Although it is considered a trace mineral, manganese definitely is one of the more essential minerals where the body is concerned. Manganese helps to carry out several important functions including the ability to help heal wounds and help bones form properly, plus it’s an integral part of the metabolism process. Manganese also acts as an antioxidant.

One of the most important roles manganese plays is that of an antioxidant. Antioxidants are necessary to combat the potentially damaging effects of free radicals. In particular, manganese helps mitochondria reduce levels of oxidative stress that is frequently associated with the mitochondria’s huge consumption of oxygen.

As for the skeletal system, manganese is needed by certain enzymes that are involved in the formation of cartilage and bones. Without an adequate supply of manganese, the overall health of these two crucial components of the skeletal system would be severely jeopardized.

Several enzymes are activated by manganese. These manganese-activated enzymes help in the process of metabolizing cholesterol, carbohydrates and amino acids.

The body has an amazing ability to heal wounds and this ability involves a number of different enzymes and amino acids. Specifically, manganese is involved in the production of collagen, a key healing agent. The body must produce an even greater supply of collagen than is normally needed when the skin is damaged, which is when manganese becomes more important than ever.

Manganese helps the body use several important vitamins, among them vitamin B1, Biotin and Vitamin C. The body also utilizes manganese in the production of breast milk, fat and several of the sex hormones.

Sources of Manganese

Adequate supplies of manganese are easily achieved by consuming a diet that is rich in leafy vegetables, whole grains and nuts. Pecans, almonds, peanuts, brown rice, whole wheat bread, pinto, lima and navy beans, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocados, eggs and pineapple are all excellent sources. Tea, both green and black, is also a good source, however the tannins present in tea can impair the body’s ability to fully absorb manganese.

There is no established recommended daily allowance for manganese however the general recommendation for this mineral is 1.0 mg/day. The body does not easily absorb manganese, but fortunately, only small amounts are needed to carry out the functions mentioned above. Again, a nutritionally-balanced diet normally will provide a person with an adequate supply. That’s why vegetarians rarely suffer from such a deficiency.

Symptoms of Manganese Deficiency

While it is true that to date there is no established recommended daily allowance for this mineral, a deficiency of manganese can result in several adverse health conditions. Among these are a disruption in normal growth patterns, reproductive problems, abnormal growth and development of the skeletal system, diminished ability to tolerate glucose and problems involving metabolism. A manganese deficiency can cause painful joints and memory loss. It can cause problems with the disks located in between the vertebrae. High blood sugar is another potentially dangerous situation. Over time, a manganese deficiency may lead to osteoporosis or diabetes.

The Author:

Dr. John Spencer Ellis

Each week, over one million people enjoy a fitness and wellness program created by John Spencer Ellis. His programs are implemented in the top resorts, spas and health clubs. John is the CEO of NESTA (National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association), the Spencer Institute for Life Coaching, and the Get America Fit Foundation.

He created Adventure Boot Camp, the largest fitness boot camp system in the world. His TriActive America signature series of outdoor exercise equipment is used worldwide. John has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX, FOX Sports, FOX Reality, SPIKE and ESPN. He is the fitness and lifestyle expert on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Orange County and Daybreak OC (KDOC news). John is the producer of the documentary The Compass (Jan. 2009).

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