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What does manganese do?
Manganese is an essential trace mineral needed for healthy skin, bone, and cartilage formation, as well as glucose tolerance. It also helps activate superoxide dismutase (SOD)—an important antioxidant enzyme.

Where is manganese found?
Nuts and seeds, wheat germ, wheat bran, leafy green vegetables, beet tops, tea, and pineapple are all good sources of manganese.

Manganese has been used in connection with the following conditions
(refer to the individual health concern for complete information):

Health Concerns

Tardive dyskinesia


Osgood-Schlatter disease
Sprains and strains

        Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
        Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
        For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.


Who is likely to be deficient of manganese?
Many people consume less than the 2–5 mg of manganese currently considered safe and adequate. Nonetheless, clear deficiencies are rare. People with osteoporosis sometimes have low blood levels of manganese, suggestive of deficiency.1

How much manganese is usually taken?
Whether most people would benefit from manganese supplementation remains unclear. While there is no recommended dietary allowance, the National Research Council’s “estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intake” is 2–5 mg.2 The Institute of Medicine recommends that intake of manganese from food, water and dietary supplements should not exceed the tolerable daily upper limit of 11 mg per day. In contrast, the 5–15 mg often found in high-potency multivitamin-mineral supplements is generally considered to be a reasonable level by many doctors, though many manufacturers are likely to reformulate their products to contain no more than 11 mg per daily amount.

Are there any side effects or interactions with manganese?
Amounts found in supplements (5–20 mg) have not been linked with any toxicity. Excessive intake of manganese rarely lead to psychiatric symptoms. However, most reports of manganese toxicity in otherwise healthy people have been in those people who chronically inhaled manganese dust at their jobs e.g., miners or alloy plant workers. Other sources of manganese intoxication are now recognized, including total parenteral nutrition (TPN) in patients who are being fed intravenously3 4 5 and pesticides containing manganese in agricultural workers who have been exposed.6

Preliminary research suggests that people with cirrhosis7 or cholestasis (blocked bile flow from the gall bladder)8 may not be able to properly excrete manganese. Until more is known, these people should not supplement manganese. Manganese supplementation (3–5 mg per day) has caused severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in a person with insulin-dependent diabetes.9 People with diabetes who want to take manganese should consult their doctor.

Several minerals, such as calcium and iron, and possibly zinc, reduce the absorption of manganese.10 Of these interactions, the link to iron may be the most important. In one study, women with high iron status had relatively poor absorption of manganese.11 In another report of manganese/iron interactions in women, increased intake of “non-heme iron”—the kind of iron found in most supplements—decreased manganese status.12 These interactions suggest that taking multi-minerals that include manganese may protect against manganese deficiencies that might otherwise be triggered by taking isolated mineral supplements, particularly iron.

Are there any drug interactions?
Certain medicines may interact with manganese. Refer to drug interactions for a list of those medicines.