Manganese is a trace mineral that’s essential for the human body, but you only need it in smaller amounts. Manganese plays a major role in different body functions, including reducing inflammation, blood clotting, and bone formation. It also helps improve the metabolism of carbohydrates, glucose, cholesterol, and amino acids.
Although the human body doesn’t produce manganese, it can store it in the brain, kidneys, bones, pancreas, and liver. You can get sufficient manganese every day by eating the typical diet. Supplementation beyond the recommended daily allowance isn’t necessary, and too much manganese can result in toxicity.
Manganese is important for producing antioxidants and several enzymes, which aid in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism and fight off the damage caused by free radicals. Also, manganese is needed for improved brain function and a healthier nervous system.[i] Following are some of the health benefits provided by manganese:
Control Of Sugar Level
Manganese plays a major role in blood sugar regulation, which further prevents the progression of chronic diseases such as type II diabetes. Also, it normalizes insulin secretion and synthesis for the management of unpredictable blood sugar.[ii]
Manganese helps boost the metabolism and production of enzymes, which control cholesterol levels.[iii] Also, it helps with the proper functioning of the liver.
Strengthening Of The Bones
Manganese is essential for maintaining strong bones. It’s a highly effective mineral that boosts spinal bone density.[iv] It’s also helpful to post-menopausal women. Females with menopausal symptoms should ingest manganese to prevent bone damage later on in life.[v] This helps prevent osteoporosis.
Manganese is helpful for sprains and chronic inflammation. It boosts the levels of superoxide dismutase in arthritis patients. Superoxide dismutase contains anti-inflammatory properties, and manganese helps relieve inflammation pain.[vi]
Manganese helps relieve painful PMS symptoms. Studies have shown a link between low levels of trace minerals like manganese in women with severe PMS symptoms. It’s for this reason why such women are encouraged to take manganese supplements.[vii]
Many people aren’t aware of the epileptic seizures that are caused by low levels of manganese. Researchers find manganese to be useful since it functions as a vasodilator to prevent epileptic episodes.[viii]
Manganese supplements have been found effective in the treatment of manganese deficiency. Manganese deficiency is usually associated with seizures, lipid metabolism, altered carbohydrate, bone problems, and infertility. Nevertheless, deficiency seems to be very rare.
Manganese deficiency is common amongst children on total parenteral nutrition (like tube feeding) when such diets lacked enough manganese. You get most of the dietary manganese from both animal and plant sources to meet your daily needs. For that reason, you need to be more worried about getting overexposed to manganese instead of being deficient in manganese.
Symptoms Of Manganese Deficiency
Manganese deficiency isn’t easy to diagnose. Since manganese deficiency is rare, medical scientists have strongly established what manganese deficiency appears like in a human body. But some limited scientific evidence points to a few possible health problems of manganese deficiency, including:
- Hair loss, especially in males
- Skin rashes
- Fast mood changes and painful premenstrual cycle in females
Severe health problems of the long-term deficiency include:
- Impaired growth
- Decreased fertility & congenital disabilities
- Skeletal anomalies and bone formation problems
A 2020 review also showed that manganese is essential for the growth and function of your brain and nerves. Therefore, failure to get enough manganese could cause health problems in both, which can have significant effects on your body.
Taking lots of manganese might lead to toxicity. The allowable Upper Limit for manganese is 11 mg for adults and approximately 9 milligrams every day for adolescents.[ix]
Interfere With Iron Absorption
Consuming a lot of manganese could interfere with iron absorption from the diet. This is because iron and manganese share transport and absorption pathways. So, if you take too much manganese supplements, it means your body will only absorb less iron. The same applies if you take a meal with too much iron. Taking more than 11 mg of manganese every day might result in cognitive issues.
The greatest source of manganese poisonousness is from inhaled manganese powder from smelting or welding and manganese consumed from water polluted with dry cell batteries. Also, overexposure cases have been reported in parenteral nutrition, particularly in infants and newborns. Parkinson’s disease-like signs such as muscle rigidity, slow movements, or shaking and tremor might also develop in some cases of manganese overdose.[x]
To avoid any of these side effects, you should consult your doctor before ingesting manganese supplements. It’s important to enquire whether the supplements might interfere with your current medications.
Dosage And Preparation
Health supplements are promoted as being high in manganese (about 16 or 20 times the RDA), which raises toxicity issues. If you’re planning to start taking supplements, consult your doctor first. You should never take more than what has been outlined on the packaging label.
The recommended dietary allowances are based on a persons’ nutritional needs. The RDA for manganese is based on sex and age. Breastfeeding and pregnant women need a little more.
Ways To Get Your Manganese
Manganese is considered an important nutrient and is found in whole grains and seeds and small amounts in tea, leafy green vegetables, nuts, beans, and legumes. You can also get your recommended daily allowance for manganese from supplements. However, we recommend that you get your manganese from dietary sources because you also get to enjoy more benefits, which come with food.
