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Manganese is an essential nutrient that is involved in a number of bodily reactions affecting the metabolism of amino acids, cholesterol, and carbohydrates. Manganese is also involved in bone and joint formation. It plays a role in collagen production, blood clotting, brain function, reproduction, and natural bodily defenses. In adults the body contains around 15 milligrams of manganese that is spread throughout the liver, kidneys, and bones.

Roles

What does manganese do? 

  • Promotes growth, bodily maintenance, and reproduction;
  • Through its antioxidant properties, protects the body’s cells from free radicals (molecules that damage our body).

Needs

Adequate Intake (AI) of Manganese
 
 
Amount (mg/day)
Age
Men
Women
Infants
0 to 6 months
0.003
0.003
7 to 12 months
0.6
0.6
Children
1 to 3 years
1.2
1.2
4 to 8 years
1.5
1.5
Preteens
9 to 13 years
1.9
1.6
Teens
14 to 18 years
2.2
1.6
Adults
19 years and up
2.3
1.8
Pregnant women
 
2.0
 
Nursing mother
 
2.6
 

Source: DRI, Dietary Reference Intakes, 2006, p. 350.

Sources

Cereal products provide 37% of food-derived manganese. Nuts, ground ginger, and mollusks are also good sources of manganese. 

Food Sources for Manganese: 

Food
Serving
Manganese (mg)
Nuts
 
8.8mg
Breakfast cereals, 100% bran
30g
4.91mg
Whole wheat
 
3.8mg
Pasta
 
1.37mg
Fresh pineapple
Two slices
1.12mg
Oysters
 
1.08mg
Blue mussels, steamed
100g
1.25mg
Spinach
125ml
0.9mg
Soy
125ml
0.8mg
Tea
175ml
0.4mg
Wine
150ml
0.7-0.9mg
Dark chocolate
28g
0.5mg

Source: La Nutrition, 3rd edition, 2006, p.294.

Deficiency

Manganese deficiency may contribute to the appearance of one or more clinical symptoms: 

  • Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin);
  • Hypocholesterolemia (lowering of blood cholesterol);
  • Elevated concentrations of calcium and phosphorus in the serum (part of the blood that contains no blood clotting agents).

Signs of manganese deficiency: 

  • Skeletal abnormalities;
  • Loss of muscle coordination, sprains, and ligament and joint weakness;
  • Insulin secretion abnormalities;
  • Allergic disorders;
  • Palpitations;
  • Agitation and irritability;
  • Sterility.

Indications

Because of its many properties, manganese may be used in various situations. Still, it is typically used for allergies, regardless of their form or location (skin, respiratory, etc.). 

Beneficial properties attributable to manganese: 

  • Promotes healing of various types of allergies;
  • Promotes healing of certain joint diseases (arthritis);
  • Promotes healing of certain nervous disorders (schizophrenia);
  • Improves memory;
  • Improves digestion;
  • Stimulates breast milk production;
  • Promotes bodily detoxification;
  • Increases male fertility.

Adverse effects

Most people tolerate large amounts of manganese well. 

Signs of excess manganese (due to industrial dust inhalation): 

  • Psychiatric disorders resembling schizophrenia;
  • Neurologic disorders resembling Parkinson’s disease.

Cons-indications

  • Those suffering from chronic liver disease;
  • Nursing infants with liver disease who receive manganese supplements in total parenteral nutrition solutions.

Interactions

Natural health products or vitamin supplements: 

  • Excess calcium, iron, and phosphorus decrease manganese absorption;
  • Magnesium, copper, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin E increase manganese absorption.

Medications: 

  • Manganese decreases the absorption of some antibiotics1;
  • Oral contraceptives decrease manganese absorption.

Additional information

1Take two hours before or four hours after taking antibiotics. 

Speak with your pharmacist if you plan to take manganese supplements. Your pharmacist can help you choose the solution that’s best for you based on your health and any drugs you take.

Other names

Manganese, Mn