Manganese is a micronutrient that is nutritionally essential. The effects of manganese are not fully understood and it is perhaps appropriate that it derives its name from the Greek word – which means magic. People in UK are least likely to have Manganese deficiency because of their tea drinking habits.
Manganese has recently come under the scanner because excessive levels in the atmosphere is said to result in violent behavior in humans.
Sources of Manganese:
- Wheat germ
- Split peas
- Oat germ
- Green leafy vegetables.
Recommended daily allowance for Manganese:
US RDA: 2.5-7mg per day.
Why is Manganese so essential?
- It is essential for smooth functioning of the brain
- Manganese is an antioxidant nutrient that is important in the breakdown of amino acids and the production of energy.
- It is necessary for the metabolism of Vitamin B-1 and Vitamin E and it activates various enzymes, which are important for proper digestion & utilization of foods.
- Manganese is a catalyst in the breakdown of fats and cholesterol.
- It is necessary for normal skeletal development, and helps to maintain sex hormone production and to regulate blood sugar levels.
- Manganese super oxide dismutase (MnSOD) is the principal antioxidant enzyme, which helps the proper functioning of mitochondria, the powerhouse in our cells.
- Arginase, another manganese-containing enzyme, is required by the liver for the urea cycle, a process that detoxifies ammonia generated during amino acid metabolism.
- Manganese deficiency results in abnormal skeletal development.
- Manganese is required for wound healing.
- Excessive levels of manganese can cause violent behavior:
Every cell in the human body uses manganese, and a deficiency of it will lead to death. But too much of it, some experts say, can make a person prone to violence and certain mental disorders, particularly attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Excess of manganese has been long suspected of causing violent behavior in high doses. In California legislators have decided to monitor manganese levels in the air
It is believed that manganese and iron share a common absorption and transport pathways. Absorption of manganese from a meal is reduced as the meal’s iron content is increased.
In one study it was found that young men who were fed a low-manganese diet developed decreased serum cholesterol levels and a transient skin rash. Blood calcium, phosphorus, and alkaline phosphatase levels were also elevated, which may indicate increased bone remodeling as a consequence of insufficient dietary manganese.
Manganese deficiency symptoms include:
- Pain in the joints.
- High blood sugar and altered lipid metabolism.
- Bone/disc problems.
- Poor memory.
- Impaired growth,
- Impaired reproductive function,
Manganese supplementation, in combination with calcium, zinc and copper, showed efficacy in postmenopausal osteoporosis. Manganese in combination with glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate was helpful in treating knee osteoarthritis pain. Manganese is also said to be useful in alleviating some PMS symptoms, including anxiety, depression, irritability and mood swings.