With so many essential minerals (20 to be exact), it can be difficult to keep track of what each one of them does to the body. One essential trace mineral you should know about is manganese. Manganese offers many health benefits. For example, it is involved in the scavenging of reactive oxygen species that produce antioxidant-like effects, and plays a role in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. We’ll talk more about the health benefits of manganese, how it works, and how it can protect you from age-related metabolic diseases.
Manganese is an essential trace element or mineral. It is involved in a variety of biological functions, including carbohydrate, lipid, amino acid, and glucose metabolism. Manganese helps maintain the normalization of insulin synthesis and secretion. Manganese is a cofactor for many enzymes, including manganese superoxide dismutase, arginase, and pyruvate carboxylase. Manganese also plays a role in blood clotting along with vitamin K (R).
Manganese is also involved in the process of eradicating reactive oxygen species (ROS), reducing oxidative stress and free radical damage, which are associated with age-related metabolic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.
Several forms of manganese are used in dietary supplements, including
- manganese gluconate
- Manganese sulfate
- manganese ascorbate
- amino acid chelate with manganese
Manganese is also available as a standalone supplement or in combination with other acids and minerals. Higher levels of manganese ascorbate may be found in bone/joint health supplements containing chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride.
Although low dietary manganese intake and manganese levels have been associated with various chronic diseases, manganese deficiency has not been implicated as the origin of any major disease state. Below is a list of the health benefits that manganese supplements may provide for chronic conditions.
Research has found an association between people with osteoporosis and low manganese levels. A study investigating manganese levels in postmenopausal women found that daily supplementation with 5 mg of manganese and other trace minerals, zinc, copper, and calcium was more effective in reducing bone loss than calcium alone over the two-year trial period (R).
Animal studies have shown that low manganese levels can impair insulin secretion and glucose intolerance, but results from human studies have been somewhat conflicting. The E3N-EPIC cohort study examined micronutrient dietary patterns in 71,720 French women and found an inverse association between diabetes and dietary manganese intake (R).
Two prospective Chinese cohort studies of more than 10,000 participants found an inverse association between manganese intake and type 2 diabetes, an inverse association with dietary total antioxidant capacity, and an association with higher dietary antioxidant intake stronger. (R).
Although these epidemiological studies showed an inverse association between diabetes and dietary manganese intake, most studies did not take into account potential confounding factors, such as current treatment for metabolic diseases or treatment with other therapeutic drugs. Although these studies suggest a direct association between diabetes and manganese intake, it is unclear whether it is a positive or negative effect.
Atherosclerosis is characterized by a buildup of cholesterol that affects the walls of the arteries, eventually leading to life-threatening conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and angina (R).
Recent evidence suggests that mitochondrial damage induced by free radicals and oxidative stress in vascular tissue may be an early stage in the development of atherosclerotic lesions (R). Several studies have shown that manganese supplements can actually lower blood cholesterol levels and may prevent or slow the progression of atherosclerosis (R).
NAFLD is the most common chronic liver disease characterized by excess triglycerides (TG) in the absence of excessive alcohol consumption. NAFLD is also associated with metabolic syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Animal studies suggest that manganese may help treat and prevent NAFLD (R).
Substantial evidence supports an inverse relationship between low dietary intake and manganese levels and metabolic and chronic disease states. More research is needed, but large cohort epidemiological studies have demonstrated a positive association between manganese and protection against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. One of the main health benefits of manganese is its antioxidant effects, which can help eliminate free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Getting more manganese in your diet through foods and dietary supplements like multivitamins can help support a healthy aging process.
Looking for a supplement to help you get more manganese in your diet?
Swolverine’s Multivitamin is a once-daily vegetarian capsule packed with vitamins and minerals to give your body the nutrients it needs for optimal health. Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are essential for our cells to perform various biological tasks. Multivitamins contain the best types of essential micronutrients to maximize absorption and replenish the key ingredients your body needs in an easy-to-take capsule.
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