As an essential trace mineral, there are so many ways manganese keeps you healthy. Manganese is needed for every body system to work properly, but it is mostly concentrated in the kidneys, pancreas, liver, and bones. Since it is such an important mineral, it is unfortunate that roughly 35 percent of the world’s population is thought to be deficient, especially since deficiency can cause a wide range of problems. Some symptoms of a manganese deficiency are increased blood pressure, heart problems, muscle spasms, bone malformation, increased cholesterol, poor eyesight, hearing problems, memory loss, and even tremors. Obviously, this is a mineral you want to be sure you getting in adequate amounts, as there are many ways manganese keeps you healthy. Since manganese is one of three trace minerals that are toxic, the best way to get your daily manganese is through eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. If you do this, you will be sure to get the recommended 1.8 to 2.3 milligrams of manganese needed to assist with such things as strong bones.
1. Bone Health
One of the many ways manganese keeps you healthy is by helping your bones stay strong. Although calcium is very important for bone health, there are many nutrients your bones need to stay strong, one of which is manganese. Manganese is required for healthy bone growth and structure. It is incredibly important for bone health, and has even been shown to increase the mineral density of spinal bones. This is important because spine fractures are common in people who have osteoporosis. So, for strong healthy bones for life, you want to make sure to get all the manganese you need.
2. Antioxidant Activity
Antioxidants decrease free radicals in the body which can lead to chronic diseases, heart attacks, and even cancer. Free radicals are so problematic because they damage cells and cause mutations that result in diseases. Since free radicals are damaging, you want to be sure to get plenty of antioxidants, including manganese. Manganese is a critical component of the superoxide dismutase enzyme, a very powerful antioxidant that neutralizes damaging particles. Without manganese, the superoxide dismutase enzyme would not be able to function properly, and you would be left with free radicals roaming your body. As bad as this sounds, it is easy to prevent by eating plenty of manganese rich foods.
3. Assists Vitamin Absorption
I generally think of vitamins and minerals as belonging in separate categories, which is why I was surprised to learn that manganese is needed to help your body absorb all of the B – vitamins and vitamin E. This is incredibly important because both vitamin E and the B – vitamins are critical vitamins that you want to be sure you are absorbing properly. Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin that has antioxidant activities and helps with immune function. The B – vitamins are all very important for energy since they help your body metabolize carbohydrates. Manganese helps your body absorb these essential vitamins by being a part of an enzymatic reaction that is required for absorption and utilization of these vitamins. Having a manganese deficiency can put you at risk for deficiencies in these vitamins, which is not something you want to have happen.
In addition to assisting with vitamin absorption, manganese also helps with the metabolism of glucose. Glucose is a sugar that provides energy to every cell. Proper glucose metabolism ensures that every organ system will get the glucose it needs, which means there is less of chance of having glucose buildup in the blood stream. Too much glucose in the blood stream is a large problem, especially for diabetics. Manganese is needed to make sure glucose is used by your cells and doesn’t stay in the blood stream. In addition to glucose metabolism, manganese also helps with the metabolism of cholesterol and amino acids. It is especially needed for the metabolism of glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in the body, and one of the building blocks for protein.
5. Brain Health
Manganese is so important for brain health that researchers have discovered low levels of manganese can trigger epileptic seizures, and, conversely, adequate levels of manganese can control epileptic seizures. Manganese is not just useful for controlling epilepsy, it also binds with neurotransmitters to stimulate faster and efficient electrical impulses in the body. One result of these faster impulses is an increase in cognitive function, which is always a good thing. Manganese further improves brain health by eliminating free radicals in the brain, which, as you know, are very detrimental to health.
6. Thyroid Health
Your thyroid is a very important gland that is located in your neck. It is shaped like a butterfly, and it is responsible for producing thyroid hormones, which are needed throughout your body. One of the hormones the thyroid gland produces is thyroxine, and manganese is an essential component of thyroxin. Thyroxine is also known as T4, and without enough of this hormone you will begin to experience hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is an unpleasant condition that causes extreme fatigue, weight gain, irregular periods, brittle hair, and even dry skin. To make sure your thyroid is healthy you need to get adequate amounts of manganese so the thyroxine can be manufactured.
Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is caused by hormonal fluctuations during a woman’s menstrual cycle. It can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms, including mood swings, bloating, fatigue, breast tenderness and swelling. Low levels of manganese have been found to increase the likeliness of these symptoms occurring. Manganese has been found to be useful in alleviating PMS. It is particularly helpful for the mood swings, headaches, depression, and irritability that occur with PMS. If you have PMS, you may want to consider increasing manganese rich foods like oatmeal, brown rice, spinach, and pineapple.
As you can see, manganese is a mineral that is very important for your health. It has so many different roles in the body, and without enough manganese your health can suffer. Thankfully, there are plenty of foods rich in manganese, and if you eat whole, healthy foods you should be getting all of the manganese you need. Did you know manganese was so important for health?