Manganese is naturally occurring element which is essential for the proper function of the body. The impact of magnesium deficiency is far less than the high dosages of manganese. It causes manganese toxicity. Manganese in and important cofactor of several enzymes present in our body. The most important enzymes 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 very important role in bone growth & development, enhancing immunity and would healing. It also known to expel free radical which are harmful to the body.

What is Manganese Deficiency?

Manganese deficiency is 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 have been illustrated below:

  • Inadequate Diet: The long-term deprivation of 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 developed countries.
  • Unavailability of Nutritious Food: Manganese deficient soil can be another cause of availability of manganese deficient food item. 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:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • 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 remodelling is another health risk presented by manganese deficiency.  
  • Metabolism Disorders: Manganese acts as 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 carbohydrate, 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 immunity of the body. It leads to impaired wound healing and invitations to several viral and bacterial infections. 

Some other health risk 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 quantity in blood and abundant in bone, liver, pancreas and kidney cells. Blood test is required to ascertain the amount of Manganese in in our blood.

  • Manganese Blood Test: Blood test is carried out to measure the concentration of manganese in blood. Ideally, we don’t require any precautions before the test however, it’s advisable to stop the medications which might affects the concentration of manganese in blood.  The reference level of manganese in an adult is 4.7-18.3 nano-grams per millilitre.
  • X-Ray: Manganese deficiency syndromes causes impaired bone growth and development. Imaging techniques like x- like will help in impaired bone development at the extremes such as knee.  Bone densitometry can also be carried out in order to ascertain the bone mineral density which is severely affected by the deficiency of manganese.

Remedies of Manganese Deficiency 

  • Manganese Supplements: The clinical remedies of manganese deficiency are to take manganese supplements. If you are diagnosed with severe Manganese deficiency, you should consider medical supplements under supervision of doctors. As higher Manganese may lead to manganese toxicity.
  • Manganese Rich Diet: The easiest way to prevent manganese deficiency is intake manganese rich food items in 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 with reference to micronutrient deficiencies. Manganese deficiency can be prevented through consumption of Manganese rich diet.

Food items rich in manganese:

  • Pineapple
  • Peanuts
  • Whole grains
  • Clams
  • Oysters
  • Mussels
  • Nuts
  • Soybeans
  • Legumes
  • Rice
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Black pepper

 Adequate Intake (>19 yrs.):

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 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 from 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, high concentration of manganese may be deadly. The best possible way to avoid these complications by consuming adequate amount of Manganese as per RDA through various Manganese rich diet.