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Manganese: The Forgotten Mineral with Surprising Health Benefits

Table of Contents

Manganese is an essential trace mineral that plays a vital role in many biological processes in the human body. It is required for the proper functioning of enzymes involved in energy metabolism, bone formation, and antioxidant defense mechanisms. Manganese is also important for maintaining healthy brain function and may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and arthritis.

Brief History and Discovery

Manganese was first isolated in 1774 by a Swedish chemist named Johan Gahn. It was named after the Greek word "manganes," which means "magic," due to its ability to form various compounds with different colors. Since its discovery, manganese has been extensively studied for its biological functions and potential health benefits.

Sources

Manganese can be found in a variety of foods, including whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, leafy green vegetables, and fruits. It is also present in some animal-based foods, such as shellfish, fish, and poultry. The amount of manganese in these foods depends on the soil and water quality where they are grown, as well as the processing methods used.

Functions in the Body

Manganese is involved in many essential processes in the human body. It plays a crucial role in energy metabolism, helping to convert carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into usable energy. Manganese is also important for bone formation and maintenance, as it is required for the synthesis of collagen, a protein that makes up the bone matrix. Additionally, manganese acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. It is also involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which are important for maintaining healthy brain function.

Recommended Daily Intake

The recommended daily intake of manganese varies depending on age, gender, and health status. For adults, the recommended daily intake is 2.3 to 2.6 mg/day for men and 1.8 to 2.3 mg/day for women. Pregnant and lactating women may require higher amounts of manganese, up to 2.6 to 2.8 mg/day. It is important to note that excessive intake of manganese can be toxic and may cause neurological symptoms, such as tremors and speech difficulties.

Recap and Conclusion

In conclusion, manganese is an essential trace mineral that plays a vital role in many biological processes in the human body. It is important for energy metabolism, bone formation, antioxidant defense mechanisms, and brain function. Manganese can be found in a variety of foods, including whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, leafy green vegetables, and fruits. The recommended daily intake of manganese varies depending on age, gender, and health status. To ensure optimal health, it is important to include manganese-rich foods in your diet and follow the recommended daily intake guidelines.

Caroline Buckee

Caroline Flannigan is an epidemiologist. She is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and is the Associate Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics.

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