Manganese Requirements and Dietary Sources

Walnuts
Walnuts are a good source of manganese. Angela Seiffert

Dietary manganese is a trace mineral found in tiny amounts in the human body, mostly in the bones, liver, pancreas and kidneys. It's necessary for the production of several enzymes and antioxidants that fight free radical damage so getting enough dietary manganese may help prevent cellular damage. Manganese is also necessary for healthy nervous system and brain function.

The Health and Medicine Division of National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determines the dietary reference intakes (DRIs) for vitamins and minerals.

The DRIs are based on the nutritional needs of the average healthy person. The DRIs for manganese are based on age and sex. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need just a little more.

Dietary manganese is found primarily in nuts, seeds, legumes like lentils and dry beans, whole grains such as wheat and oats, and pineapples. A regular diet should provide enough manganese for the average person.

Dietary Reference Intakes

Females
1 to 3 years: 1.2 milligrams per day
4 to 8 years: 1.5 milligrams per day
9 to 18 years: 1.6 milligrams per day
19+ years: 1.8 milligrams per day
Women who are pregnant: 2.0 micrograms per day
Women who are breastfeeding: 2.6 micrograms per day

Males
1 to 3 years: 1.2 milligrams per day
4 to 8 years: 1.5 milligrams per day
9 to 13 years: 1.9 milligrams per day
14 to 18 years: 2.2 milligrams per day
19+ years: 2.3 milligrams per day

Manganese deficiency is associated with infertility, bone problems, and seizures, but deficiency appears to be extremely rare -- there's usually no need for supplemental manganese.

There is some evidence that manganese supplements may be beneficial for patients with arthritis, osteoporosis, or diabetes. Women with premenstrual syndrome may have depressed blood levels of magnesium.

Although manganese supplements don't appear to be toxic, the Health and Medicine Division of National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says the tolerable upper limit (UL) for manganese is 11 milligrams per day for adults, and about 9 milligrams per day for young teens.

The UL is the highest daily amount that's thought to be safe. It's possible that taking more than 11 milligrams per day could lead to cognitive problems.

If you're thinking about taking manganese supplements, please speak to your healthcare provider first if you have any health problems. And don't take more than the dosage recommended on the product label.

Sources:

Health and Medicine Division of National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. "Dietary Reference Intakes Tables and Application." Accessed April 10, 2016. http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/activities/nutrition/summarydris/dri-tables.aspx.

University of Maryland Medical School. "Manganese." Accessed April 10, 2016. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/manganese-000314.htm.

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