What Causes Deficiency Of Manganese? Symptoms And Treatment

Manganese is a trace mineral which has a very vital role to play in various biological processes in the body. It is required in very small amounts, but is very essential to life. Low levels of the mineral in the body can cause a host of health complications.

Our body contains 15 – 20 mg of manganese, and is chiefly found in the liver, bones, kidney, pancreas, adrenal and pituitary.

Manganese helps form the connective tissue, blood clotting factors and sex hormones. It functions as a co-factor to anti-oxidants and is necessary for the metabolism of fat, carbohydrates, amino acids and cholesterol. It plays a pivotal role in the absorption of calcium, controlling blood sugar, maintaining bone health, and sustaining brain and nerve function.

The daily requirement of manganese varies based upon age and sex. Teenage boys need 2.2 mg and teenage girls need 1.6 mg of manganese each day. Women need 1.8 mg and men need 2.3 mg of manganese per day. During pregnancy, women need 2.0 mg and 2.6 mg of manganese during lactation.

A true deficiency of this mineral is rather rare. An insufficiency develops only if manganese is eliminated from the diet altogether. The commonest cause is an inadequate dietary intake.

Symptoms Of Deficiency Of Manganese

  • Manganese has a part to play in the various biochemical processes and a deficiency can therefore, harmfully affect all the systems in the body.
  • An insufficiency of manganese causes impaired glucose tolerance, an alteration in carbohydrate and fat metabolism, bone demineralization and anomalies, stunted growth, skin rash, reduced cholesterol, skin rash and elevated blood calcium.
  • Manganese deficiency can also result in seizures, infertility, exhaustion, nausea and vomiting, hearing loss, giddiness, iron-deficiency anemia, weak hair and nails blindness or paralysis in infants.

What Are The Causes Of Manganese Deficiency?

Causes for manganese include –

  • The chief cause is an insufficient dietary intake of the mineral.
  • Malabsorption, an intake of too much antacid or oral contraceptives which are known to get in the way of its absorption are significant causes.
  • Undue sweating causes a loss of huge amounts of manganese as well.
  • An excess of copper, iron or magnesium can eat up manganese levels.
  • Chronic diseases of the liver or gallbladder trigger a deficiency which increases the daily requirement of manganese.
  • Foods which contain phytic acid, such as – seeds, nuts, legumes, whole grains and soy; foods which are high in oxalic acid – such as sweet potatoes and cabbage, are known to affect the absorption of manganese. While tea is a good source of manganese, the tannins present in tea decrease its absorption to some extent. Furthermore, taking certain supplements – iron, phosphorus, and calcium has been found to reduce the body’s capacity to preserve manganese.

Treatment Of Manganese Deficiency

  • Step up your intake of foods that are loaded with manganese. Foods that are rich in manganese include – grapes, pineapple, kiwi and berries, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, beet root, celery, and carrots, nuts and seeds, legumes, egg yolks, whole grains, herbs and spices, molasses and tea.
  • Iron, calcium and zinc supplements reduce the absorption of manganese. So, talk to your health care provider and understand whether these supplements could be the cause.