Marvellous Manganese , Antioxidant, Epilepsy and Bone Health

Marvellous Manganese , Antioxidant, Epilepsy and Bone Health

Manganese is a trace mineral that is present in tiny amounts in human body. It is found mostly in bones, liver, kidneys and pancreas.It has many roles in the body; it helps in formation of connective tissue, bones, and sex hormones. It is necessary for normal brain and nerve function. Also, it plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood glucose regulation.Manganese is a chemical element with symbol (Mn) and atomic number 25. It was recognized as an element in 1774 by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele. It is not found as a free element in nature; it is often found in combination with iron.

History of its use 

Classification of adequate amounts of manganese in the diet was established in 1931 by Kemmerer et al in mice, but the first case reported of manganese deficiency in human project was in 1970 in Doisy’s study.

The first use of manganese supplementation was in treatment of hydralazine disease, syndrome simulating systemic lupus erythematosis, (Comens’s study, 1956).(1)

Dietary Sources of Manganese

The important sources of manganese are raspberries, pineapples, garlic, grapes, beetroot, green beans, blackberries, rice, peppermint, oats, nuts, watercress, mustard greens, strawberries, leeks, tropical fruits, lettuce, molasses, cloves, whole wheat, bananas, cucumbers, kiwis, figs and carrots.

The best sources of manganese are green vegetables, brown rice, coconuts, almonds, and hazelnuts, as they maximize the absorption of manganese.(2)

Daily requirements

  • Male: 1.9-2.3 mg/day
  • Female: 1.6-1.8 mg/day
  • Pregnant female: 2 mg/day
  • Lactating female: 2.6 mg/day
  • Infancy and childhood:
  • <6 months: 0.003-0.006 mg per day
  • 6-12 months: 0.6-1.0 mg per day
  • 1-3 years: 1.0-1.5 mg per day
  • 3-8 years: 1.5-2.0 mg per day
  • 8-13 years: 1.9 mg per day (males); 1.6 mg per day (females)
  • 13-18 years: 2.2 mg per day (males); 1.6 mg per day (females) (3,4)

Manganese Deficiency 

Manganese deficiency has rarely been reported in free-living populations because Mn is available in a wide variety of foods. However, some studies have reported symptoms from consuming experimental diets deficient in Mn. These symptoms include:

Several diseases in humans have been linked to abnormal manganese metabolism. These diseases include epilepsy, maple syrup urine disease, phenylketonuria, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and acromegaly.

Health benefits of Manganese 

Manganese plays an important role within the human body, it starts from being essential for healthy bone formation and having antioxidant benefits to its importance in metabolism of carbohydrate and other foodstuffs.(2,6)

It's an Antioxidant

Manganese is an actual component of manganese super oxide dismutase enzyme. It is a powerful antioxidant that searches the free radicals in the human body and neutralizes them, thereby preventing cancer and other devastating diseases, so adding manganese supplements or food rich in this mineral is a very good choice (7).

It Promotes Healthy Bones

Manganese is essential for proper and normal growth of human bone structure via increasing the mineral density of the bone. This is especially true and useful for post-menopausal women, as it can prevent PM osteoporosis. Although research has yet to consistently prove that, but it is believed that, it is one of the contributing factors that delay the progress of that debilitating disease (8,9).

It Benefits Connective tissue

The connective tissues of man are constantly subjected to mechanical stresses and strains that can result in afflictions, such as arthritis, joint inflammation and stiffness. Manganese is a widely known remedy for these sprains as well as inflammation as it helps in increasing the level of superoxide dismutase (SOD); this increased level is due to the antioxidant properties of the mineral. SOD has anti-inflammatory properties which arthritis sufferers desperately need, so adding manganese increase synthesis and function of SOD and decrease symptoms of this condition, according to various studies (10).

It can Regulate Blood Sugar

Manganese shows its efficiency in controlling the blood glucose levels. This may prevent the occurrence of certain diseases like diabetes. Manganese normalizes insulin synthesis and secretion, and prevents the unpredictable drops in blood sugar, providing a more normal and functional life for diabetic patients (11,12).

It can Supercharge your Metabolism

Regulation of the body’s metabolism is one of the vital functions of manganese, as manganese-activated enzymes help in the metabolism of various foodstuffs, cholesterol, amino acids, and carbohydrates. It is also important for the metabolism of many Vitamins like Vitamin E and Vitamin B-1. Furthermore, it helps the liver properly functioning, also it is an essential part of the metabolism of glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in the body, and a key part of DNA polymerase enzyme.

It has been known to Benefit Epilepsy

Low blood levels of manganese can act as a trigger for epileptic seizures. The exact mechanism is still unknown, but manganese has been shown to act as a vasodilator in various studies, and there are some researchers who believe that this is the key to the anti-epileptic quality. So manganese supplements can aid in controlling the possibility of any minor or major epileptic seizure (13).

So it is clear to everyone the great importance of manganese to maintain normal body functions, starting from being antioxidant and protecting from cancer, to its importance in metabolism of various food component and its need in bone formation process. Its deficiency, despite being rare but it may cause severe harm to human homeostasis.(2,5)


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  1. Biochemistry of the Essential Ultratrace Elements, Earl Frieden pages (112:115)
  5. B.J. Friedman, J.H. Freeland-Graves, C.W. Bales, R.F. Behmardi, R.L. Shorey-Kutschke, R.A. Willis, J.B. Crosby,P.C. Trickett and S.D. Houston, Manganese balance and clinical observations in young men fed a manganese-deficientdiet, J. Nutr. 117 (1987), 133–143.
  7. Paynter, D. J., 1980. Changes in activity of the manganese superoxide dismutase enzyme in tissues of the rat with changes in dietary manganese, J. Nutr. 110:437-447.
  8. Palacios C. The role of nutrients in bone health, from A to Z. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006;46(8):621-8.
  9. Morselli B, Neuenschwander B, Perrelet R, Lippunter K. Osteoporosis diet [in German]. Ther Umsch. 2000;57(3):152-160.
  10. Das A, Hammad TA. Combination of glucosamine and chondroitin in knee OA. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2000;8(5):343-350.
  11. Ekmekcioglu C, Prohaska C, Pomazal K, Steffan I, Schernthaner G, Marktl W. Concentrations of seven trace elements in different hematological matrices in patients with type 2 diabetes as compared to healthy controls. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2001;79(3):205-219.
  12. Baly, D. L., Currey, D. L., Keen, C. L. and Hurley, L. S., 1984a. Effect of manganese deficiency on insulin secretion and carbohydrate homeostasis, J. Nutr.: in press.
  13. Dendle P. Lupines, manganese, and devil-sickness: an Anglo-Saxon medical response to epilepsy. Bull Hist Med. 2001;75(1):91-101.
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