress, manganese can potentially lower the risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and certain types of cancer.
  14. Improved Reproductive Health: Manganese plays a crucial role in reproductive health for both males and females. In males, it is involved in the production and maturation of sperm cells. In females, manganese supports the production of reproductive hormones and the development of healthy eggs. Maintaining adequate manganese levels is essential for optimal fertility and reproductive function.
  15. Maintenance of Healthy Skin: Manganese contributes to the maintenance of healthy skin. It supports the production of collagen, which provides structure and elasticity to the skin. Additionally, manganese is involved in the synthesis of certain enzymes and antioxidants that help protect the skin from damage caused by environmental factors, such as UV radiation and pollutants. By ensuring sufficient manganese intake, you can promote healthy skin and delay the signs of aging.

Manganese Deficiency Symptoms

Manganese deficiency is relatively rare, as the body requires only small amounts of this trace mineral. However, certain conditions or factors can lead to inadequate manganese levels. Here are some potential symptoms and signs of manganese deficiency:
  • Impaired Bone Health: Manganese plays a crucial role in bone development and maintenance. A deficiency of manganese may contribute to weakened bones, reduced bone density, and an increased risk of osteoporosis. Individuals with manganese deficiency may experience bone-related symptoms such as increased susceptibility to fractures and slower healing of bone injuries.
  • Impaired Growth and Development: Manganese is essential for normal growth and development, particularly during childhood. Inadequate manganese intake or absorption can lead to growth abnormalities and delayed development in children. This may manifest as stunted growth, delayed sexual maturation, and cognitive impairments.
  • Reduced Antioxidant Defense:Manganese is a component of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which protects cells from oxidative damage. Inadequate manganese levels can impair the body's antioxidant defense system, leading to increased oxidative stress. This can result in cellular damage and an increased risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and certain types of cancer.
  • Impaired Glucose Regulation: Manganese plays a role in glucose metabolism and insulin secretion. Inadequate manganese levels may disrupt blood sugar regulation and contribute to glucose intolerance. Symptoms of impaired glucose regulation may include frequent hunger, increased thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue.
  • Altered Lipid Metabolism: Manganese is involved in lipid metabolism, including the breakdown and utilization of fats. Deficiency of manganese can disrupt lipid metabolism and lead to abnormal lipid profiles, such as elevated triglyceride levels and decreased levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol.
  • Reproductive Issues: Manganese deficiency may affect reproductive health in both males and females. In males, it can lead to reduced sperm count and motility. In females, it may contribute to menstrual irregularities and difficulties with fertility.
  • Neurological Symptoms: Manganese is important for normal brain function and the production of neurotransmitters. Deficiency in manganese can result in neurological symptoms such as impaired memory, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances, and irritability.
It's important to note that these symptoms can be caused by other factors as well, and manganese deficiency is often accompanied by deficiencies in other essential nutrients. If you suspect a manganese deficiency or experience any of these symptoms, it's best to consult with a healthcare professional. They can evaluate your symptoms, conduct appropriate tests, and provide guidance on dietary changes or supplementation if necessary.

Manganese Dosage

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for manganese varies based on age, sex, and life stage. The following are the RDAs for manganese:
  • Infants (0-6 months): 0.003 mg/day
  • Infants (7-12 months): 0.6 mg/day
  • Children (1-3 years): 1.2 mg/day
  • Children (4-8 years): 1.5 mg/day
  • Children (9-13 years): 1.9 mg/day
  • Males (14 years and older): 2.3 mg/day
  • Females (14 years and older): 1.8 mg/day
  • Pregnant females: 2.0 mg/day
  • Lactating females: 2.6 mg/day
It's important to note that these values represent the recommended amounts to meet the needs of most individuals in each category. Some individuals with specific health conditions or dietary restrictions may have different requirements, and it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

It's generally recommended to obtain manganese from dietary sources rather than relying on supplements, as excessive manganese intake can lead to adverse effects. Good food sources of manganese include whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, leafy green vegetables, and certain fruits.

If supplementation is deemed necessary, it's important to follow the guidance of a healthcare professional or registered dietitian who can determine the appropriate dosage based on your specific needs and health status. They will consider factors such as your current manganese levels, dietary intake, and any underlying health conditions before recommending a supplement dosage, if necessary.

Manganese Side Effects

While manganese is an essential nutrient required by the body, consuming excessive amounts or prolonged exposure to high levels of manganese can lead to side effects. It's important to note that these side effects typically occur when manganese intake exceeds the recommended dietary allowances. Here are some potential side effects of excessive manganese intake:
  1. Neurological Effects: One of the most significant concerns associated with excessive manganese intake is its impact on the central nervous system. Prolonged exposure to high levels of manganese can lead to a condition called manganism, which exhibits symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease. These symptoms may include tremors, muscle stiffness, difficulty with movement and coordination, and changes in mood and behavior.
  2. Respiratory Issues: Inhaling manganese dust or fumes in occupational settings, such as mining or welding, can lead to respiratory issues. Prolonged exposure to high levels of airborne manganese can cause respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chronic bronchitis.
  3. Impaired Cognitive Function: Excessive manganese intake has been associated with cognitive impairments, particularly in individuals with pre-existing neurological conditions or compromised liver function. It may lead to difficulties with memory, concentration, and learning abilities.
  4. Gastrointestinal Disturbances: Consuming excessive amounts of manganese can cause gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. These symptoms are usually temporary and resolve once manganese intake is reduced.
  5. Effects on the Cardiovascular System: High levels of manganese have been linked to cardiovascular effects, including changes in blood pressure and heart rate. However, the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, and further research is needed to establish a clear relationship between manganese and cardiovascular health.
  6. Liver Toxicity: In rare cases, excessive manganese intake or exposure can result in liver toxicity. This is more likely to occur in individuals with compromised liver function or those who are exposed to high levels of manganese in occupational settings.
It's important to note that these side effects are primarily associated with excessive manganese intake, often through occupational exposure or overuse of supplements. The vast majority of people can maintain healthy manganese levels through a balanced diet without experiencing any adverse effects.
If you have concerns about your manganese intake or suspect manganese toxicity, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional. They can evaluate your specific situation and provide appropriate guidance regarding manganese consumption and potential side effects.

Manganese Benefits 

Manganese, though required in small amounts, offers significant health benefits. From improving bone health and reducing inflammation to regulating blood sugar and supporting brain function, manganese plays a vital role in various physiological processes. By incorporating manganese-rich foods into your diet or considering appropriate supplementation, you can harness the potential benefits of this essential trace mineral for optimal health and well-being.