Manganese

Nonessential Micronutrient

OVERVIEW

Summary

Manganese is a mineral essential for energy production and metabolism of foods. It’s also especially important for supporting immune-system functioning, as well as aiding the recovery of sprains and strains.

Where to find Manganese

Manganese can be found in nuts, whole grains, dried fruits, and green leafy vegetables.

Popup: Foods highest in Manganese

PERFORMANCE BENEFITS

Why athletes use Manganese

Most often used as part of a complete mineral formula, manganese, which can easily be depleted by a high-protein diet, is needed for optimal immune-system functioning as well as helping the body heal from sprains, strains, or any type of inflammatory condition — all of which are important for athletes.

Ways that Manganese can enhance Muscle Gain & Recovery:
  • Encourage healing of strains, sprains, and various inflammations
  • Enhance health of skin, bone, and cartilage by supporting mineral transport and absorption
Ways that Manganese can enhance Longevity:
  • Boost immune system by enhancing activity of SOD to fight free radicals

HEALTH BENEFITS

Signs of Manganese deficiency

Deficiency of Manganese has been linked to:

  • Dermatitis
  • Loss of hair color
  • Reduced growth of hair and nails
  • Herpes
  • Confusion
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Cognitive dysfunction
Potential uses for Manganese

Research indicates that Manganese may also be useful in the treatment of:

  • Sprains/strains
  • Fatigue/Weakness
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Irritability/nervousness
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis

DISCUSSION

More about Manganese

Manganese is a mineral most commonly used to aid the healing of sprains, strains, and other inflammations, but it’s also essential for the health and proper functioning of energy production, protein metabolism, blood sugar control, thyroid function, and bone formation.

How does it work?

Manganese supports the functions of a powerful antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase or SOD — this one is “huge” in the world of antioxidants. SOD’s job is to prevent free-radical damage and inflammation. Without the help of manganese, though, SOD can’t function properly. But when manganese is supplemented, research has shown that SOD activity is increased, resulting in increased antioxidant activity. Simply put, supplementing with manganese may give this key immune-system component the boost it needs to perform optimally.

Lack of absorption may lead to deficiency

In all actually, we absorb only about 15% to 30% of the manganese we consume. Compound that with the fact that increased protein intake stimulates the need for greater manganese. And, of course, most athletes realize that to recover and build muscle more quickly, their protein requirements are greater than that of an average spud on the sofa. What this all adds up to are more common deficiencies for the people who may need this mineral most.

Folks who consume heavy amounts of dairy or soda beverages should also take note: excessive intake of these beverages are likely to lead to deficiencies.

Therapeutic uses

Researchers have found that those with chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, have decreased manganese levels, and with supplementation, symptoms may be greatly reduced.

In truth

Though manganese hasn’t received as much attention as many other minerals, it is essential to overall health and is now becoming popular for specific uses. Many of us are getting less than we think (if we even think about this little-recognized mineral at all), so it’s a good idea to make sure, at the very least, we’re getting enough during times of increased stress on the immune system, such as intense training phases, or when recovering from sprains, strains, and other inflammations.

NOTES ON USAGE

Amount

Between 2.5 and 5 mg daily.

Timing

Best absorption of manganese will occur when taken on an empty stomach.

Tips

It is best to take manganese without other minerals because manganese absorption is inhibited by iron, copper, and zinc. Manganese can also inhibit the absorption of these minerals as well as the absorption of calcium. Antacids may also inhibit the absorption of manganese.

Manganese is available as salts, such as manganese sulfate or chloride, though some believe these salts are not as well absorbed as chelates such as picolinate or gluconate.

Synergists of Manganese

Manganese is essential for the utilization of the B vitamins, Vitamins E and C, and boron.

Toxicity of Manganese

In very rare cases, manganese toxicity has been linked with psychiatric symptoms, including dementia.

Bans and restrictions

None reported.

RELATED RESEARCH

  • Davidsson, L., et al., “The Effect of Individual Dietary Components on Manganese Absorption in Humans,” Am J Clin Nutr 54.6 (1991) : 1065-1070.
  • Finley, J.W., and Davis, C.D., “Manganese Deficiency and Toxicity: Are High or Low Dietary Amounts of Manganese Cause for Concern?” Biofactors 10.1 (1999) : 15-24.
  • Freeland-Graves, J.H., “Manganese: an Essential Nutrient for Humans,” Nutr Today 23 (1989) : 13-9.