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Manganese is an essential trace nutrient in all forms of life. The human body contains about 12 mg of manganese.
In the human body, manganese functions as an enzyme activator and as a component of metalloenzymes (enzymes that contain a metal ion in their structure).
It is a catalyst in the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol, and in the metabolism of protein and carbohydrate.
Manganese helps maintain reproductive health, bone formation, thyroid hormone production, health of nervous system, and mitochondrial function.
Foods rich in manganese include whole grains (including buckwheat, bulgur wheat, oats), nuts, and seeds, wheat germ, pineapples and legumes.
Please note that refined grains only provide half the amount of manganese found in whole grains.
A manganese intake of 2 mg/day seems sufficient to prevent deficiency in most individuals. Here is a list of foods having the highest content of manganese.
Low levels of manganese in the body can contribute to infertility, bone malformation, weakness, and seizures.
Many Americans do not get the recommended dietary intake of manganese in their diet, which tends to contain more refined grains than whole grains.
Too much manganese in the diet can lead to high levels of manganese in the body tissues, especially in the brain.
This may lead to neurological problems. In the young a poor development of the nervous system with impaired cognitive performance, and hyperactive and oppositional behaviour can occur.
The elderly may develop neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis more frequently.
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