With so many essential minerals out there, (20 to be exact) it can be hard to keep track of what each one of them does for the body. One essential trace mineral you should know more about is manganese. Manganese provides a host of health benefits. For example, it is involved in the scavenging of reactive oxygen species projecting antioxidant-like effects and it plays a role in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. We’re going to talk more about the health benefits of manganese, how it works, and how it can protect you from age-related metabolic diseases.
What Is Manganese
Manganese is an essential trace element or mineral. It’s involved in several biological functions, including carbohydrate, lipid, amino acid, and glucose metabolism. Manganese helps maintain the normalization of the synthesis and secretion of insulin. Manganese is a cofactor for many enzymes, including manganese superoxide dismutase, arginase, and pyruvate carboxylase. Manganese also plays a role in blood clotting in conjunction 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 has been linked to age related metabolic disease such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes.
Types Of Manganese
Several forms of manganese are used in dietary supplements, including
- manganese gluconate
- manganese sulfate
- manganese ascorbate
- and amino acid chelates of manganese
Manganese is also available as a stand-alone supplement or in combination with other acids and minerals. Relatively high levels of manganese ascorbate may be found in a bone/joint health product containing chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride.
While low dietary manganese intake and manganese levels have been associated with various chronic diseases, manganese deficiency is not thought to be the origin of any major disease state. The following is a list of health benefits that manganese supplements may provide for chronic diseases.
1. May Benefit Osteoporosis
Studies have found an association between patients with osteoporosis and low manganese levels. A study investigating manganese levels in postmenopausal women found that supplementation of manganese at 5mg/day in combination with other trace elements, zinc, copper, and calcium was more sufficient in reducing bone loss than calcium alone over the trial duration of two years [R].
2. May Reduce Risk Of Diabetes
Animal studies have shown that low manganese levels impair insulin secretion and glucose intolerance yet results of human studies have been somewhat conflicting. The E3N-EPIC Cohort study examined micronutrient dietary patterns of 71,720 French women and found that diabetes was inversely associated with dietary manganese intake [R].
Two prospective Chinese cohorts with over 10,000 participants, found that manganese intake was inversely associated with type II diabetes, interpedently of dietary total antioxidant capacity, with a stronger association with a higher dietary intake of antioxidants. [R].
Although these epidemiological studies show inverse relationships with diabetes and dietary manganese intake, most did not take into consideration potential confounding factors, such as those currently in therapy for metabolic disease, or using other therapeutic agents for treatment. Although these studies show a direct association between diabetes and manganese intake, it remains unclear whether it is a positive or negative role.
3. Could Reduce Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is characterized by cholesterol accumulation which affects the arterial wall, culminating into life-threatening conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and angina [R].
Recent evidence suggests that mitochondrial damage from free radicals and oxidative stress in vascular tissue may be an early development of atherosclerotic lesions [R]. Several studies indicated that manganese supplementation could in fact lower blood levels of cholesterol and potentially prevent or delay the progression of atherosclerosis [R].
4. May Prevent Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
NAFLD, is the most common chronic liver disease and is characterized by excess triglyceride (TG) accumulation in the absence of excessive alcohol intake. NAFLD is also related to metabolic syndromes, obesity, and type II diabetes. Animal studies have shown that manganese may help in the treatment and prevention of NAFLD [R].
Manganese Benefits: Takeaway
A large body of evidence supports the inverse association between low dietary intake and manganese levels with metabolic and chronic disease states. More research is needed, however large cohort epidemiological studies have substantiated the positive association of manganese in the prevention of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. One of the main health benefits of manganese is its antioxidant-like effects, which can help eradicate free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Getting more manganese in your diet, through food and dietary supplements such as a multivitamin can help support a healthy aging process.
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