Sometimes called a “cell protector”, the name manganese comes from the Greek word for magic, because it was thought to have magical properties. Manganese is a metal that occurs widely in plant and animal tissues; it is called a trace element because it is only found in very small quantities in the human body. Our bodies store approximately 20mg of manganese, mostly in the bones.

Manganese is necessary for bone growth, reproduction, skin, ligament formation, blood clotting, wound healing, peak brain function and the proper metabolism of cholesterol, sugars and insulin. It is also an enzyme activator and is said to help in the utilization of vitamin B1. An important antioxidant, manganese is one of the minerals required to form SOD (superoxide dismutase), one of the “bodyguard” enzymes that protects against unstable, cell-damaging free radicals. Trace Elements[/glossary], Micronutrients and Free Radicals, 1992, pp.107-27]

Although no US RDA has been established for manganese, the National Research Council has estimated that a safe and adequate daily dietary intake of manganese for adults should range from 2 to 5mg per day. Although many people consume less than this, obvious deficiencies are uncommon.

Manganese is poorly absorbed orally and so should be given long term and/or by injection when indicated. While only 5mg is needed per day, the patient may need as much as 300mg of manganese in the gluconate form to attain the normal blood level of 15ppb.

Manganese sulfate is the most commonly used form, but it is also the most poorly absorbed.. The more bioavailable forms of manganese include citrate, gluconate, ascorbate, or other amino acid chelates, but will cost more than the sulfate form. Other poorly absorbed forms of manganese include manganese oxide and manganese chloride.

Dosing for manganese from organic chelate forms such as ascorbate, gluconate, aspartate, citrate, picolinate, or other amino acid chelates should range from 5 to 50mg per day, with 10 to 25mg being more than adequate. Dosing for manganese sulfate, the most common form, along with manganese oxide and manganese chloride, can range from 50 to over 100mg per day.

Taking iron, magnesium or calcium supplements can inhibit absorption of manganese even if there is enough present in your diet.


Manganese can help with the following



Myasthenia Gravis

Manganese deficiency has been linked to myasthenia gravis. Manganese activates several enzyme systems and supports the utilization of vitamin C, E, choline, and other B-vitamins. Inadequate choline utilization reduces acetylcholine synthesis, contributing to conditions such as myasthenia gravis. Please also see the link between MG and Vitamin E.

Grass juices from mineral-rich soil are high in manganese.

Removal of the thymus gland is widely practiced as long-term therapy for MG. Most patients improve for a period and some may continue improving, while others soon deteriorate again. There was an old report suggesting the complete failure of nutritional and manganese therapy in MG patients who had their thymus removed. [E. M. Josephson, Thymus, Manganese, and Myasthenia Gravis 1961]

Environment / Toxicity  

Copper Toxicity

Vitamin C, zinc and manganese all interfere with copper absorption.



Histapenia (Histamine Low)

Copper levels are usually elevated in patients with histapenia. Manganese and zinc supplementation increase copper excretion.



Lab Values  



Hemochromatosis (Iron overload)

Manganese can protect against the free radical damage from excess iron. [Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 1992; 13: pp.115-20]




Manganese is poorly absorbed, so the oral administration of large doses of manganese gluconate daily for a long period of time may be required. Manganese levels can be tested for in red blood cells. Daily doses of 50mg or more may be required over a long period to bring these levels to within the normal range.




Rheumatoid Arthritis

Manganese functions in the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (manganese SOD), which is deficient in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Manganese supplementation has been shown to increase SOD activity, indicating increased antioxidant activity. A good dosage for a manganese supplementation is 5 to 15mg per day.



Osteoporosis / Risk

Manganese and other trace elements are necessary for bone health. Therefore, some experts feel that an adequate intake of manganese and these other nutrients may play a role in preserving bone density and preventing osteoporosis.

Nervous System  

Tardive Dyskinesia

See the link between Tardive Dyskinesia and Melatonin.



