Diary of Unknown Symptoms

Mystery of the Internal Vibration

Entry for July 11, 2007

A Trace of Manganese is Crucial for Health

When credit is given for strong bones and teeth, one important nutrient usually is conspicuous by its absence: the trace mineral manganese.

What an omission! While calcium takes the bows, manganese, in its quiet way, helps calcium perform. A deficiency of manganese — as with calcium — can cause porous bones, bow legs, poorly developed cartilage, faulty muscle coordination and poor transmission of messages by the nervous system.

Muscles take commands from messages transmitted at almost the speed of lightning through bundles of tiny nerve fibers called neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters take care of our second-to-second activities even when we are not conscious of them, activities such as typing on the word processor, cooking breakfast, reading or figuring the income tax.

The brain area of controlling such functions must have a good supply of manganese. It if doesn’t, the brain and nerves can’t send decisive signals to muscles, which then perform poorly. Usually, the entire body contains less than 50 milligrams (mg) of manganese, but it is a very necessary 50 mg.

You and I could not keep our balance without manganese, because deficiencies of this trace mineral cause inner ear problems. A manganese-deficient infant is often unable to stand steadily or walk until three or four years of age.

Manganese is a versatile mineral. It promotes healthy sex organs and normal sexual function, works with vitamin C to rid the body of poisons and, as part of the superoxide dismutase enzyme system, protects against cell damage and aging caused by free radicals. Manganese also guards against cancer and helps regulate blood sugar and prevent diabetes by promoting the production of insulin; and helps convert blood fats for use by the body rather than permitting them to narrow or block arteries.

Manganese works with a wide variety of nutrients to keep you healthy. Vitamin C would offer only limited service in battling infections and poisons without manganese as a catalyst. Manganese also protects us from ammonia that develops in our cells as part of the energy-heat production process when protein is broken down. Ammonia is such a powerful poison that a thousandth of a milligram in a quart of blood can kill a person.

Free radical damage can be minimized with the help of manganese. Free radicals are molecules with an unpaired or odd electron. They originate from chemicals in food, water and air, from radiation and from oxidation of cells.

The superoxide-dismutase enzyme system is essential in the fight against free radicals. Without manganese, this system cannot protect against free radicals and cell damage. Manganese helps guard us from cancer as part of this system, and by warding off the ill effects of pollutants in food, water, air and the environment.

Manganese also helps prevent cancer by synthesizing RNA. During manganese deficiencies, cells are improperly made, which, according to some authorities, can open the door to cancer.

Sometimes a manganese deficiency can cause diabetes. A study of 122 diabetics of all ages revealed that they had low levels of manganese. The control group of test subjects who had no blood sugar problems had manganese levels twice as high. When the diabetics received sufficient manganese over a period of time, their condition improved.

In addition to regulating blood sugar, manganese makes possible the proper use of blood fats, a function which prevents heart and artery ailments. Manganese helps to metabolize fats so that they can be properly used to make cell walls and protect nerve sheaths. When this mineral is deficient, fats make the rounds of the circulatory system, collecting in increasingly larger particles that adhere to arteries.

The best food sources of manganese are nuts, whole grains, seeds and fresh vegetables. Buckwheat, oats and wheat are cereals high in manganese. Hazelnuts, chestnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts and almonds rate highest among nuts. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are manganese-rich as are watercress, peas, beans and turnip greens.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for manganese is 7 mg. An estimated nine percent of the manganese in the above foods is absorbed.

Manganese does a lot to keep us healthy, even though it gets little credit. It’s about time we start singing praises for this unsung hero.

July 11, 2007 - Posted by | Health |

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