Manganese and Reproductive Health

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Manganese is an essential element that is necessary for the normal activity of the brain and acts as a catalyst for certain enzymes to work in the body. Though only found in trace amounts in the body, good health is impossible without it. A deficiency of this mineral could lead to several malfunctioning problems within your system which could include poor libido and fertility.

Also called the "brain mineral", manganese is important in the utilization of all mental functions. It aids memory and other brain and nerve faculties keeping it healthy and fit all the time. Manganese supplements can help strengthen the immune system of people diagnosed with depression. It also strengthens tissues, ligaments, and linings in the outside of organs. If the human body is well supplied with manganese, various tissues, cells and nerves become more ductile, tensile, and elastic. This mineral also has the ability to increase our resistance and recuperative ability; and, like iron, aids in oxygen transfer from lungs to cells. It is also thought to be involved in balancing blood sugar levels.

Manganese makes up part of a molecule known as mucopolysaccharides, which are used to form collagen, the strong fibrous connective material that builds tissue, bone, and cartilage. This mesh of collagen is the framework on which calcium, magnesium, and other bone hardening minerals are deposited. This mineral is required to have healthy bones. Women with low bone density, or osteoporosis, have mostly been associated with low level of manganese. Changing their diet to one rich in the cereal may strengthen bones and lower the risk of the bone disorder. Manganese deficiency could also lead a serious case of multiple sclerosis.

Apart from maintaining the health of our nerves and lubrication to the joints, manganese is also needed to make use of protein in the diet and aids the formation of sex hormones. It has a positive effect on the libido by increasing energy levels and the brain's ability to receive and send messages. It also helps the reproductive organs to work properly because of its effect on tissues and nerves. To produce the hormone estrogen, the body depends on manganese. It follows that a deficiency of manganese will significantly reduce fertility in women and hormonal balance in men which greatly affects libido. It can also help reduce menstrual cramps and PMS.

Human diets with too little manganese can lead to slowed blood clotting, skin problems, changes in hair color, lowered cholesterol levels, and other alterations in metabolism. Other symptoms of manganese deficiency may include: Carpal-tunnel Syndrome, deafness, depression, gout, hearing problems, infertility, loss of libido in both sexes, lack of concentration, memory loss or mental confusion, miscarriage or still births, Multiple Sclerosis, nerve problems, poor muscle coordination, PMS, retarded growth rate, ringing in the ears (Tinnitus), stiff tendons, stuttering, and tremors.

Generally, manganese supplements are considered unnecessary as simply maintaining a well-balanced diet rich in magnesium is enough to keep an individual healthy. Spinach, chestnuts, tea, oats, wholegrain cereals, wheatgerm, raisins, pineapple, beans, peas and nuts are all good sources of manganese. You could also get your supply of this mineral from desiccated coconut and brown rice. Certain vitamins like C, B1, E, K and the mineral zinc helps improve the absorption of manganese while too much calcium and phosphorus would interrupt the body's absorption of this mineral. The use of antibiotics, alcohol and taking too much refined foods in your diet could also reduce the amount of manganese stored in the body. Manganese supplements and medication are usually done to people suffering from extreme cases of manganese deficiency as prescribed by their physicians.

Manganese is one of the least toxic minerals and no RDA suggestion has been set. 2-5 mg is considered to be adequate for normal healthy adults. However, doses up to 10mg daily are still considered to be safe because the body simply doesn't absorb the mineral. This is the case of manganese entering our system through digestion, of course.

Digested manganese interacts with the body very differently than inhaled manganese. When manganese is ingested (eaten) the body is much better at regulating the manganese levels and ridding itself of excess manganese. However, when inhaled, the manganese remains in the blood stream long enough that it penetrates the blood-brain barrier and causes brain damage.

Some individuals exposed to very high levels of manganese for long periods of time in their work developed mental and emotional disturbances and slow and clumsy body movements. This combination of symptoms is a disease called "manganism." Workers usually do not develop symptoms of manganism unless they have been exposed to manganese for many months or years. Manganism occurs because too much manganese injures a part of the brain that controls deliberate body movements (i.e., walking, swallowing, and speaking).


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