Managing Your Intake of Manganese

Manganese, a trace mineral that your body uses in many enzyme systems, is found widely in nature, but occurs only in trace amounts in your tissues. Your body contains a total of 15-20 milligrams of manganese, most of which is located in your bones, with the remainder found in your kidneys, liver, pancreas, pituitary glands, and adrenal glands.

Manganese can:

  • Activate enzymes: Manganese activates the enzymes that help your body use several key nutrients including biotin, thiamine, vitamin C, and choline. It is a catalyst in the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol, it facilitates protein and carbohydrate metabolism, and it may also help your body produce sex hormones and maintain reproductive health. In addition, manganese activates the enzymes known as glycolsyltranserferases and xylosyltransferases, which are important in forming bone. Manganese may also be involved in the production of the thyroid hormone known as thyroxine and in maintaining the health of nerve tissue.
  • Form metalloenzymes: Manganese has additional functions as a constituent of the following metalloenzymes (enzymes that contain a metal ion in their structure):
    • Arginase, the enzyme in your liver responsible for creating urea, a component of urine
    • Glutamine synthetase, an enzyme involved in the synthesis of glutamine
    • Phosphoenolpyruvate decarboxylase, an enzyme that helps metabolize blood sugar
    • Manganese-dependent superoxide dismutase, an enzyme with antioxidant activity that protects your tissues from the damaging effects of free radicals.This enzyme is found exclusively inside your mitochondria (oxygen-based energy factories inside most of your cells).

Because manganese plays a role in a variety of enzyme systems, manganese deficiency can affect many physiological processes, and can cause nausea, vomiting, high blood sugar, skin rash, loss of hair color, excessive bone loss, low cholesterol levels, dizziness, hearing loss, and a poorly functioning reproductive system. Severe manganese deficiency in infants can cause paralysis, convulsions, blindness, and deafness, and may lead to impaired growth, skeletal abnormalities, and defects in carbohydrate and fat metabolism. In addition, manganese deficiency may lead to ataxia, a movement disorder characterized by lack of muscle coordination and balance caused by poor development of the otoliths, the structures in the inner ear that are responsible for equilibrium. However, manganese deficiency is very rare in humans, and does not usually develop unless manganese is deliberately eliminated from the diet. In addition, magnesium may substitute for manganese in certain enzyme systems if manganese is deficient, thereby allowing your body to function normally despite the deficiency.

Poor dietary intake of manganese is probably the most common cause of manganese deficiency. However, other factors can contribute to a need for more manganese. Like zinc, manganese is a mineral that you can excrete in significant amounts through sweat, and people who go through periods of excessive sweating may be at increased risk for manganese deficiency. In order to transport manganese, your liver needs to properly form bile, and you must have proper circulation of bile, so people with chronic liver or gallbladder disorders may need more manganese in their diets.

High doses of manganese may inhibit the absorption of iron, copper, and zinc. Alternatively, high intakes of magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, and zinc may inhibit the absorption of manganese.

Industrial workers who are exposed to manganese dust may develop nervous system problems similar to Parkinson’s disease. Symptoms of manganese toxicity do not usually appear even at high levels of dietary intake; however, in severe cases of excessive manganese consumption, humans can develop a syndrome called “manganese madness,” characterized by hallucinations, violent acts, and irritability. Over-consumption of manganese is also associated with impotence. Manganese toxicity is most likely to occur in people with chronic liver disease, because your liver plays an important role in eliminating excess manganese from your body. In 2000, the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences established the following Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL) for manganese of 11 milligrams for adults.

Excellent food sources of manganese include spelt, brown rice, chickpeas, spinach, pineapple, pumpkin seeds, tempeh, soybeans, oats, cloves, wheat, lentils, lima beans, navy beans, cinnamon, almonds, sesame seeds, quinoa, walnuts, collards, raspberries, dried peas, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, green peas, peanuts, tofu, buckwheat, sunflower seeds, grapes, chard, sweet potato, cashews, strawberries, kale, blueberries, yams, turnip greens, millet, beets, maple syrup, and leeksVery good sources of manganese include mustard greens, winter squash, potatoes, blackstrap molasses, ground flax seeds, turmeric, bananas, garlicBrussels sprouts, corn, black pepper, thyme, green beans, asparagus, tomatoes, onions, eggplant, summer squash, and shiitake mushrooms. Good sources of manganese include broccoli, cranberries, oregano, cauliflower, fennel, carrots, miso, Romaine lettuce, cumin, crimini mushrooms, cabbage, celery, mustard seeds, bell peppers, basil, peppermint, soy sauce, cucumber, dill, cayenne pepper, and figs.

Food Sources of Manganese

Food

Serving Size

Calories

Amount (mg)

