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The Importance of Manganese in the Diet

Manganese is an element that is quite necessary in the diet. However, it often doesn’t get a great deal of attention in diet plans, partly because of the very small amounts that are needed and partly because many people don’t know why it is important. Deficiencies in manganese can and do happen.

Manganese in the body

Dietary manganese is an important element in many enzymes in the body. It is involved in the formation of bones, proper breakdown of both carbohydrates and proteins, and for metabolizing cholesterol. Additionally, it is needed for the formation of collagen, which is important for the formation of blood clots.

Manganese is needed for energy production and for the production of several antioxidants. It is needed for reproductive health, fertility, and for the production of sex hormones. It is used in the body to regulate the sugar levels in the blood.

Needed amount of manganese

No recommended daily allowance (RDA) of manganese has been established. However, in general, adult males should get about 2.3 mg per day. Adult women should get about 1.8 mg per day, while pregnant women can use 2 mg per day and breastfeeding women should get about 2.6 mg per day.

Like other vital trace elements, too much manganese in the diet should also be avoided. The highest amount of daily intake of magnesium should be under 11 mg for adults.

Excessive and prolonged amounts of manganese can cause muscular tremors and mental issues. Excessive manganese can occur in people who have liver disease or anemia due to iron deficiencies. In a healthy individual who eats a balanced diet, there are rarely issues of eating too much manganese.

Symptoms of a deficiency of magnesium include nausea, rashes, dizziness, hearing impairment, high blood sugar levels, iron-deficiency anemia, and blood cholesterol levels that are lower than they should be.

Foods high in manganese

Many foods contain healthy amounts of manganese. For instance, three ounces of clams contain about 40% of the amount of manganese that is needed per day.

All the pictures shown here are of foods that are high in manganese.

Other foods that are high in manganese include pecans, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin or squash seeds, whole wheat flour, mussels, crayfish, dried beans, spinach, Swiss chard, other dark green vegetables, brown rice, chocolate, and, somewhat surprisingly, black tea. A cup of black tea contains approximately .5 mg of manganese.

Manganese intake levels in the diet are often ignored, but they shouldn’t be. This is an element that is definitely needed by the body and deficiencies do occur. Thankfully, many foods contain manganese, so if a person is eating a balanced and varied diet, there is a good chance that they are consuming enough manganese.


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Written by Rex Trulove

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