Some of the health benefits of manganese include a benefit to healthy bone structure, bone metabolism, and helping to create essential enzymes for building bones. It also acts as a co-enzyme to assist metabolic activity in the human body. Apart from these, there are other health benefits of manganese including the formation of connective tissues, absorption of calcium, proper functioning of the thyroid gland and sex hormones, regulation of blood sugar level, and metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
Manganese is a mineral naturally occurring in our bodies in very small amounts. Manganese is an actual component of manganese super oxide dismutase enzyme. It is a powerful antioxidant that seeks out the free radicals in the human body and neutralizes these damaging particles, thereby preventing many of the potential dangers they cause.
The body may contain, at most, 20 mg of manganese, which is concentrated in our kidneys, pancreas, liver and bones. Manganese is very important for the normal functioning of the brain and proper activity of our nervous system throughout the body. As far as research can tell, it is an essential trace mineral for every form of life.
Deficiency Symptoms of Manganese
The symptoms of manganese deficiency include high blood pressure, heart ailments, muscular contraction, bone malformation, high cholesterol, poor eyesight, hearing trouble, severe memory loss, shivers and tremors. Even though some medical experts argue that manganese deficiency is quite rare, more than 35 % of the world population is thought to be deficient. Poor dietary habits are the leading cause of such deficiencies.
In some cases, calcium and iron are believed to interfere with the appropriate use of manganese in the human body. Eye problems, sweating, fast heartbeats, weakness, and severe cramps may be some of the deficiency symptoms. Severe deficiency may cause infertility in women, pancreatic damage, heart ailments and osteoporosis.
Important Sources of Manganese
The most important sources of manganese are raspberries, pineapples, garlic, grapes, beetroot, green beans, rice, peppermint, oats, nuts, watercress, mustard greens, strawberries, blackberries, tropical fruits, lettuce, spinach, molasses, cloves, turmeric, leeks, tofu, whole wheat, bananas, cucumbers, kiwis, figs and carrots. The best sources of naturally abundant manganese are green vegetables, brown rice, coconuts, almonds, and hazelnuts, since they maximize the absorption of this important mineral.
Health Benefits of Manganese
The health benefits of manganese lead to overall wellness in a variety of ways. Here is a list of the most significant benefits that have been researched:
Healthy Bones: Manganese is essential for proper and normal growth of human bone structure. It is a very effective mineral in aiding in the increase of the mineral density of spinal bone. This is especially true and useful for post-menopausal women. Many women suffer from manganese deficiency after they go through menopause, so increasing the amount of trace minerals that women consume is an important factor in preventing fractures. Although research has yet to consistently prove that manganese can prevent osteoporosis, it is believed to be one of the contributing factors that slow down the progress of that debilitating disease.
Free Radicals: Due to the antioxidant properties of manganese, the health benefits of manganese include a special function of monitoring the activity of free radicals in human body. These free radicals are capable of damaging human cells and causing cancer and other devastating diseases, so adding manganese supplements or food rich in this mineral is a very good choice, particularly if you have other risk factors for various diseases.
Sugar level: Manganese has also exhibited efficiency in controlling the level of sugar in human blood. This may further prevent the occurrence of certain diseases like diabetes. To control the level of sugar in the blood, manganese normalizes insulin synthesis and secretion, and the unpredictable drops in blood sugar can be better regulated, providing a more normal and functional life for diabetics.
Epilepsy: Low levels of manganese can act as a trigger for epileptic seizures. Manganese supplements can aid in controlling the possibility of any minor or major epileptic seizure. The exact mechanism for this is not fully understood, 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.
Metabolism: Regulation of the body’s metabolism is one of the vital functions of manganese. Manganese-activated enzymes help in the metabolism of cholesterol, amino acids, and carbohydrates. It is also important for the metabolism of Vitamins like Vitamin E and Vitamin B-1. Furthermore, it helps the liver properly function and run smoothly, as well as being an essential part of the metabolism of glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in the body, and a key part of DNA polymerase.