DV

Spelt

4 ounces

246.4

2.12

106%

Brown Rice

1 cup

216.4

1.76

88%

Chickpeas

1 cup cooked

269

1.69

84.5%

Spinach

1 cup cooked

41.4

1.68

84%

Pineapple

1 cup

82.5

1.53

76.5%

Pumpkin Seeds

0.25 cup

180.3

1.47

73.5%

Tempeh

4 ounces cooked

222.3

1.46

73%

Rye

0.33 cup

188.5

1.44

72%

Soybeans

1 cup cooked

297.6

1.42

71%

Oats

1 cup cooked

166.1

1.36

68%

Cloves

2 teaspoons

13.6

1.26

63%

Wheat

1 cup cooked

151.1

1.11

55.5%

Lentils

1 cup cooked

229.7

0.98

49%

Lima Beans

1 cup cooked

216.2

0.97

48.5%

Navy Beans

1 cup cooked

254.8

0.96

48%

Cinnamon

2 teaspoons

12.8

0.91

45.5%

Almonds

0.25 cup

206

0.9

45%

Sesame Seeds

0.25 cup

206.3

0.89

44.5%

Quinoa

42.5 grams

156.4

0.86

43%

Walnuts

0.25 cup

163.5

0.85

42.5%

Collards

1 cup cooked

49.4

0.83

41.5%

Raspberries

1 cup

64

0.82

41%

Dried Peas

1 cup cooked

231.3

0.78

39%

Pinto Beans

1 cup cooked

244.5

0.77

38.5%

Kidney Beans

1 cup cooked

224.8

0.76

38%

Black Beans

1 cup cooked

227

0.76

38%

Green Peas

1 cup raw

115.7

0.72

36%

Peanuts

0.25 cup

206.9

0.71

35.5%

Tofu

4 ounces

86.2

0.69

34.5%

Buckwheat

1 cup

154.6

0.68

34%

Sunflower Seeds

0.25 cup

204.4

0.68

34%

Grapes

1 cup

61.6

0.66

33%

Barley

1 cup, cooked

270

0.62

31%

Chard

1 cup cooked

35

0.58

29%

Sweet Potato

1 cup baked

102.6

0.57

28.5%

Cashews

0.25 cup

189.5

0.57

28.5%

Strawberries

1 cup

46.1

0.56

28%

Kale

1 cup cooked

36.4

0.54

27%

Blueberries

1 cup

84.4

0.5

25%

Yam

1 cup baked

157.8

0.5

25%

Turnip Greens

1 cup cooked

28.8

0.49

24.5%

Millet

1 cup cooked

207.1

0.47

23.5%

Beets

1 cup raw

58.5

0.45

22.5%

Maple Syrup

2 teaspoons

34.8

0.44

22%

Leeks

1 cup raw

54.3

0.43

21.5%

Mustard Greens

1 cup cooked

21

0.38

19%

Winter Squash

1 cup baked

75.8

0.38

19%

Potatoes

1 each baked

160.9

0.38

19%

Blackstrap Molasses

2 teaspoons

32.1

0.36

18%

Flax Seeds, ground

2 tablespoons

74.8

0.35

17.5%

Turmeric

2 teaspoons

15.6

0.34

17%

Banana

1 medium

105

0.32

16%

Garlic

1 ounce

26.8

0.3

15%

Brussels Sprouts

1 cup raw

37.8

0.3

15%

Corn

1 cup

143

0.25

12.5%

Black Pepper

2 teaspoons

10.7

0.24

12%

Thyme

2 teaspoons

7.7

0.22

11%

Green Beans

1 cup raw

31

0.22

11%

Asparagus

1 cup raw

26.8

0.21

10.5%

Tomatoes

1 cup raw

32.4

0.21

10.5%

Onions

1 cup raw

64

0.21

10.5%

Eggplant

1 cup raw

19.7

0.2

10%

Summer Squash

1 cup raw

18.1

0.2

10%

Shiitake Mushrooms

87 grams

29.6

0.2

10%

Broccoli

1 cup raw

30.9

0.19

9.5%

Cranberries

0.50 cup

23

0.18

9%

Oregano

2 teaspoons

9.5

0.18

9%

Cauliflower

1 cup raw

26.8

0.17

8.5%

Fennel

1 cup raw

27

0.17

8.5%

Carrots

1 cup

50

0.17

8.5%

Miso

1 tablespoon

34.2

0.15

7.5%

Romaine Lettuce

2 cups

16

0.15

7.5%

Cumin

1 teaspoon

15.8

0.14

7%

Crimini Mushrooms

1 cup

19.1

0.12

6%

Cabbage

1 cup raw

17.5

0.11

5.5%

Celery

1 cup

16.2

0.1

5%

Mustard Seeds

2 teaspoons

20.3

0.1

5%

Bell Peppers

1 cup raw

28.5

0.1

5%

Basil

2 teaspoons

7

0.09

4.5%

Peppermint

2 tablespoons

5.3

0.09

4.5%

Soy Sauce

1 tablespoon

10.8

0.09

4.5%

Cucumber

1 cup

15.6

0.08

4%

Dill

2 teaspoons

12.8

0.08

4%

Cayenne Pepper

2 teaspoons

11.4

0.07

3.5%

Figs

8 ounces

37

0.06

3%

Significant amounts of manganese can be lost in food processing, especially in the milling of whole grains to produce flour, and in the cooking of beans. Three and one half ounces of raw navy beans, for example, start out with about 1 milligram of manganese. This amount drops by 60% to 0.4 milligrams after cooking.


This blog uses the latest nutritional data available from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), and the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration), as well as nutritional data provided by food growers and manufacturers about their products. We believe the information on this website to be accurate. However, we are not responsible for typographical or other errors. Nutrition information for recipes is calculated by Living Cookbook based on the ingredients in each recipe based on statistical averages. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

This blog is not a substitute for the services of a trained health professional. Although we provide nutritional information, the information on this blog is for informational purposes only. No information offered by or through this blog shall be construed as or understood to be medical advice or care. None of the information on this blog should be used to diagnose or treat any health problem or disease. Consult with a health care provider before taking any product or using any information on this blog. Please discuss any concerns with your health care provider.

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