Food sources and facts of Manganese


Similar to zinc, manganese is also involved in the proper functioning of numerous enzymes. However, manganese still struggles for recognition. Manganese is a naturally occurring metal which is silver in color with no smell or taste in pure form. Normally, manganese is confronted in environment as a compound with sulfur, oxygen or chlorine. It is not found as free element in nature. It is an essential nutrient which is required in small bit amounts for maintaining human health. With balanced diet, it could be obtained in sufficient amounts. Two forms of manganese could be found in the environment. Manganese compounds are formed as combustion products from coal burning industrial plants and motor vehicles. Inorganic manganese compounds are used for production of batteries, steel, dietary supplements and ceramics. Organic manganese compounds are used in some fertilizers, pesticides and gasoline additive known as methlcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT).  The manganese compounds could be dissolved in ground water or drinking water or as dust particles in air. Children or infants could obtain it through diet including infant formula or breast milk or also by air and drinking water. It is an essential metal for human health which is required for metabolism, development and antioxidant system.


In prehistoric times, manganese was used in form of its compounds. The paints which were pigmented with manganese dioxide are traced back to 17000 years. Romans and Egyptians used manganese compounds for glass making to erase color from glass or to add color to it. Iron ores used by Spartans have manganese. Some figure out that exceptional hardness of Spartan steel acquired from inadvertent production of ironmanganese alloy.

Johannn Glauber, a German chemist, in seventeenth century produced permanganate first which is a useful laboratory reagent. Manganese dioxide was used in manufacturing choline by mid-eighteenth century. Carl Wilhelm Scheele, a Swedish chemist was the first one who discovered manganese as an element and his colleague, Johan Gottileb Gahn confined pure element in 1774 by devaluation of dioxide with carbon.

In the beginning of nineteenth century, the use of manganese was explored in steelmaking and also patents were allowed for its use at the time. It was noted in 1816 that addition of manganese made it harder without making it brittle. James Couper, a British academic, in 1837 noted a link between heavy exposures to manganese with mines with a form of Parkinson’s disease. In United States, patents were issued in 1912 for the methods to use manganese for Parkerizing firearms in order to protect them from corrosion and rust.

What Foods Provide Manganese?

Whole-grain cereals, fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, tea, and leafy vegetables are good food sources of manganese. Animal foods are generally poor contributors of manganese. Additional substances in plants, such as fiber, phytate, and oxalate along with excessive calcium, phosphorus, and iron, can decrease manganese absorption.

Food name Weight (g) Manganese (mg) DV%
Chickpeas 200 42 1826%
Rice bran 118 16 695%
Pine nuts 135 11 478%
Butternuts 120 7 304%
Pineapple juice 216 7 304%
Winged beans 182 6 260%
Wheat bran 58 6 260%
Amaranth grain 193 6 260%
Macadamia nuts 134 5 217%
Spelt 174 5 217%
Pecans 109 4 173%
Black walnuts 125 4 173%
Quinoa 170 3 130%
Adzuki beans 197 3 130%
Hyacinth beans 210 3 130%
Millet 200 3 130%
Almonds 143 3 130%
Sorghum grain 192 3 130%
Natto 175 2 86%
Yardlong beans 167 2 86%

Health Benefits of Manganese

Here are some health benefits offered by manganese:

  1. Strengthen bones

Manganese is required for maintaining bone health. It is an effective mineral which promotes spinal bone density and is beneficial for post-menopausal women. Women with menopausal symptoms must consume manganese for preventing bone damage in later years of life. This mineral slows down the onset of osteoporosis. Research is still needed to discover the link between prevention of osteoporosis with manganese consumption.

  1. Regulation of sugar level

Manganese have vital role in controlling blood sugar which further prevents the progression of medical condition such as diabetes. It also normalizes secretion of insulin and synthesis for managing unpredictable drops in blood sugar. The foods rich in manganese are helpful for patients to maintain blood sugar.

  1. Increase metabolism

Manganese promotes body’s metabolism and the manganese activated enzymes maintain cholesterol level. It also assists in proper functioning of liver.

  1. Inflammation relief

Manganese is an aid for chronic inflammation or sprains. It promotes superoxide dismutase also known as SOD levels in arthritis patients. Superoxide dismutase possesses anti-inflammatory properties and manganese provides relief from painful inflammation in patients.

  1. Treatment for PMS

Manganese is a cure for alleviating uncomfortable PMS symptoms. Research have shown clear link between low content of trace minerals such as manganese in females who realized severe PMS symptoms. Thus it is recommended to use supplements. Therefore, impact of manganese on hormonal function may vary in every individual. But it is essential to consult doctor before using manganese supplementation to treat PMS.

  1. Prevent seizures

Most of the people are not aware about epileptic seizures which are caused due to low level of manganese. The exact mechanism is not discovered for preventing seizures. Many people have found the manganese to be useful which acts as a vasodilator for preventing future epileptic episodes.

  1. Support thyroid health

Manganese is an essential co-factor for various different enzymes. It is a valuable component of thyroxin and maintains proper function of thyroid gland. It assists various medical conditions which are associated to thyroid including appetite, metabolism, organ efficiency and weight loss.

  1. Absorption of vitamin

Manganese supports to absorb vitamins such as Vitamin B and Vitamin E as well as minerals such as magnesium. Manganese has an essential role in enzymatic reactions which involve in utilizing and absorbing vitamins which we took from diet. It is a versatile co-factor for enzymatic reactions which is benefitted from sources of manganese to accomplish various benefits.

  1. Digestive health

Manganese is required for promoting good digestion. It provides relief from disorders such as constipation and bowel discomfort. The consumption of manganese offers various health benefits to maintain good digestive health. The mineral is required for efficient utilization of food.

  1. Improve cognition

Free radicals are oxidation byproducts found throughout body. Free radical activity poses serious hazard to the body including cognitive functioning. Manganese has antioxidants which forbid damage caused by free radicals. This mineral stimulates faster transmission of electrical impulses to accelerate cognitive functions.

  1. Prevent infertility

Deficiency of manganese results infertility as manganese assists hormone regulation and antioxidant activity. Thus manganese is used as a cure for infertility.

What Are Current Recommendations for Manganese Intake?

The AI for manganese is 1.8 and 2.3 milligrams for adult women and men daily. However during pregnancy and lactation the AI increases to 2.0 and 2.6 milligrams daily.

What Does Manganese Do in the Body?

Manganese is involved with several general functions in the cells. First, manganese can interact with specific enzymes to increase their activity. These manganese-activated enzymes are involved in many operations, including protein digestion and the making of glucose from certain amino acids and lactate (gluconeogenesis). Second, manganese is a component of many enzymes. These enzymes are engaged in many activities including urea formation, glucose formation, and antioxidation. Lastly, manganese may be involved in the activity of some hormones.

What Happens If Too Little Manganese Is Consumed?

Manganese deficiency in humans is rare. However, nausea, vomiting, dermatitis, decreased growth of hair and nails, and changes in hair color can result from a deficiency. Manganese toxicity is also rare, although miners inhaling manganese-rich dust can experience Parkinson’s-like symptoms.

Other facts

  • Cave paintings which dates from Stone Age encloses manganese pigments.
  • Manganese resembles iron, but has silver gray color.
  • Though it oxidizes easily but does not fuse easily.
  • There are 18 known radioactive isotopes of manganese.
  • Manganese dioxide is common.
  • An average human body consists of twelve grams of manganese which is found in the skeleton mostly.
  • Manganism, a neurological disorder caused having long-term exposure to manganese.



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