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Veterinarian Reviewed on June 10, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
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Manganese is easily described as a silver-gray metal that closely resembles iron but much more brittle. Manganese is the 12th most abundant mineral on the planet, making up 0.1% of the Earth’s crust. Some forms of Manganese have magnetic properties and gives color to the mineral Rhodochrosite.

Origin of Manganese

Manganese is customarily used in making stainless steel to protect against rust and alloys in many metals. Depending on the oxidation state of Manganese, its ions have specific colors and are therefore used as pigments. Some of the earliest cave paintings used oxides of Manganese for the color. In small amounts, it is used to decolorize glass (particularly green tints); in larger amounts it will make violet colored glass.

Ancient Uses of Manganese

Lupines, which are rather high in Manganese, were prescribed for ‘devil sickness,’ which is known commonly today as epilepsy.

Modern Uses of Manganese

First recognized as a vital nutrient in 1931, Manganese is necessary to the formation and maintenance, of bone and for the processing of cholesterol, protein and carbohydrates. Manganese is also an aid in the breakdown of fats and is essential to the proper functioning of the digestive tract. It is a powerful anti-oxidant, binding to free radicals within the body and preventing cellular damage, especially in the mitochondria where the formation of ATP (a chemical energy source) causes the formation of ‘super radicals’ and Manganese helps break them back down to hydrogen peroxide, where other processes then turn it back to water and oxygen. It is a strong disinfectant as well as helping to prevent infections. Manganese is also an enzyme activator and so plays a part in many bodily functions; and is vital to proper brain function. Insufficient Manganese can lead to high blood pressure, bone malformation, high cholesterol, heart ailments, poor eyesight, severe memory loss, hearing trouble, shivers and tremors, sweating, weakness and severe cramps, and fast heartbeats; slows wound healing due to decreased collagen production. In addition, severe deficiency might cause infertility in women, osteoporosis, and pancreas damage. It has also been implicated in cases of epilepsy with non-trauma induced origins.

There is evidence that proper amounts of Manganese can help with symptoms of schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, diabetes and epilepsy. It helps ameliorate the effects of PMS, and is an aid in reducing inflammation in sprains and strains. It reduces symptoms of osteoarthritis and increases the density of spinal bone.

Side Effects of Manganese

Overdose of Manganese causes Parkinson’s like symptoms including tremors, facial spasms and difficulty walking. It can take months or even years for such symptoms to actually occur. Other evidence of overdose can include impotency in men and inflammatory response in the lungs. One of the most common forms of Manganese poisoning arises from inhaling the dust while working with it in industrial applications. Extreme poisoning causes ‘Manganese madness’ hallucinations, violent acts, and irritability. Because of its efficacy with reducing the symptoms of Arthritis, those taking such medications need to be aware so as not to ingest too much Manganese from other sources.

Read also: Copper

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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