What is a Manganese Deficiency?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2018
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Manganese is a trace mineral that helps promote the proper function of the pituitary gland as well as aiding in the proper absorption of carbohydrates and protein. While only a small amount of the mineral is required in order to maintain a healthy balance, its absence can have severe repercussions. Cuts won't heal as well, a woman's menstrual cycle may become irregular, and it can cause memory and mood changes.

One of the more noticeable manganese deficiency symptoms has to do with the proper healing of wounds such as cuts and scratches. Since the mineral aids in the creation of collagen, the deficiency will make it more difficult for the natural healing process to take place. While a relatively small problem when dealing with a surface cut or scratch, a person who is deficient may find that healing from invasive surgery is much more difficult that it would be if manganese levels were within a normal range.

Women may experience problems with their menstrual cycles as well. Menstruation may become erratic in both timing and in severity. A manganese deficiency may also cause problems for new mothers as well, since the mineral is important to proper lactation.


In addition to physical signs of a deficiency, there are also mental and emotional signs that indicate a lack of manganese in the body. Memory may be negatively affected, and the person may have an increasing feeling of constant irritation. A sense of apathy may also develop, preventing the individual from finding any pleasure in activities that are usually quite enjoyable. The individual is likely to appear constantly tired, uninterested in social activities, and somewhat withdrawn.

There are a number of situations that can lead to a manganese deficiency. Excess consumption of iron and calcium can deplete the mineral within a relatively short period of time, and too much phosphorus will have the same effect. Poor diet can also lead to deficiencies.

Fortunately, the process for correcting a deficiency of this type is relatively simple. Adding more green leafy vegetables to the daily diet will often relieve the symptoms and eliminate the imbalance. Apricots, nuts, avocados, and kidney beans are also excellent sources of the mineral. Barley and the yolks of raw eggs can aid in dealing with a deficiency of this type as well. Herbs such as ginger, chickweed, and bilberry will also have a positive effect.


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Post 3

That's not accurate, dfoster. It clearly increases absorption. Check out the paper, "A diet high in meat protein and potential renal acid load increases fractional calcium absorption and urinary calcium excretion without affecting markers of bone resorption or formation in postmenopausal women." in pubmed.

Post 2

@SailorJerry - For one thing, I think you probably have to have *very* high levels of calcium for it to really keep you from getting enough manganese. Remember, this is trace mineral; a little goes a long way. Load up on it and you'll wind up with manganese toxicity!

Also keep in mind that the USDA recommended level of calcium assume that you eat a whole lot of animal protein (their website admits this straight out). Animal protein inhibits the absorption of calcium - ironic, since the the message is always to get your calcium from animal-protein-laden dairy products!

So if you do not eat as many animal products as the average American, you don't need as much calcium. You could try, for instance, putting almond milk on your cereal instead of dairy milk. It has more calcium and won't load you up on animal protein.

Post 1

Apparently, some nutritionists think that having enough manganese can have a whole lot of health benefits, from easing arthritis symptoms to preventing Parkinson's!

Now, I've heard before that too much iron in your diet can be a problem. Donating blood regularly is one nice solution. They will check your iron levels for you (if they're low, they won't take your blood) and the act of donating will lower your iron levels. And you save lives!

But what about calcium? I've read that there are benefits to taking calcium supplements (it's one of the few supplements that's shown to have a benefit) but I didn't realize that it could interfere with manganese absorption. What's a person to do?

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