Foods Rich In Manganese
Eating a meal that includes different plant-based foods will offer enough manganese. This mineral is vital for health, but you aren’t likely to develop manganese deficiency or see the benefit because of overconsumption, exceeding the RDA.[xi]
As mentioned earlier, dietary manganese can be found in seeds, nuts, legumes (dry beans and lentils), pineapples, and whole grains (like oats and wheat). You can also get manganese from different animal products. Manganese is steady in cooked foods.
- Chickpeas: 200 grams of peas contain 42 milligrams, which is 1826% of your RDA for manganese
- Butternuts: 120 grams of butternuts contain 7 mg, which is 304% of your RDA for manganese
- Pine nuts: 135 grams of pine nuts contain 11 mg, which is 478% of your RDA for manganese
- Spelt: 174 grams of spelt contain 5 mg, which is 21% of your RDA for manganese
- Macadamia nuts: 134 grams of macadamia nuts contain 6 mg, which is 217% of your RDA for manganese
- Almonds: 143 grams of almonds contain 3 mg, which is 130% of your RDA for manganese
- Quinoa: 170 grams of quinoa contain 3 mg, which is 130% of your RDA for manganese
- Pineapple juice: 216 grams of pineapple juice contain 7 mg, which is 304% of your RDA for manganese
- Yardlong beans: 167 grams of yardlong beans contain 2 mg, which is 87% of your RDA for manganese
Finally, if you ultimately choose to start taking manganese supplements, the National Institutes of Health recommends that people search for the supplement’s labels on the packaging.[xii] The label usually contains important information, such as the amounts of ingredients and data about added ingredients.
It’s recommended that you also look for the product, which has a seal of approval from the 3rd party body that offers quality tests. These agencies include NSF International, ConsumerLab, and U.S. Pharmacopeia. Although an approval seal doesn’t necessarily guarantee effectiveness or safety, it provides some guarantee that the supplement was manufactured properly, doesn’t contain any harmful contaminants, and has all the active ingredients outlined on the product labels.
You can buy manganese supplements online or from your local pharmacy. Typical forms of supplements available include manganese gluconate, manganese ascorbate, manganese sulfate, and manganese amino acid chelates.
What is the main health benefit of manganese?
What foods are rich in manganese?
What role does manganese play in the body?
Is manganese bad or good for you?
Can manganese make you crazy?
What are the symptoms of manganese deficiency?
• Low fertility
• Impaired or slow growth
• Skeletal defects and poor bone growth
How much manganese should you take every day?
- [i] Higdon J, Drake VJ. Manganese. Oregon State University. Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. Updated March 2010.
- [ii] Nath N, Chari SN, Rathi AB. Superoxide dismutase in diabetic polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Diabetes. 1984 Jun;33(6):586-9. doi: 10.2337/diab.33.6.586. PMID: 6327438.
- [iii] Li L, Yang X. The Essential Element Manganese, Oxidative Stress, and Metabolic Diseases: Links and Interactions. Oxid Med Cell Longev 2018: 7580707.
- [iv] Benevolenskaia LI, Toroptsova NV, Nikitinskaia OA, Sharapova EP, Korotkova TA, Rozhinskaia LIa, Marova EI, Dzeranova LK, Molitvoslovova NN, Men’shikova LV, Grudinina OV, Lesniak OM, Evstigneeva LP, Smetnik VP, Shestakova IG, Kuznetsov SIu. Vitrum osteomag v profilaktike osteoporoza u zhenshchin v postmenopauze: rezul’taty sravnitel’nogo otkrytogo mnogotsentrovogo issledovaniia [Vitrum osteomag in prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women: results of the comparative open multicenter trial]. Ter Arkh. 2004;76(11):88-93. Russian. PMID: 15658548
- [v] Kazi TG, Afridi HI, Kazi N, Jamali MK, Arain MB, Jalbani N, Kandhro GA. 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. doi: 10.1007/s12011-007-8062-y. Epub 2008 Jan 11. PMID: 18193174.
- [vi] Das A Jr, Hammad TA. Efficacy of a combination of FCHG49 glucosamine hydrochloride, TRH122 low molecular weight sodium chondroitin sulfate and manganese ascorbate in the management of knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2000 Sep;8(5):343-50. doi: 10.1053/joca.1999.0308. PMID: 10966840.
- [vii] Penland JG, Johnson PE. Dietary calcium and manganese effects on menstrual cycle symptoms. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1993 May;168(5):1417-23. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(11)90775-3. PMID: 8498421.
- [viii] Gonzalez-Reyes RE, Gutierrez-Alvarez AM, Moreno CB. Manganese and epilepsy: a systematic review of the literature. Brain Res Rev. 2007 Feb;53(2):332-6. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresrev.2006.10.002. Epub 2006 Dec 12. PMID: 17166592.
- [ix] Health and Medicine Division of National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In: Otten JJ, Hellwig JP, Meyers LD, editors. Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2006: 350-355.
- [x] Manganese. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals National Institutes of Health. Updated June 3, 2020
- [xi]MedlinePlus. Manganese. Updated March 16, 2020.
- [xii] National Institutes of Health. Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know. Updated April 7, 2020.