Inflammation and Sprains: Manganese is a widely known remedy for sprains as well as inflammation as it helps in increasing the level of superoxide dismutase. This increased level is due to the antioxidant properties of the mineral. Superoxide dismutase, also known as SOD, is normally found in very low levels in patients with arthritis. SOD has anti-inflammatory qualities which arthritis sufferers desperately need, so adding manganese back into the body to increase synthesis and function of SOD has been connected with a decrease in symptoms of this condition, according to various studies.
Preventing Osteoporosis: Manganese supplements are connected to the relief of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis syndrome because it is an essential mineral that has been proven to add to bone density and overall mineral density. However, as an individual element in the creation and repair of bones, studies are still somewhat lacking. In human testing, at least, most bone health research is done with a complete panel of trace minerals, not just manganese. Further studies have to be done on the specific roles and mechanisms of manganese on the body.
Alleviating PMS syndrome: It is an unfortunate but unavoidable fact that many women suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In these monthly situations, manganese helps to alleviate the mood swings, headaches, depression and irritability to a considerable extent. Studies have shown a connection between low levels of various trace minerals, including manganese, in women who suffered from particularly severe PMS symptoms, so supplementation is recommended. That being said, the impact of manganese on the hormonal function of the body can be quite noticeable, so speak with a doctor before using manganese supplementation to help with PMS, since that is also heavily connected to hormones.
Thyroid Health: Manganese is an important co-factor for many different enzymes, and it is an essential component of thyroxine, arguably the most important hormone in the thyroid gland. Proper functioning of the thyroid gland and its hormonal synthesis benefits a wide variety of health issues in the body, including weight loss, appetite, metabolism, and organ system efficiency.
Aids in vitamin absorption: Manganese helps absorb vital vitamins like vitamin B and E and minerals like magnesium. This is due to the role of manganese in the enzymatic reactions that are required to absorb and utilize vitamins taken in from food. Manganese is one of the most versatile co-factors for enzymatic reactions, and if there is a risk of having a deficiency in certain vitamins, then be sure to increase levels of manganese, as long as they are still within safe and non-toxic levels.
Brain and nervous system: Manganese is essential for the healthy functioning of the brain and it is also used to treat specific nervous disorders. This is most likely due to the superoxide dismutase, which scavenges free radicals throughout the body, including the neural pathways. Oxidation byproducts like free radicals are everywhere in the body, and the brain can be negatively affected just as easily as other parts of the body, therefore powerful antioxidants like SOD are required. Aside from its antioxidant role, manganese can also bind with neurotransmitters and stimulate faster or more efficient transmission of electrical impulses throughout the body, in effect, speeding up cognitive function!
Glucose Metabolism: Manganese aids in regulating glucose metabolism in the human body. This is one of the most important health benefits of manganese to provide proper resources to different body parts, which increases energy and functional efficiency. Also, when glucose is properly absorbed and utilized by organ systems and muscles, there is less of a chance of excess buildup, which is dangerous for patients with diabetics. Proper management of diabetes is definitely aided by proper manganese levels in the body.
Digestive tract: Manganese is a mineral, which is helpful in maintaining the functioning of the digestive track. This further improves the absorption of fat in the process of digestion, and also reduces issues like constipation and bowel discomfort. Manganese is also important in terms of efficient food utilization and the transformation into usable energy.
A Few Words of Warning: Manganese is one of only three toxic trace minerals in the human body, meaning that we cannot have too little or too much. Be sure to never overdo on manganese supplementation, because it can lead to a wide array of very dangerous conditions and diseases, some of which are fatal. Manganese overdose can lead to similar symptoms to Parkinson’s disease, or to the disease itself. Also, for those with liver conditions, be careful not to take in too much manganese, since the liver will have trouble getting rid of it, which can lead to psychosis, mental disorders, and tremors/spasms. Finally, if you have anemia, your body tries to absorb as much manganese as possible, which can be dangerous, so monitor your intake closely!