It’s essential for our body’s best health, but so rarely spoken about. Discover more about manganese, the key trace mineral.

What is manganese?

This trace mineral is essential for the normal functioning of our nervous system, brain and many of the body’s enzyme systems, and it also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation. It’s vital for cholesterol processing, too. All essential for a happy, functioning body. Researchers also believe it may contribute to good thyroid health.

How can I incorporate it into my diet?

While the body naturally contains a level of manganese, there are a variety of foods to give you a boost. Seeds and wholegrains are particularly good sources. Legumes, leafy green vegetables, nuts, beans and black tea are also good for topping up levels. Your daily cuppa just became a must-have!

Can it help with bone health?

Researchers believe manganese plays a part in the formation of strong bones. When it’s combined with calcium, zinc and copper, manganese can support bone mineral density, which is particularly important as we age. Studies have shown that around 50% of post-menopausal women will suffer from an osteoporosis-related bone break, so anything we can do to reduce those odds are well worth considering.

What are the other benefits?

From protecting the brain against free radicals thanks to its powerful antioxidant properties, to helping reduce inflammation (particularly when in combination with glucosamine and chondroitin, both said to help reduce osteoarthritis pain), manganese is a must for optimum health.

How much should I aim for per day?

Manganese is needed only in small doses to do its work best. Going overboard won’t increase the benefits. It’s been advises to aim for up to 11mg per day. Remember, like copper, selenium and iron, it’s considered a heavy metal, so taking too much can be dangerous.

If in doubt, consult with your GP before making changes or incorporating new supplements into your diet.