Manganese is essential to the development and maintenance of connective tissue structures (i.e. within the joints, bones, blood vessels, skin, intestines, etc.). In this respect, manganese facilitates the synthesis of both collagen and mucopolysaccharides, the two primary structural components of all connective tissue. Manganese is also involved in the proper development of the hard structures of the inner ear that are responsible for maintaining balance/equilibrium.


As with copper and zinc, manganese is an essential mineral component of the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD is one of the most powerful substances manufactured by the body for the purpose of protecting cells. The protective mechanism of SOD relates to its function as an antioxidant which neutralises superoxide free radicals. Although many parts of the body are adversely affected by superoxide radicals, they are particularly associated with tissue damage within the joints (i.e. arthritis) and eyes (i.e. cataracts). Interestingly, scientists have demonstrated a strong statistical association in mammalian species between tissue SOD levels and life expectancy.


Manganese plays a significant role in joint integrity (including within the vertebral discs), in part due to its involvement in cartilage and bone growth and stability. Also important to joint health is the antioxidant activity of the manganese-dependent enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). As mentioned above, the joint tissue is especially susceptible to superoxide radicals – an interaction which precipitates tissue damage and inflammation. SOD injections are clinically proven to be effective in inflammation, such as that which occurs in rheumatoid arthritis; although studies on the effect of oral intake of manganese in arthritis are currently lacking, supplementation appears to be warranted in arthritic and related inflammatory disorders such as strains and sprains.


As an essential coenzyme (non-protein portion of an enzyme), manganese is a component of various enzymes that catalyse the metabolism and utilisation of glucose. This property is critical in the maintenance of blood sugar control; in fact, al987 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that the manganese levels in non-diabetics is approximately double that of diabetics. The influence of manganese on glucose metabolism is also crucial to the fuelling and proper function of cells within the brain and nervous system. The adverse neurological implications of manganese deficiency have been mainly demonstrated in relation to epilepsy, where research suggests that the lower the level of manganese, the higher the rate of seizure activity. Manganese also influences the activity of enzymes that, among other functions, are needed for the synthesis of protein, fatty acids and cholesterol.

Potential Applications

•        Arthritis

•        Sprains

•        Strains

•        RSI (repetitive strain injury)

•        Tendonitis

•        Cataract prevention

•        Diabetes

•        Epilepsy


•        None established

Common Supplement Forms/Sources

•        Manganese sulfate

•        Manganese gluconate

•        Manganese glycinate

•       Manganese amino acid chelate

Common Food Sources

  • Meat
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Beans
  • Pineapple
  • Raspberries
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Whole wheat
  • Oats
  • Buckwheat
  • Spinach

Contraindications/Cautions/lnteractions/Toxicity Concerns

•        Although standard doses of manganese found in supplements are unlikely to cause side effects or toxicity, very high levels of exposure (usually from environmental or occupational exposure) can lead to many symptoms of manganese toxicity, such as symptoms resembling Parkinson’s Disease and Wilson’s Disease, irritability, depression, insomnia, hallucinations, delusions, violent acts, defects in motor function, loss of appetite, impotence, weakness, difficult breathing and leg cramps.

•        Patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease or Wilson’s Disease should only take manganese on the advice and under the strict monitoring of a physician.

•        High intakes of manganese may interfere with the absorption of iron, zinc and copper. If suffering with iron-deficiency anaemia, it is advisable to consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before taking a manganese supplement.

Agents/Factors Which Deplete Levels,

•        Calcium (very high intakes)

•        Copper (very high intakes)

•        Iron (very high intakes)

•        Magnesium (very high intakes)

Impair Absorption and/or Inhibit Activity

•        Zinc (very high intakes)

•        Phosphates

•        Antacids

•        Oral contraceptives

Possible Signs/Symptoms Associated with Deficiency

  • Bone abnormalities
  • Cataracts
  • Seizures
  • Skin rash
  • Premature greying of hair
  • Poor hair growth
  • Poor nail growth
  • Birth defects
  • Impaired growth
  • Ataxia
  • Deafness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Poor balance
  • Diabetes
  • Joint disorders

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