May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
Reasonably likely to cause problems
Avoid absolutely



An essential mineral found in trace amounts in tissues of the body. Adults normally contain an average of 10 to 20mg of manganese in their bodies, most of which is contained in bone, the liver and the kidneys. Manganese is essential to several critical enzymes necessary for energy production, bone and blood formation, nerve function and protein metabolism. It is involved in the metabolism of fats and glucose, the production of cholesterol and it allows the body to use thiamine and Vitamin E. It is also involved in the building and degrading of proteins and nucleic acid, biogenic amine metabolism, which involves the transmitting of nerve impulses.

Trace Element

Essential mineral that is essential to nutrition. Nutritionists prefer to call minerals either minerals or trace minerals depending on the amount needed by the body, while analytical chemists prefer to call minerals, trace elements.


(mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.


The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.


A waxy, fat-like substance manufactured in the liver and found in all tissues, it facilitates the transport and absorption of fatty acids. In foods, only animal products contain cholesterol. An excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.


A hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to elevated blood glucose levels. Insulin stimulates the liver, muscles, and fat cells to remove glucose from the blood for use or storage.


Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.


(Vitamin B-1): A B-complex vitamin that acts as a coenzyme necessary for the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose, which is burned in the body for energy. It is essential for the functioning of the nervous system.


A chemical compound that slows or prevents oxygen from reacting with other compounds. Some antioxidants have been shown to have cancer-protecting potential because they neutralize free radicals. Examples include vitamins C and E, alpha lipoic acid, beta carotene, the minerals selenium, zinc, and germanium, superoxide dismutase (SOD), coenzyme Q10, catalase, and some amino acids, like cystiene. Other nutrient sources include grape seed extract, curcumin, gingko, green tea, olive leaf, policosanol and pycnogenol.


Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures.


Superoxide Dismutase. An antioxidant enzyme which helps protect cells from free-radical damage.

Free Radical

A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron. Because another element can easily pick up this free electron and cause a chemical reaction, these free radicals can effect dramatic and destructive changes in the body. Free radicals are activated in heated and rancid oils and by radiation in the atmosphere, among other things.


Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins or other nutrients as determined by the FDA. U.S. RDAs are more widely used than RDAs, and focus on 3 age groups: Infants of 0-12 months; Children of 1-4 years; Adults and children of more than 4 years.


Parts Per Billion. A measure of the concentration of a substance, usually in air or water.


A mineral salt of ascorbic acid (i.e., vitamin C) that aids in the absorption of both vitamin C and the mineral.

Amino Acid

An organic acid containing nitrogen chemical building blocks that aid in the production of protein in the body. Eight of the twenty-two known amino acids are considered "essential," and must be obtained from dietary sources because the body can not synthesize them.


An essential mineral. Prevents anemia: as a constituent of hemoglobin, transports oxygen throughout the body. Virtually all of the oxygen used by cells in the life process are brought to the cells by the hemoglobin of red blood cells. Iron is a small but most vital, component of the hemoglobin in 20,000 billion red blood cells, of which 115 million are formed every minute. Heme iron (from meat) is absorbed 10 times more readily than the ferrous or ferric form.


An essential mineral. The chief function of magnesium is to activate certain enzymes, especially those related to carbohydrate metabolism. Another role is to maintain the electrical potential across nerve and muscle membranes. It is essential for proper heartbeat and nerve transmission. Magnesium controls many cellular functions. It is involved in protein formation, DNA production and function and in the storage and release of energy in ATP. Magnesium is closely related to calcium and phosphorus in body function. The average adult body contains approximately one ounce of magnesium. It is the fifth mineral in abundance within the body--behind calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Although about 70 percent of the body's magnesium is contained in the teeth and bones, its most important functions are carried out by the remainder which is present in the cells of the soft tissues and in the fluid surrounding those cells.


The body's most abundant mineral. Its primary function is to help build and maintain bones and teeth. Calcium is also important to heart health, nerves, muscles and skin. Calcium helps control blood acid-alkaline balance, plays a role in cell division, muscle growth and iron utilization, activates certain enzymes, and helps transport nutrients through cell membranes. Calcium also forms a cellular cement called ground substance that helps hold cells and tissues together.

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