Manganese Toxicity

I recently had a patient who was concerned about the amount of manganese in one of his supplements. He had heard of manganese toxicity and was worried that it might be a problem. I was able to reassure him that the product was safe and effective and I thought it was a good topic for a blog post.

What is manganese? Manganese is a naturally occurring element and is essential for good health. Several enzyme systems interact with or depend on manganese for their catalytic or regulatory function. As such, manganese is required for many vital bodily processes including: the formation of healthy cartilage and bone and the urea cycle (think urine production); it aids in the maintenance of mitochondria (think ENERGY production) and normal glucose levels (think diabetes). It also plays a key role in wound-healing and in the repair of muscles, ligaments and tendons and is essential for bone development. Manganese deficiencies are correlated with infertility and unhealthy sperm production as well as for abnormal adrenal and thyroid gland function. Manganese also plays an important role in the detoxification process in the liver. Without the small amounts of manganese in the body, we wouldn’t survive. That’s how essential it is.

How do we get manganese? Manganese is found in egg yolks, sunflower seeds, coconuts, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and brazil nuts; blueberries, olives and avocados; corn parsley and legumes (peas); wheat, wheat germ and bran, rice, barley, oats, buckwheat, and rye; kelp, cloves and tea.

What are some symptoms associated with manganese deficiency? Allergies, diabetes, hypoglycemia, dizziness, fatigue, ringing in the ears, bone fractures and osteoporosis (brittle bones); muscular weakness and weak ligaments and tendons.

What about manganese toxicity? To answer this, I’m going to quote directly from the CDC: “The inhalation of air contaminated with particulate matter containing manganese is the primary source of excess manganese exposure for the general population in the United States. Populations living in close proximity to mining activities and industries using manganese may be exposed by inhalation to high levels of manganese in dust. Workers in these industries are especially vulnerable to exposure to manganese dust. Manganese concentrations in soil may be elevated when the soil is in close proximity to a mining source or industry using manganese and may therefore pose a risk of excess exposure to children who ingest contaminated soil. Manganese is ubiquitous in drinking water in the United States. Although certain water sources in the United States are contaminated with excess manganese, there is little risk of excessive exposure to manganese through ingestion of fish or shellfish emanating from contaminated waters, unless the manganese levels in the fish are extremely high and/or the fish are eaten as subsistence. Although many forms of manganese are water-soluble, there is little evidence that dermal contact with manganese results in significant absorption through the skin. Thus, dermal contact with manganese is not generally viewed as an important source of exposure to the population at large.”

The bottom line is this: if you don’t work in the mining industry or live in an area of mining activity, the risk of manganese toxicity is small.

What symptoms are associated with excessive manganese? Although the risk is small, symptoms of manganese toxicity may include: Anorexia, ataxia (lack of coordination), iron deficiency, neurological symptoms and schizophrenia.

Manganese is an essential mineral needed for proper health and found in several of the nutritional supplements we use in the office. As a chiropractor treating musculoskeletal problems, it is an essential supplement to help with strains, sprains, tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis and back pain. Other conditions it helps include fatigue, low energy, blood sugar issues like hypoglycemia and diabetes and hormone problems. Many of our nutrition patients test well with manganese and we see very good results using it.

Are you concerned about a possible manganese deficiency? Do you have health problems that don’t seem to be getting better? Are you concerned about taking medications and drugs and the effects they have on the body? Are you ready to do something about your health? If so, we can help. Call and come in for a consultation to see if Nutrition Response Testing is right for you! The results we get are nothing short of amazing. Call us today at 501-842-1004.