Manganese is an essential trace mineral that works closely with other nutrients, performing key roles in the body. It aids with the synthesis of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol. The body requires it for normal brain and nervous system function, and it also aids with the production of digestive enzymes.
You can find manganese in supplement form, but it exists in many different foods. It occurs naturally in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and certain nuts and seeds, although whole grains tend to be the best natural sources. It’s a cofactor for many enzymes in the body, and it also plays a role in the blood clotting and hemostasis processes. The small intestine absorbs it through an active transport system. After absorption, manganese is typically taken up by the liver and other tissues.
The body can maintain 20 milligrams (mg) of manganese, which concentrates in the kidneys, liver, pancreas, and bones. It’s a necessary mineral that contributes to optimal, overall health and you can read about how it aids the body below.
One of manganese’s primary functions is regulating the body’s metabolism. The enzymes that manganese activates aid with the metabolism of amino acids, cholesterol, and carbohydrates. Additionally, manganese works to metabolize vitamins E and B1, and is an essential component to the metabolism of glutamine.
Aids Cognitive Function
Some of the body’s manganese supply exists in the synaptic vesicles that are in the brain. Because of this, manganese has a relationship with the electrophysiological activity of the brain’s neurons. What that means is that manganese plays a role in maintaining cognitive function. Manganese deficiency can often increase the risk of mental illness, learning disabilities, and mood changes. In fact, several studies found that people with seizure disorders had lower blood levels of manganese.
Powerful Antioxidant Properties
Medical experts argue that enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) is one of the most important antioxidants in the body. Manganese is actually a part of this antioxidant, which aims to protect against free radicals. SOD counteracts the negative effects of free radicals by converting superoxide into smaller molecules that don’t damage cells. One study found that SOD was less active in people with rheumatoid arthritis, compared to people without the condition. Another study concluded that low SOD levels may increase the risk of heart disease more than total triglyceride or cholesterol levels.
As previously mentioned, manganese works to increase the level of SOD, making it a widely known mineral for sprains and inflammation. After consuming manganese, experts note that SOD levels increase in the body. Because SOD has anti-inflammatory properties, it can help people who suffer from inflammatory conditions, including arthritis. Several studies confirmed that adding more manganese-rich foods to the diet increased both the synthesis and functioning of SOD.
Supports Bone Health
Manganese works with zinc, calcium, and copper to help support healthy bones. Since older women have a higher risk of osteoporosis, medical experts recommend that they maintain sufficient manganese intake. Manganese deficiency often increases the risk of bone-related disorders, as it aids the formation of bone regulatory hormones. Manganese also balances calcium and phosphorus, both of which work to enhance skeletal health. Taking manganese supplements, in addition to vitamin D, magnesium, copper, boron, and zinc, may improve bone mass in people with weak bones.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Several studies indicate that manganese plays a role in the regulation of blood sugar. In fact, people with diabetes tend to have lower levels of manganese. Researchers, however, continue to speculate if manganese levels drop because of diabetes, or if lower manganese levels contribute to the condition’s development. Manganese is heavily concentrated in the pancreas and is involved with insulin production. Because of this, manganese may contribute to the proper secretion of insulin to stabilize blood sugar levels.
May Reduce PMS Symptoms
According to researchers, consuming manganese in conjunction with calcium may improve PMS symptoms, including muscle pains, anxiety, mood swings, and abdominal tenderness. One study found that women with lower blood levels of manganese experienced more pain and mood-related symptoms during pre-menstruation. Other studies also concluded similar results. Despite the research, manganese’s impact on the body’s hormonal function may not be noticeable. Before supplementing with manganese to get rid of PMS symptoms, consult with a health care professional.