About 4 and a half billion years ago the earth was newly born. Oxygen was absent from the atmosphere and did not appear until about 2 and a half billion years later. At that time a blue-green algae ( a type of bacteria) came into being and they were able to split water into oxygen by using the suns energy and it was manganese that made this possible. Today one of the main roles of manganese is an antioxidant helping to protect humans from toxic oxygen forms.
Manganese is a trace mineral that activates several enzu=ymes, aiding in the utilization of choline and is an activator of enzymes necessary for the utilization of biotin, thiamine and ascorbic acid. Promoting cell function manganese helps utilize nutrients from food, assists in the regulation and manufacture of fats, necessary for bone growth and development, reproduction, lipid metabolism, the moderation of nerves, metabolism of amino acids and carbohydrates and important in thebuilding and breakdown cycles of protein and nucleic acid (the chief carrier of genetic information). Helping to regulate blood sugars, maintaining the health of the brain and nervous system and helps eliminate waste from the body. Assists in sex hormone production and in forming mother’s milk. Important for the formation of thyroxine, a principle constituent of the thyroid gland, formation of blood and urea a part of urine. It is absorbed slowly from the small intestine and whats not needed is excreted in waste in the form of choline complex in the bile. This amount needs to be replaced and the consumption of processed and refined foods can cause serious loss of manganese. The Adult body contains 10 – 20 milligrams of manganese the hihest concentrations are found in the kidneys, liver, pancreas and pituitary gland.
A deficiency of manganese can cause glucose intolerance resulting in an inability to remove excess sugar from the blood by oxidation and/or storage, causing diabetes. Low levels may also cause atherosclerosis and be a factor in triggering a seizure in some epileptics. Tardive dyskinesia ( a neuromuscular disease) requires additional manganese along with B vitamins. Ataxia (the failure od muscular co-ordination) has been linked with inadequate intake of manganese. Deficiencies may also lead to paralysis, convulsions, blindness, deafness, dizziness, ear noises and loss of hearing. May also cause a person to become vindictive and mean.
High calcium and phosphorus intake depresses manganese absorption. High doses result in reduced storage and utilization of iron. Industrial workers exposed to manganese dust can absorb this into their lungs and develop toxic symptoms such as weakness, psychological and motor difficulties, irritability and impotency can result from high tissue levels.
Medicinal and therapeutic Uses
In the treatment of diabetes, combined with B – complex vitamins helps stimulate the transmission of impulses between nerves and muscles, helps treat Myasthenia gravis (failure of muscular co-ordination and loos of muscle strength), helps with allergies, asthma, fatigue, MS, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout and an accumulation of manganese in the brain is found in parkinson’s disease and some forms of dementia. However it is not yet confirmed that manganese plays a role in the cause of these diseases. Many schizophrenics have high copper levels and manganese like zinc is effective at increasing copper excretion from the body.
Locura manganica or “manganese madness” a disorder reported from mining villages in northern Chilli presents such symptoms as unaccountable laughter, heightened sexuality, impulsiveness, inability to fall asleep, delusions and hallucinations in the early stages, progressing to a manic state followed by deep depression, distinguished by slow speech, impotence and inability to stay awake. In the final stage of this disease process symptoms are similar to parkinsons disease – a degenerative brain disease resulting from loss of dopamine – containing cells. Treatment is a drug called L-dopa, which the brain can convert to dopamine, L-dopa can also treat the chronic stage of manganese poisoning.
Good Food Sources
Abundant in many foods, especially bran, coffee, tea, nuts, peas, beans, organ meats, shellfish, milk, avocados, hazelnuts, almonds, oats, wheat germ, whole-grains, aloe vera, barberry, blessed thistle, catnip, feverfew, stevia, watercress, horsetail, wormwood, yellow dock