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Manganese Overview

Manganese is an essential trace mineral. In the form of manganese superoxide dismutase (Mn SOD), it is an antioxidant enzyme, which is concentrated mostly in the pituitary gland, liver, pancreas, kidney, and bone. The adult human body contains about 10 to 20 milligrams of manganese. Manganese acts as a catalyst and cofactor in many enzymatic processes involved in the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol, mucopolysaccharide synthesis (in bones, collagen, and connective tissue), and in the synthesis of glycoproteins, which coat body cells and protect against invading viruses. Many of the metabolic functions in which manganese is an important cofactor can use magnesium and manganese interchangeably.

Manganese is an integral part of the enzyme superoxide dismutase which is a powerful antioxidant designed to eliminate environmental toxins and free radicals. Ongoing research shows that manganese may be important in he development and maintenance of healthy bones; the synthesis of mucopolysaccharides that surround and protect cells and lubricate joints; sex hormones synthesis; nerve development and function; stimulation of glycogen formation in the liver; activation of natural killer cells.

Manganese, due to its role in connective tissue formation may help prevent and treat symptoms of arthritis. Manganese may also useful in controlling diabetes mellitus in some patients. Manganese supplementation can, in some cases, result in an overall decrease in blood sugar levels, and subsequent increase storage of glycogen in the liver. Manganese supplements are used in the treatment of various schizophrenic disorders. Manganese and zinc supplements have been used to induce copper excretion in patients with dangerously high copper accumulation in the body.

Deficiency of manganese causes impaired mucopolysaccharide synthesis resulting in the formation of otoliths responsible for maintaining coordinated reflexes and equilibrium; skeletal abnormalities; defective muscular coordination; impaired glucose tolerance and management of blood sugar levels; disturbed lipid metabolism; impaired production of glycoproteins, which are the coatings that protect every cell in the body; increased susceptibility to cancer; impaired production of connective tissue

Dietary Sources: Tea, whole grains, nuts, and avocados are rich sources, with other fruits and vegetables containing moderate amounts. The milling of grains removes 73% of manganese.

Dosage: RDA, 1.4 –5 mg. Amount for treating health conditions is on average 5-10 mg per day.

Side Effects: Manganese is one of the safest of all elements, because when excess is consumed, absorption is very low, and that which is absorbed is excreted efficiently via the bile and kidneys. Toxicity of manganese has only been noted in miners exposed to manganese ores and continually absorbing dust through the lungs.


Research Overview


Human and animal research were reviewed. Following are some important aspects of manganese:

 1. The presence of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) inhibits cancer cell growth in the pancreas
 2. It synthesizes cholesterol and fatty acids in the liver
 3. Prevents development of cancers in humans
 4. Protects against selenium toxicity
 5. With copper, used in the treatment of chronic tonsillitis
 6. Protects insulin secreting glands in the pancreas (islets)
 7. Manganese and lithium baths may be used in the treatment of psoriasis
 8. Manganese has been used to treat liver failure induced by acetaminophen poisoning
 9. Mn SOD has been used to protect against the harmful effects of pleurisy
10. Manganese is beneficial to sperm motility
11. Manganese, along with chromium, selenium, and copper are beneficial in the treatment of burn injury
12. Manganese, iron and copper levels tend to be low in accomplished athletes vs non-athletes
13. With chondroitin, manganese can hinder cartilage deterioration in osteoarthritis
14. As an antioxidant, manganese can reduce reperfusion injury in the heart
15. Manganese increased shell strength in chicken eggs
16. Manganese can protect against radiation treatments
17. Manganese can improve muscle relaxation in chronic spasmophilia
18. Manganese can increase the potency of anti-tumor vaccines

Manganese Citations (37)