A trace element that is necessary for good health, manganese is found in water and certain foods. In small doses, it provides excellent support for strong cartilage and bone formation, as well as healthy skin and improved glucose tolerance. As a vital nutrient, it is also useful in activating certain antioxidants, which help lower blood cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Taken in excess, however, this metal can actually become toxic. Therefore, it is important for people to clearly understand what it is, how to use it for natural cures and home remedies, and how to avoid harmful side effects sometimes associated with this element.
Manganese Nutritional Benefits
Foods high in this element help in the following ways:
- Regulating healthy blood sugar
- Synthesizing cholesterol
- Synthesizing fatty acids
- Assists in the utilization of nutrients (such as choline, biotin, ascorbic acid and thiamin)
- Supports healthy thyroid gland functioning
- Protects cells from damage caused by free-radicals
- Helps in maintaining healthy nerves
Manganese Health Benefits
This vital element is used in natural cures and home remedies for treating a variety of conditions, such as:
- Heart disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Myasthenia gravis
- Tissue healing
- Learning disabilities
Symptoms of Manganese Deficiency
In humans, a deficiency is rare. Usually, the only way that one is developed is when it is deliberately avoided. However, diabetics and people with goiter are sometimes found to also be deficient in this element. Deficiency symptoms include:
- Hearing loss
- Reproductive disorders
- Weak ligaments and tendons
- A loss of balance
- A loss of voluntary muscle movement (Also known as ataxia)
- Bone loss
- Poor glucose metabolism
- Poor insulin production
- Growth impairments
- Skin rashes
- Hair loss
In infants, symptoms of deficiency include:
Though this element can be supplemented with synthetic capsules, its best source is always naturally occurring, as is the case with the following foods:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Green beans
- Black beans
- Garbanzo beans
- Brown rice
- Ground cloves
- Maple syrup
- Beet tops
- Nuts and seeds
- Wheat bran
- Wheat germ
- Summer squash
Manganese supplements should never be given to children, or to pregnant or nursing women.
Certain antacids and birth control pills may also interfere with its absorption.
Taken in small quantities, typically more than 5 milligrams per day, but less than 20, this element is not toxic. However, exceeding these amounts can be dangerous. Typically, these dangers are present when a person either over supplements or is exposed to environments where there is excessive contact with manganese dust, as is the case with miners, certain agricultural workers or people who work in alloy plants.
People with cholestasis or liver cirrhosis are discouraged from taking supplements due to a risk of not being able to properly excrete this element. Also, although it is deemed to be helpful in the treatment of hypoglycemia and type 1 and 2 diabetes, people with these conditions should always consult a doctor before taking supplements.
Although toxicity is very rare, people who consume excessive amounts it can develop a very alarming syndrome commonly referred to as “manganese madness”. This is more likely to affect people with liver disease who are sometimes unable to excrete excesses of the element and harbor toxic levels of it instead. Symptoms of this syndrome include:
- Violent behavior
For others, toxicity symptoms may also include impotency.
Healthy individuals are advised to eat foods rich in manganese in order to avoid a deficiency. When targeting good health, it is important to consume a healthy diet, which naturally includes foods rich in this vital element.