When you think of minerals that you might need to ‘up the ante’ on – It’s probably along the lines of Magnesium, Zinc, Iron…. Or maybe Selenium, yes?
But have you ever considered that you might be low in Manganese too?
Even though research indicates that a third of the North American population isn’t getting adequate amounts – There’s a pretty good chance that you’ve never considered it, because it’s not talked about anywhere near as much magnesium, selenium or zinc! But – just like the latter – Manganese is also an essential mineral that you don’t want to be without.
Funnily enough – If you’re supplementing with high levels of Zinc – this can actually lead to low Manganese levels… but we’ll get to that in a minute.
For now – let’s take a look at what Manganese actually does, what can happen if you have low levels of Manganese + the awesome health benefits that this little mineral is responsible for.
What is Manganese?
Manganese is an essential trace mineral that’s mainly located in the bones, liver, kidney, pancreas & mitochondria (the powerhouses of your cells).
It’s important for several antioxidant & enzymatic functions & plays a major role in many processes in the body including reproduction, energy production, immune function, carbohydrate metabolism & bone development.
Manganese is also important for healthy brain function, nervous system function & calcium absorption.
The main health benefits of manganese:
– Keeps your hair strong, your skin healthy & speeds up wound healing
Manganese plays a crucial role in the production of collagen in your body. Collagen is a hugely important protein that improves elasticity of your skin (very important for keeping those wrinkles away!) & strengthens your hair & nails. It becomes even more important with age, as once you hit 25, you start to produce less & less collagen.
– Produces & maintains muscle mass, joint health & bone strength
Manganese helps your body to produce & maintain lean muscle mass, which is important for functional health especially as we age. Through collagen production, it also keeps your joints from becoming stiff & your bones, ligaments & connective tissue strong. Very helpful if you enjoy a morning run!
– Helps digestion & energy production
When you eat & digest your food, manganese helps your body to properly absorb the nutrients from your food & convert it into usable energy. This is so important for getting the most out of your food & for having the energy to get through the day without getting wiped out.
– Helps with reproduction & hormone regulation
Manganese can help increase fertility, maintain a healthy reproductive system & is important for healthy growth in children. Manganese also promotes healthy thyroid function.
– Helps with the production & function of Antioxidants & Enzymes
Your body needs manganese to be able to produce manganese superoxide dismutase – a very important antioxidant that helps to protect your mitochondria from damage. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of your cells & they are so incredibly important, because they make it possible for your body to produce energy – which you cannot survive without! Manganese also helps the body to produce digestive enzymes, & promotes healthy immune system function.
The Symptoms of low manganese levels:
– Loss of hair colour
– Weak hair & nails
– Chronic fatigue syndrome
– Loss of hearing
– Poor digestion
– Weak bones or osteoporosis
– Getting sick a lot (due to poor immune function)
– Hormonal imbalances
Are you at risk?
So now that you know what a powerhouse mineral Manganese actually is – The question is – What can cause you to have low levels?
Most commonly, it’s either because of poor gut health (when you suffer from dysbiosis – meaning that you have more ‘bad bugs’ than you do ‘good bugs’ – your unable to absorb minerals properly!) – OR – because you’re consuming foods grown in poor quality soils (If the minerals aren’t in the soil to begin with – like much of the soil that conventional food is grown in – then the plants can’t absorb that nutrition).
It could also be a result of the contraceptive Pill (which can interfere with manganese absorption) or high zinc supplementation (especially significant for those with Pyroluria who are generally required to take high doses) as high amounts of zinc in the body can drive down your manganese levels. Excess sweating or a low-calorie diet can also put you at risk of a manganese deficiency.
How to get back on the Manganese train?
Luckily, there are many beautiful foods you can consume to get your Manganese levels back up again – as long as they’re grown organically in quality soil of course.
Dietary Sources of Manganese
– Mustard Greens
– Collard Greens
– Turnip greens
– Dandelion Greens
– Activated Pumpkin Seeds
– Activated Macadamia nuts
– Activated Hazelnuts
– Activated Pecans
On a side note, some wholefoods – like those high in phytic acid – can actually inhibit manganese absorption…
Here are the main culprits:
– Soy products
– Nuts that AREN’T activated!
Even though minor Manganese deficiencies can usually be improved with food, if you find that you have very low levels & need to supplement, we recommend the supplement “Thorne Research, Manganese Bisglycinate” – however you should always check with your health professional & have your levels tested before supplementing!
So that’s a wrap!
I hope you enjoyed this mineral spotlight & if you think that anyone else might benefit from it, I’d love you to pass it on!
BIG love! A x