Manganese Uses and Benefits

Manganese is a mineral found in large quantities in both plant and animal matter. Only trace amounts of this element can be found in human tissue. Manganese is predominantly stored in the bones, liver, kidney, and pancreas. It aids in the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones and plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Manganese is also necessary for normal brain and nerve function.

Manganese is a component of the antioxidant enzyme manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD). Antioxidants scavenge damaging particles in the body known as free radicals. These particles occur naturally in the body but can damage cell membranes, interact with genetic material, and possibly contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health conditions. Antioxidants such as MnSOD can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.

Low levels of manganese in the body can contribute to infertility, bone malformation, weakness, and seizures. Manganese deficiencies are considered rare, however, since it is relatively easy to obtain adequate amounts of manganese through the diet. Interestingly, though, some experts estimate that as many as 37 of Americans do not get the recommended daily amounts of manganese in their diet. This may be due to the fact that whole grains are a major source of dietary manganese, and many Americans consume refined grains more often than whole grains. Refined grains provide half the amount of manganese as whole grains.

Dosage and Administration

There are several forms of supplementary manganese including manganese gluconate, manganese sulfate, manganese ascorbate, and manganese amino acid chelates. Manganese is available as a stand-alone supplement and also in combination products. One combination product used for bone/joint health contains chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and manganese ascorbate.

Typical supplemental intake of manganese ranges from 2 to 5 milligrams daily.