Although not commonly mentioned when referring to nutrients in the body, Manganese is an important trace mineral. This mineral was first considered to be a micronutrient in 1931. Although manganese is naturally-occurring, it is present only in very small amounts.
Recommended Levels in the Body
On average, an adult body contains about 15 to 20 milligrams of manganese. Most of this amount is found in the skeletal system. The recommended daily amount required by the body differs in men and women. For adult males, the recommended amount of manganese in the body is 2.3 mg everyday. For adult females, the recommended amount of manganese is 1.8 mg everyday.
The Function of Manganese in the Body
Manganese is needed as part of an enzyme which acts as an antioxidant. This enzyme prevents the cells from being damaged by free radicals. Manganese is needed for the proper growth and development of bones by activating the enzymes xylosyltransferases and glycolsyltransferases. Manganese is said to have a role in maintaining good reproductive health and in producing sex hormones. It also helps in the metabolism of energy.
Manganese helps the body use up a number of important nutrients like biotin, ascorbic acid, thiamin and choline by activating the enzyme responsible for this function. Manganese acts as a catalyst in synthesizing cholesterol and fatty acids. This trace mineral helps the body maintain blood sugar levels. Manganese also helps keep the nerves healthy and helps the thyroid gland function optimally.
Food Sources of Manganese
Minute amounts of Manganese are found in vegetables, grains, nuts, fruits, bran and tea.
The following foods contain the most amount manganese: pineapple, boiled spinach, cooked tempeh, whole grain (oats, as well as rye), dried and ground cloves, cooked rice (brown), cooked spelt grains and cooked soybeans.
A Deficiency in Manganese
The most common symptoms which indicate that a body is deficient in manganese include nausea, a high level of blood sugar, hair color loss, low levels of cholesterol, loss of hearing, vomiting, skin rashes, severe bone loss, dizziness and problems in the reproductive system.
Since manganese is important for some enzymes to function properly, a deficiency in this mineral will most likely affect a number of physiological processes. In previous experiments that have been conducted, manganese deficiency has resulted in abnormalities in the skeleton, impaired growth and problems in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates. However, there have been very rare cases of manganese deficiency in humans. Unless manganese is deliberately removed in one’s diet, it is very unlikely that a person will be lacking in enough.