Manganese is a naturally occurring and abundant element. It is considered to be an essential nutrient. In food sources, it is found mainly in grains, rice and nuts. High levels have also been found in tea. No Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) has been established for Manganese, however, an acceptable dosage range appears to be 10 mg/day.
Manganese plays a role in blood sugar control, energy metabolism and thyroid function. It is also needed for healthy nerves, a healthy immune system and for the formation of cartilage and synovial fluid of the joints. It also acts as an antioxidant and as such has been shown to play a role in inflammatory conditions and in the health of the skin, specifically with respect to anti-ageing.
Deficiency has been associated with poor growth and skeletal abnormalities. It has also been associated with fertility problems and epilepsy. Changes to hair colour and dermatitis have also been reported in deficiency states.
Strains, sprains and inflammation-Manganese is often used as a supplement for strains, sprains and inflammation due to its ability to increase antioxidant enzymes which help to decrease inflammation (1). The role of manganese as an antioxidant has also been associated with improving inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (2). Furthermore, evidence suggests patients with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased need for manganese (3).
Diabetes– Manganese has been shown to play a role in blood sugar control. This is because it is an important cofactor in the key enzymes of glucose metabolism (4). A deficiency of manganese was found to result in diabetes in a study on guinea pigs. It has also been found that diabetics have only half the manganese of normal individuals (5). Manganese has been shown to produce positive effects in diabetic patients who are not responding well to insulin therapy (6).
Epilepsy– Research shows that low levels of manganese is associated with high rates of seizures in epileptics. (7).
Fatigue and tiredness– Manganese contributes to normal energy yielding metabolism, a deficiency may be a factor in cases of tiredness and fatigue, and so a supplement may help prevent this. This may also be of value to those participating in sport to ensure the correct functioning of their energy metabolism to maximise performance.
Osteoarthritis and Bone Health – Manganese contributes to the maintenance of normal bones This makes a supplement valuable in preventing bone conditions such as osteoporosis, and for ensuring the correct healing of bone following breaks or fractures
Prevention of diseases- Manganese contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress- due to the role of manganese as an antioxidant, including in your diet and as a supplement may help to ward off disease.
Manganese intakes via the diet and nutritional supplementation is not associated with high levels of toxicity however toxicity can occur as a result of environmental pollution for example as an occupational exposure such as in mining and can be very serious and can result in disorders similar to Parkinson’s disease. Toxicity has also been shown to occur as a result of exposure to contaminated drinking water. No Tolerable Upper Intake level has been established for Manganese.