Manganese is an essential dietary nutrient, being required by the body only in minute amounts and thus classified as a trace mineral. Although it is needed in very less concentrations as part of the daily food regime, it plays an important role in many biochemical reactions taking place within the system and coupled with calcium, vitamin D, reinforces bone strength. Also Read: Tremendous Calcium Boosters: Refreshing Smoothie Recipes For Healthy Bones And Joints
It is a key component of several enzymes in the body, besides actively participating in the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids and fats, including cholesterol. Along with vitamin K, manganese regulates blood clotting mechanisms for efficient wound healing processes.
Manganese is mainly obtained from various foods, while only at times being procured from supplements and once ingested, is assimilated by the small intestine. While some mineral content flows freely as manganese ions, most of it gets bound to systemic transport proteins and distributed to other organs in the body.
Around 25 to 40 per cent of manganese is stored in the bones, while the remainder is concentrated in the kidneys, liver, pancreas and brain. After being utilised for bodily functions, manganese is primarily eliminated via bile into fecal matter, with a very small amount being passed from urine. Only a minor proportion of manganese is reabsorbed after being utilised by cells and tissues, for carrying out numerous vital functions.
Manganese performs several crucial functions in the human body. Being attached to proteins as manganese ions or in the free form, it is involved in the following chief operations:
Fortifying bones and contributing to bone mineral density, along with calcium, vitamin D
An element in the enzyme SOD – Superoxide Dismutase, thereby slowing down ageing and decline in body strength
Possesses antioxidant properties to avert heart disease
Balances levels of good HDL cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol in the body, aside from effectively processing triglycerides
Lowers the risk of acquiring chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes mellitus and some forms of cancer
Decreases inflammation in the system, combined with glucosamine and chondroitin, to alleviate joint pain in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
Holds vasodilator properties, to efficiently transport blood to the brain, enhance nervous system functioning and avoid epilepsy, seizures
Accelerates wound healing mechanisms, working in synergy with vitamin K, thereby assisting in blood clotting and arresting excessive blood loss
Preventing osteoporosis and decline in spine structure in older, post-menopausal women, in conjunction with zinc, copper Also Read: Zinc: Functions, Food Sources, Deficiency And Toxicity
There is currently no minimum value ascertained for daily requirement of manganese in the diet. For a normal, healthy individual, a food intake not exceeding 10 mg of manganese per day is considered to be ideal and safe, for at any given point, the body holds reserves of 10 – 20 mg of manganese.
A plethora of foods supply manganese in abundant amounts, to effectively meet the average needs of the body for this trace mineral. These include:
Fruits like pineapple, acai, avocado, coconut, blueberries
Green leafy cruciferous veggies of spinach, kale and starchy root vegetables like sweet potato
Whole grains and cereal such as wheat, barley, oats, quinoa, rice
Legumes including pinto beans, kidney beans, soybeans
Nuts like almonds, pecans, walnuts
In most healthy individuals, manganese deficiency is a very rare occurrence. Despite this, if an individual reports certain symptoms and upon assessing their mineral status, a lack of manganese is identified, then supplements are given. These can be in the form of oral medications or administered intravenously, in case bodily absorption is obstructed due to certain health anomalies.
In children, an insufficient amount of manganese in the system triggers bone malformation, weakness, inadequate growth and development
A less than normal level of manganese in men prompts situations of rashes, redness in skin, along with loss of pigments in hair and reduced serum cholesterol quantities.
In women, a manganese deficiency displays prominent mood swings like in the case of cyclothymia, besides complications of premenstrual syndrome.
Manganese toxicity, in most instances, does not occur owing to dietary intake from food sources or even ingesting supplements.
The reports of excessive manganese mostly arise due to environmental exposure to the mineral dust, like with people in mining, smelting, welding professions. A condition known as manganism, inhaling manganese fumes is very dangerous, for the body directly delivers the mineral to the brain without properly absorbing the vapor substances.
The indications of manganism are rather similar to that of Parkinson’s disease, negatively influencing the brain cells and nerve impulse transmissions within the body. This invariably leads to muscular spasms, breathing distress and lung damage, as well as delusions in the mind, sudden shivers in the spine. Although very rare, comparable symptoms develop in people who have consumed surplus amounts of manganese by means of diet, supplements too and it is thus advised to seek professional medical recommendations, prior to taking supplements.
Moreover, immediately consulting with a doctor as soon as any signs of excessive manganese in the body or manganism are noticed is crucial, to provide timely treatment of the affected person and assure their complete recovery.