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What are Manganese Supplements?

By Henry Gaudet
Updated May 17, 2024
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Manganese supplements are taken to augment the levels of manganese taken in through dietary sources, either to promote general good health or to address any of a number of specific conditions or health concerns. Readily available over the counter, manganese supplements can be purchased either as standalone supplements or as multivitamins. They most often are taken orally as tablets or capsules, but injectable forms of manganese supplements also are available and may be taken with the assistance of a medical professional.

Although manganese is present in many foods and deficiency is very uncommon, many people take manganese supplements to boost these levels. Some take manganese supplements in an attempt to increase energy, to reduce weight or to stimulate antioxidant activity. Supplements also have been recommended to treat a vast array of conditions, including baldness, confusion, dermatitis, arthritis and osteoporosis, although no medical evidence supports any of these proposed treatments.

Normally present in the body at trace levels, manganese is an important mineral for good health. Approximately 20 milligrams (mg) of manganese usually is present in the human body, with the highest concentrations found in the pancreas, liver, kidneys and bones. It plays a role in metabolism and has an effect on blood sugar levels and the body’s use of fats and carbohydrates. Manganese also affects the growth and formation of bone and connective tissue as well as the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Other processes dependent on manganese include disease resistance, thyroid function and recovery from muscular injuries.

Food sources for manganese include cereals, whole grains, dry fruit, peas, dry beans and leafy green vegetables. Only trace levels of the mineral are required for good health, so there is no Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Health professionals generally agree that 2 to 5 mg is sufficient for most adults.

No cases of manganese deficiency have been reported in humans, though some speculate that mineral levels might contribute to a number of medical conditions. Effects of manganese deficiency have been observed in some animals, though, and symptoms include impaired or improper growth, improper skeletal formation, reduced tolerance to glucose, reproductive dysfunction, muscle disorders and an impaired ability to metabolize carbohydrates. Mineral deficient animals also were observed to be more susceptible to epilepsy and diabetes.

At higher dosages, toxicity becomes a concern. Although dangerous levels are most often inhaled as a dust, most experts agree that manganese supplements should not be taken in excess of 11 mg daily. Over time, excessive levels of the mineral potentially could result in a condition similar to Parkinson’s disease.

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Discussion Comments
By donasmrs — On Aug 14, 2014

@Heavanet-- I completely agree. I think that it's a bad idea for anyone to take manganese unless it is confirmed that they are deficient in it and a doctor recommends it. Too much manganese is toxic for the body and anyone with a decent diet gets enough manganese from food.

Some people claim to have treated certain conditions with manganese supplements but I think it's very dangerous for others to try to get the same results using these supplements. It's better to add more foods rich in manganese to the diet than to use supplements. Many studies also show that the vitamins and minerals in real food are better absorbed by the body.

By ysmina — On Aug 13, 2014

@literally45-- If you are not getting enough of other minerals as well, like zinc, selenium and chromium, then you will probably be better off taking a multi-mineral supplement. Just make sure that it has enough manganese in it. The recommended dose is 10mg/day. Some people take more, but this is the daily recommended dose for adults, so more is not necessary.

What you should really be checking is whether the manganese is chelated or unchelated. Chelated is supposed to be much better and this is what most people take.

I've not experienced side effects from manganese supplements but everyone is a little different. You should ask your doctor before starting them. Overall though, manganese is a very beneficial mineral that helps with so many things. Bone strength is one of its primary benefits and that's why I take this supplement.

By literally45 — On Aug 12, 2014

I've noticed that there are manganese only supplements and supplements that have a variety of minerals including manganese. Is one type better than the other?

Also, do manganese supplements have side effects? I used to take a magnesium supplement some time ago and had to quit because of the side effects. I'm hoping that the same won't happen with manganese supplements.

By Spotiche5 — On Aug 05, 2014

The best advice I can give to anyone who needs to take a manganese supplement is to take the capsule form instead of the pill form. The pills have a very good taste in my opinion, and this can be avoided by swallowing a capsule instead.

By Heavanet — On Aug 04, 2014

I think that it is best to try to get enough manganese from the foods you eat rather than taking a manganese supplement. This article provides good information about the best foods to eat to get this important nutrient.

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