Manganese is a mineral found in large quantities in both plant and animal sources. Only trace amounts of this element can be found in human tissues, and is predominantly stored in the bones, liver, kidney, and pancreas. It aids in the formation of connective tissues, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones and plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, energy metabolism and blood sugar regulation. Manganese is also necessary for normal brain and nerve function.
Manganese is essential for the metabolism and break-down of cholesterol, carbohydrates, and proteins. As a component of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), it helps combat the damaging effects of free radicals by converting superoxide, a metabolic by-product, into safer molecules that won’t cause cellular damage.
Manganese is essential for bone health. When combined with the right amounts of calcium, zinc, and copper, manganese encourages normal bone density, especially in the spine and legs. This is particularly important for older adults who are at risk for osteoporosis, especially postmenopausal women. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has acknowledged the following beneficial effects as a basis for health claims:
• Manganese contributes to the maintenance of normal bone
• Manganese contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
• Manganese contributes to the protection of body cells from oxidative damage