What’s a Manganese?

Per my past posts, many of you know that I’ve been experiencing severe fatigue. So bad. It’s been chronic fatigue. Kind of like kill me now fatigue.

After my DNA test, I found out I was deficient in manganese, so I began supplementing for it. I could not BELIEVE the amount of energy I had! It was like WHAAAATTT! I mean people HAVE this kind of energy? THAT’S AMAZING! I had even more energy, more focus, and more drive than I have had in the past 5 years. I cleaned my room, my bathroom, and the kitchen; wrote a 7 page paper; went grocery shopping; and read nearly 80 pages of material for one of my classes in one day.

Can you believe I did ALL of that in one day? I KNOW! It’s amazing! And for those of you thinking “Uh, so what?” Psh, well, back up there. You probably have no idea what it’s like to experience fatigue like I’ve had.

But, it got me to thinking.. What exactly is manganese? The simple answer is a mineral, but I wanted to know more. And! Here we are. Discussing manganese, of course.

What is it?

Found mostly in bones, the liver, kidneys, and the pancreas, manganese is a trace mineral in the body.

What does it do?

According to The University of Maryland Medical Center, manganese “helps the body form connective tissues, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Manganese is also necessary for normal brain and nerve function.” In addition, manganese can help protect against free radicals (free radicals destroy DNA and other cells in your body).

What about the dosage?

According to WebMD, the dosages are widespread depending on the age group. There is no recommended daily allowance for manganese, so it is best to follow the adequate intake and keep below the upper intake level of your age group. For me, this means no  more than 11mg a day.

What foods does it come from?

You can get manganese from nuts, seeds, pineapple, beans, spinach, and sweet potatoes. The typical American diet lacks a lot of these whole food sources of manganese because a processed foods diet is typically followed.

What are some deficiency symptoms?

Deficiency symptoms include impaired glucose tolerance, altered carbohydrate and fat metabolism, stunted growth, elevated blood calcium, infertility, weakness, nausea, dizziness, hearing loss, iron-deficiency anemia, weak hair and nails, and convulsions.

What happens if I take too much?

According to Oregon State, Ingested manganese has been associated with neurological symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. However, this was found in people who had high manganese intakes from drinking water. One case included a person who had been taking large amounts of manganese supplements for years.

So, what’s the verdict?

While everyone is different, manganese is an important mineral to include in your diet. The best place to get manganese is from whole food sources including nuts and seeds, as well as the foods listed above. It’s important to remember that vitamins and minerals play a role with each other in the body. It may be that my manganese levels were causing some other vitamin or mineral to be off (actually, in my case, I had extremely elevated blood calcium). There’s no need to supplement for it if you’re not deficient, and there is certainly no reason to supplement if you’re not experiencing any deficiency symptoms.

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6 thoughts on “What’s a Manganese?

  1. This is awesome! Congrats on getting so much done in one day, too! Is manganese a supplement that you can just add to your diet? Or is it something you should get tested for (blood test?) first? I experience severe fatigue quite often, though I always thought it was related to my horrid immune system. And actually, my fatigue has reduced quite a bit since I had sinus surgery (who knew that breathing was a source of energy?!), but I could use some more energy.

    • You can buy it in supplement form, which is really helpful with a deficiency. I ordered mine from Amazon.
      It’s probably worth getting tested for, but an extra 10mg a day won’t hurt. Vegetarians eat up to 20mg of manganese a day, and this is pretty unheard of in a “typical American diet” (not that I know how you eat, but 20mg is a lot from foods!). I actually started to feel energy as I upped it to 20-30mg, but I’m really, really deficient. I had almost no manganese in my system.
      Unfortunately, I’m not sure insurance would cover this kind of test, but you could always ask! Mine wouldn’t cover a vitamin and mineral panel, which is why I had to pay out of pocket.

      • I definitely don’t eat like a typical American (too European for that!), but unfortunately I can’t eat beans and spinach, so that cuts some sources out. I’ll try the supplement for sure!

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