Manganese is a naturally occurring element that is essential for the proper function of the body. The impact of manganese deficiency is far less than the high doses of manganese. It causes manganese toxicity. Manganese is an important cofactor of several enzymes present in our body. The most important enzyme associated with manganese is manganese superoxide dismutase. It is mostly present in bone, liver, pancreas, and kidney cells.
Functions of Manganese
Manganese is the essential trace mineral required for the proper functioning of the cells and tissues. In cells, it is stored in mitochondria and forms the mitochondrial and cell membrane. It regulates the digestion of carbohydrates, fats, and protein to release energy.
Manganese plays a very important role in bone growth & development, enhancing immunity and wound healing. It is also known to expel free radicals which are harmful to the body.
What is Manganese Deficiency?
Manganese deficiency is a very rare disorder which can be caused by long-term deprivation of manganese in daily intake however, it may be caused malabsorption of manganese due to presence of pre-existing health condition like GI disorders, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Manganese deficiency leads to impaired bone growth and bone mineral density.
Causes of Manganese Deficiency
The condition of manganese deficiency can be developed due to various factors. Some of the major cause has been illustrated below:
- Inadequate Diet: The long-term deprivation of a manganese-rich diet is the common cause of its deficiency. The major source of manganese are fruits, nuts, and vegetables which are unavailable to every group of people. This condition is very much common in South-Asian and African countries than in developed countries.
- Unavailability of Nutritious Food: Manganese deficient soil can be another cause of the availability of manganese deficient food items. It occurs in different geographies and can be resolved with manganese-rich fertilisers and fortified seeds.
- GI Disorders: Manganese is mostly stored in bone, liver, pancreas, and kidney cells. The gastrointestinal and small intestine disorders lead to malabsorption of manganese and results in its deficiency.
Symptoms of Manganese Deficiency
The common symptoms of Manganese deficiency include:
- Delayed and impaired growth
- Menstrual problems
- Poor bone growth
- Skeletal defects
- Abnormal metabolism
- Memory loss
Health Risks due to Low Manganese
- Bone Health: Manganese is a cofactor for the enzymes responsible for bone formation. Low concentration of manganese impacts the development and growth of bones and reduced bone mineral density. Increased bone remodeling is another health risk presented by manganese deficiency.
- Metabolism Disorders: Manganese acts as a cofactor to the enzymes responsible for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and protein and its deficiency may lead to abnormal metabolism and other GI tract disorders.
- Diabetes: Manganese is responsible for the metabolism of carbohydrates, glucose, and lipid. Manganese deficiency impairs the metabolism of carbohydrates and affects the glucose tolerance of the body, this increases the risk of diabetes.
- Impaired Immunity: Prolonged manganese deficiency is detrimental to the immunity of the body. It leads to impaired wound healing and invitations to several viral and bacterial infections.
Some other health risks associated with manganese deficiencies are osteoporosis, dermatitis, schizophrenia impaired production of collagen, skin rash, and elevated level of blood calcium, phosphorous and alkaline phosphates.
Tests for Manganese Deficiency
Manganese is the trace mineral present in very small quantities in blood and abundant in the bone, liver, pancreas, and kidney cells. A blood test is required to ascertain the amount of Manganese in our blood.
- Manganese Blood Test: A blood test is carried out to measure the concentration of manganese in the blood. Ideally, we don’t require any precautions before the test however, it’s advisable to stop the medications which might affect the concentration of manganese in the blood. The reference level of manganese in an adult is 4.7-18.3 nanograms per milliliter.
- X-Ray: Manganese deficiency syndromes cause impaired bone growth and development. Imaging techniques like x- like will help in impaired bone development at the extremes such as the knee. Bone densitometry can also be carried out to ascertain the bone mineral density which is severely affected by the deficiency of manganese.
Remedies of Manganese Deficiency
- Manganese Supplements: The clinical remedy of manganese deficiency are to take manganese supplements. If you are diagnosed with severe Manganese deficiency, you should consider medical supplements under the supervision of doctors. As higher Manganese may lead to manganese toxicity.
- Manganese Rich Diet: The easiest way to prevent manganese deficiency is to intake manganese-rich food items in a daily diet. Some of the manganese-rich food items are pineapple, peanuts, whole grains, clams, oysters, mussels, nuts, soybeans, legumes, rice, leafy vegetables, coffee, tea, black pepper.
- Fortified Food Items: Several agricultural lands across the globe are poor in micronutrients which produces nutrient deficient food items. It can be overcome by manganese-rich fertilisers and fortified seeds.
Prevention of Manganese Deficiency
It is often said that “Prevention is better than Cure” and indeed this is very much true about micronutrient deficiencies. Manganese deficiency can be prevented through the consumption of the Manganese-rich diet.
- Whole grains
- Leafy vegetables
- Black pepper
Adequate Intake (>19 yrs.):
A simple way to prevent Manganese deficiencies is to maintain recommended daily intakes. The intakes of manganese vary with the different age groups however, the recommended daily intake of manganese for an adult is 1.8-2.8 mg.
Manganese is an essential micronutrient require to performs several functions for the proper function of the body. Its major role is in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and protein maintains the proper growth and development of the bones. It is essential for the boosting of immunity and prevents impaired wound healing.
Although Manganese deficiency has several ill effects, it can be treated with the right consultation and medical supplements as prescribed by medical experts however, a high concentration of manganese may be deadly. The best possible way to avoid these complications by consuming an adequate amount of Manganese as per RDA through various Manganese-rich diets.