Manganese, a trace mineral is found in small quantities in the bones, kidneys, liver and pancreas. As a component of superoxide dismutase – an antioxidant enzyme – manganese fights free radicals that attack body cells . As a coenzyme, manganese also helps in the body’s metabolism progression .
Health Benefits of Manganese
The health benefits of manganese are many and low levels of this trace mineral can result in bone malformation, seizures, infertility and weakness. The following are some medical conditions that can be helped by manganese.
Osteoporosis : Along with other trace elements such as vanadium and boron, manganese is essential for bone health. There is no specific proof to show that manganese intake prevents osteoporosis. However, the health benefits of manganese for prevention of spinal bone loss in women after menopause are significant. A combination of manganese, zinc, calcium and copper can reduce instances of fractures in older women and men . Normal bone growth and structure of bones require manganese since it helps to improve bone density .
Arthritis : The antioxidant SOD is low in people who suffer from arthritis. SOD prevents inflammation of joints a common problem for those who suffer from arthritis. Some clinical studies of those with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis suggest that a combination of glucosamine, chondroitin and manganese can alleviate pain.
PMS : Significant health benefits of manganese have been found for women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome. Women who consumed 5.6mg of manganese had fewer instances of cramps, mood swings and other symptoms of PMS, than those who took 1mg of manganese. A manganese rich diet can therefore ease PMS symptoms. A study of 46 women with PMS found that they had lesser quantities of manganese, calcium, copper and chromium in their blood.
Diabetes : Studies show that those with diabetes also have lower manganese levels. However scientists have not been able to establish if low manganese levels leads to diabetes or if contracting diabetes results in a drop in manganese levels. Apart from controlling blood sugar levels, diabetic patients with greater manganese levels were also protected from rise in bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.
Epilepsy : Lower manganese levels also cause epileptic seizures, although manganese supplements do not lessen the frequency or severity of these seizures.
Enzyme Activator : Key nutrients like thiamin, biotin, choline and ascorbic acid need enzymes to be utilized properly. Manganese plays a key role in activating the enzymes needed by these nutrients. It also acts as a catalyst for synthesizing cholesterol and fatty acids, helps in carbohydrate and protein metabolism and helps in maintaining good reproductive health by aiding in the manufacture of sex hormones. Another significant role that manganese has is in activating enzymes needed to form bones like glycolsyltranserferases and xylosyltransferases. Manganese may also play a role in maintaining good health of nerve tissues as it is involved in manufacture of thyroxine – the thyroid hormone.
Free Radicals : Having many antioxidant properties, manganese helps in controlling the movement of free radicals in the body. These radicals can cause cell damage. Therefore, manganese has an important role to play in protecting cells from damage.
Metabolism : One of the vital roles of manganese is to help with the metabolism of vitamin E and Vitamin B-1. Manganese-activated enzymes aid metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids and cholesterol.
Benefits in Sprains : As an antioxidant, manganese helps to increase superoxide dismutase levels and therefore plays an important role as a remedy for inflammations and sprains.
Miscellaneous Benefits of Manganese
- Manganese helps in absorption of minerals like magnesium
- Manganese is used to treat many nervous disorders and is needed for optimal functioning of the brain.
- Glucose metabolism is helped by the presence of manganese in the body. This is a vital health benefit as this process helps to distribute proper resources to various body parts.
- The digestive tract requires manganese for proper functioning. It also helps in absorption of fat that takes place during the digestive process.
Manganese provides further benefits since it is a component of metalloenzymes such as:
- Arginase – an enzyme needed by the liver to create a component of urine – urea
- Glutamine synthetase the enzyme that synthesizes glutamine also needs manganese
- The enzyme phosphoenolpyruvate decarboxylase that helps in blood sugar metabolism depends on manganese
- Superoxide dimutase found in the mitochondrial cells needs manganese for its anti-oxidant activities.
Foods rich in Manganese
The best health benefits of manganese can be got from brown rice, coconuts, green vegetables, almonds and hazelnuts etc., that are all outstanding absorption helpers . Nuts, wheat germ, seeds, whole grains, pineapples and legumes are other rich food sources of manganese . Other food sources of manganese include – peppermint, watercress, raspberries, garlic, grapes, green beans, green leafy vegetables, beetroot, tropical fruits, strawberries, blackberries, cloves, tofu, turmeric, banana, molasses, kiwifruit, carrots, cucumber and figs .
Precautions when taking Manganese
Up to 11mg of manganese is considered a safe daily dose for adults. More than this can lead to serious side effects like tremors similar to Parkinson’s disease. Pregnant and lactating women must also be careful and the daily manganese dosage depends on their age. Those with chronic liver disease will find it hard to rid their body of manganese and this can lead to psychosis and other dangerous side effects. Those with iron-deficient anemia must also be careful to limit their intake of manganese.
The health benefits of manganese as a trace mineral for promoting bone health, and to treat medical conditions like osteoporosis, arthritis, PMS, diabetes, epilepsy and other medical conditions are vital. The important role it has to play as an enzyme activator, and as a component of anti-oxidant enzymes means that everyone must ensure they consume foods rich in this trace mineral or take supplements.