Manganese – What Is It?
Researchers discovered that experimental animals fed a diet deficient in manganese demonstrated poor growth and impaired reproduction. It is found widely in nature, but occurs only in trace amounts in human tissues. The human body contains a total of 15-20 milligrams of manganese, most of which is located in the bones, with the remainder found in the kidneys, liver, pancreas, pituitary glands, and adrenal glands.
In the human body, it functions as an enzyme activator and as a component of metalloenzymes (an enzyme that contains a metal ion in its structure).
Manganese Health Benefits
Manganese And Good HDL, Epilepsy And Diabeties
In humans consuming a manganese-deficient diet, numerous metabolic imbalances and abnormalities occur such bone changes and a reduction of nail and hair growth, as well as a decrease in HDL cholesterol levels-the “good” cholesterol.
Low levels are also linked to epilepsy. In studies done in the 1960s, rats consuming a deficient diet exhibited epileptic-like brain wave tracings and were more prone to seizures. In humans, epileptics often test low in blood and hair levels of manganese.
Manganese is an important cofactor in many key enzyme systems, namely those involved with glucose metabolism. In deficient guinea pigs, many of the animals develop diabetes and furthermore, their offspring suffer extreme pancreatic disorders-or are born without a pancreas. In humans, diabetics have roughly one half the amount of manganese compared to normal individuals. In fact, it is sometimes prescribed to diabetics who are not responding as they should to insulin therapy.
It activates the enzymes responsible for the utilization of several key nutrients including biotin, thiamin, ascorbic acid, and choline. It is a catalyst in the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol, facilitates protein and carbohydrate metabolism, and may also participate in the production of sex hormones and maintaining reproductive health.
In addition, it activates the enzymes known as glycolsyltranserferases and xylosyltransferases, which are important in the formation of bone. It has also been theorized that it is involved in the production of the thyroid hormone known as thyroxine and in maintaining the health of nerve tissue.
A component of metalloenzymes
Manganese has additional functions as a constituent of the following metalloenzymes:
* Arginase, the enzyme in the liver responsible for creating urea, a component of urine
* Glutamine synthetase, an enzyme involved in the synthesis of glutamine
* Phosphoenolpyruvate decarboxylase, an enzyme that participates in the metabolism of blood sugar
* Manganese-dependent superoxide dismutase, an enzyme with antioxidant activity that protects tissues from the damaging effects of free radicals.This enzyme is found exclusively inside the body’s mitochondria (oxygen-based energy factories inside most of our cells).
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