What does Manganese do to your body?

INTRODUCTION:

Manganese is an essential metal that is critical for health. It is a trace mineral, which means that it is only needed in tiny amounts in the body. Although it is only required in small quantities, it brings various functions, especially in bone health, wound healing, blood sugar control, and as an antioxidant. Many foods, including dates, have high-to-moderate amounts of manganese, so very few people have a manganese deficiency. However, certain groups must be cautious of manganese toxicity, called manganism. Some professions can be exposed to high levels of manganese dust, which can cause manganism. This article will cover the benefits and risks of manganese and intake recommendations.

HEALTH FUNCTIONS:

Manganese is required for the body to make many enzymes. It plays a role in immune function, reproduction, digestion, bone production, and blood clotting.

  • Bone health: Manganese is required for an enzyme used in bone formation. One study showed that manganese might increase bone mineral density and bone formation. Bone mineral density is a measure of the amount of minerals in the bone. It shows how strong the bones are and predicts if they are likely to break. 

Wound healing: Along with vitamin K, manganese plays a role in blood clotting, the first step in wound healing. Blood clotting is a positive reaction that causes a wound, inside or outside of the body, to stop bleeding and start healing.

DISEASE RISK REDUCTION:

Manganese also plays a role in reducing disease risk through the regulation of blood sugar and as an antioxidant.

  • Blood sugar control: Manganese is required by the body to break down sugar and other carbohydrates. One study on animals showed that taking a manganese supplement improved glucose tolerance and reduced oxidative stress in people with diabetes. However, the cause of improved glucose tolerance is not clear.

  • Antioxidant: Manganese is part of an antioxidant called manganese superoxide dismutase. Antioxidants reduce inflammation and fight free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that attack and damage cells in the body, leading to inflammation. Antioxidants help prevent chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.

GROUPS AT RISK:

Most people can get enough manganese in their diet to maintain healthy levels of this mineral. The body can also store manganese in the bones and some organs, such as the liver, pancreas, kidneys, and brain. In fact, the human body contains about 10 to 20 mg of manganese, with 25-40% of that stored in the bones. Because of this, there are no known groups of people likely to have a manganese deficiency. A small amount of evidence shows that magnesium deficiency may cause bone weakening, skin rashes, mood changes, and increased premenstrual pain.


While manganese deficiency is rare, certain groups of people, such as welders, are at a higher risk of inhaling toxic amounts of manganese dust. The symptoms of manganese toxicity may appear slowly over months or years. Manganese toxicity can result in manganism, which is similar to Parkinson’s disease. Manganese toxicity can also lead to lung damage and decreased reproduction in men.

INTAKE RECOMMENDATIONS:

While the body cannot make manganese, most people get enough of this essential mineral from food. There is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for manganese, but the adequate intake (AI) is 2.3 mg per day for men and 1.8 mg per day for women.

Food sources of manganese include beans, nuts, tea, whole grains, shellfish, and some fruits and vegetables. Dates have a moderate amount of manganese. One hundred grams of dates provide over 7% of the daily AI. The table below shows the manganese content of some food sources:

Food SourceMilligrams (mg) Per Serving
Blue mussels, cooked, 3 oz.5.8
Hazelnuts, dry roasted, 1 oz.1.6
Pecans, dry roasted, 1 oz.1.1
Brown rice, cooked, ½ cup1.1
Pacific oysters, cooked, 3 oz.1.0
Clams, cooked, 3 oz.0.9
Chickpeas, cooked, ½ cup0.9
Spinach, boiled, ½ cup0.8
Pineapple, raw, ½ cup0.8
Soybeans, boiled, ½ cup0.7
Whole wheat bread, 1 slice0.7
Oatmeal, cooked, ½ cup0.7
Peanuts, oil roasted, 1 oz.0.5
Black tea, brewed, 1 cup0.5

CONCLUSION:

Manganese is necessary for many functions in the body. So, it is important to eat enough manganese every day. Because manganese is available in many foods, eating a well-balanced diet with variety will ensure an adequate intake. Dates are also a good source of manganese. 7D VARIETY recommends consuming dates as one way to help maintain adequate manganese levels.

Written by:
Lindsay Delk, RD
Registered Dietitian
Reviewed by:
Registered Dietitian, Diabetes Educator

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