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Manganese - Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms And Food Sources

Manganese (Greek for 'magic') exists as a trace metal in the body. Its estimation in the body is difficult; a neutron activation technique may have to be used. Manganese is predominantly stored in the bones, liver, kidney, and pancreas. It aids in the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones and plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation.

Manganese is a component of the antioxidant enzyme manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD). Antioxidants scavenge damaging particles in the body known as free radicals. These particles occur naturally in the body but can damage cell membranes, interact with genetic material, and possibly contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health conditions.

Benefits and functions of Manganese

The role of manganese in the human body is little understood. It is a cofactor in several enzyme systems. Its concentration in the pancreas and pituitary points to some role in carbohydrate metabolism. In one unusual type of insulin-resistant diabetes, 10 mg manganese chloride taken orally was shown to have definite hypoglycemic action. After pancreatectomy the patient responded to insulin but not to manganese. Specifically, manganese may help to :-

Recommended dosage of Manganese

The Recommended Daily Allowance for Manganese are :-

  • Adults - 3 mg.
  • Children - 2 mg.

Deficiency symptoms of Manganese

A deficiency of manganese (which is extremely rare) may lead to atherosclerosis, confusion, tremors, impaired vision and hearing, skin rash, elevated cholesterol, increased blood pressure, irritability, pancreatic damage, mental impairment, grinding of teeth, fatigue and low endurance.

Food sources of Manganese

Cereal, bran, nuts, coffee, beets, blueberries, and particularly tea are good sources. Seafood, milk products, meat and vegetables are low in manganese.


Excessive inhalation may occur in miners and chemical workers exposed to manganese compounds. The lung probably acts as a depot, and the blood manganese level is raised.

Pathological studies are few, but changes occur in the basal ganglia, posterior part of the hypothalamus, and upper mid-brain.

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