How to Detect a Manganese Deficiency and Overcome It

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

Manganese is one of the lesser known dietary minerals, however it is necessary nonetheless! Manganese is an important mineral for our bodies. so by just consuming a small amount of manganese in our foods each day you will be promoting healthy bones, a healthy hair, liver, skin, hair and nails too. Low levels of manganese in the body can be responsible for many different health issues and conditions such as seizures, weak bones and even hearing loss in more extreme (but also rarer) cases.

The human body usually contains around 20 mg of manganese, found concentrated in mainly our kidneys, liver, bones and pancreas. As far as evidence has shown this mineral is vital for life and therefore is important to keep in our diets by the foods we choose to eat.

If you think you are lacking manganese in your diet then it may be wise to read on to discover the many symptoms that could be appearing as a result, and the foods you can consume to treat them. So, without further ado here are…

The symptoms of a manganese deficiency.

Poor overall body functioning.

Manganese helps the body to form connective tissues, bones, help the blood to clot and create sex hormones. Therefore manganese is very important for the overall functioning of the body and should be consumed regularly for best results.

Poor bone formation and weakening.

Animals studies have been able to show us that lower levels of manganese intakes are linked to poor bone formation, therefore the mineral can be said to have a direct link in the growth of our bones.

Altered metabolism.

Lower intake of this mineral can slow down your metabolism greatly, affecting the speed of which fats and carbohydrates are processes. Therefore by receiving the correct amount of manganese each day, you are allowing your metabolism to run at the best possible speed it can.


In some cases, manganese deficiency has been linked to infertility. Women with fertility problems are advised to take various minerals and nutrients such as vitamin C, iodine, vitamin A, zinc, vitamin E and manganese too.


Seizures may occur in those who are truly deficient in manganese. However, to be truly deficient in this mineral you would have to completely eradicate most, if not all, foods containing it.

Iron-deficiency anemia.

Manganese deficient could trigger other problems such as iron-deficiency anemia and make the individual weak, lethargic and pale also.

Weak hair, skin and nails.

Low levels of this mineral also can result in the poor health

Low levels of this mineral also can result in the poor health of your nails, hair and skin. Hair may become weakened and be more prone to split ends, nails may be thinner and break easier and skin may become less elasticated and dryer in some places.

Nausea and vomiting.

It may be likely that low levels of manganese may cause your body to begin feeling ill and then lead to actual throwing up. If you begin to be feel nauseous and believe this may be because of a manganese deficiency, we recommend you eat some foods that are rich in the mineral to avoid the situation progressing any further. After all, it’s never nice to be sick!

Hearing loss.

Some individuals have reported hearing loss when their body’s are low in manganese, making this a potential symptom for others. Not only can manganese cause hearing loss in some people it can also be a reason as to why tinnitus develops in some people.

Poor blood sugar control.

Manganese has shown usefulness is controlling the body’s blood sugar levels, which could possibly help to prevent illnesses such as diabetes from manifesting in the future.

Health benefits of consuming manganese in the correct amounts.

Encourages healthy bones.

Research has found that manganese is one of the contributing factors that help to reduce the likelihood of a person developing osteoporosis, as well as slowing down the progression of th disease too once it has taken hold. This mineral is essential for the proper and healthy growth of bones, without it we would simply not be able to form our bones correctly and would be in trouble!

Could work as a epilepsy treatment.

Lower levels of manganese could provide a trigger for epilepsy episodes, and therefore keeping the levels healthy can help avoid future seizures from happening. Research is currently being worked on as to why this is so.

Aids in keep sugar levels controlled.

The mineral manganese when consumed into the body tried to normalizes insulin synthesis and secretion, which in turn helps to keep the blood sugar levels controlled as well as allow the body to cope with sudden unpredictable drops in levels more efficiently. This is one of the reasons why manganese is important for those who are diabetic, permitting them to have a healthier life and easier life.

Regulates the body’s metabolism.

Manganese-activated enzymes are ones that certainly help in the metabolism of amino acids, carbohydrates and cholesterol too. These enzymes are also very important in the metabolism of vitamin B1 and vitamin E.

WIthout manganese are bodies metabolism would not be able to function as efficiently as necessary. Therefore if we was to suffer from manganese deficiency our metabolism would also suffer.

Helps cure inflammation and pains within the body.

Manganese is a fantastic remedy for sprains and inflammation within the body. To do this it increases the levels of superoxide dismutase, of which lower levels are associated with arthritis.

May alleviate PMS symptoms in some women.

One of the most annoying parts about being female is our monthly PMS, although there are things you can do to treat the issue. Manganese can help to alleviate mood swings, depression, irritability and headaches to name just a few. Therefore, hopefully your PMS can be acted upon with the use of manganese-rich foods!

The health of your thyroid may benefit.

This particular mineral is, as previously mentioned, an important cofactor for various different enzymes, including those related to the proper functioning of the thyroid.

Foods high in manganese.

Mussels and other seafoods.

Mussels contain around 289% DV of manganese per 3oz cooked. Followed by clams at 43% and then crayfish at 22%.

Many nuts.

Many nuts are high in the mineral manganese with the highest being 78% DV in the hazelnut per ounce. After that to name a few more (but not all) it is the pecan at 55%, walnuts at 48% and the lowest is the pistachio containing 17% DV.

Seeds, especially pumpkin.

The pumpkin seed contains around 64% DV of manganese per ounce, chia seeds are at 38% and sunflower seeds at 30%.

Raw tofu.

Raw, firm tofu is rich in manganese.  Per ½ cup (126g) of tofu, there is 1.5 mg of manganese which is 74% DV making it extremely high in the useful mineral.

Different breads.

Whole-wheat bread is a great bread for manganese content, per slice containing 0.7mg of manganese or 35% DV. The wheat english muffin is at 59%, whole-wheat pita is 56% and whole-wheat roll at 32% all at DV per slice.


Tempeh is also high in manganese containing around 54% DV per ½ a cup. If you do not already know, tempeh is a traditional soy product originating from Indonesia made by fermenting soybeans.

Various types of beans.

Lima beans contain roughly 2.1 mg, or 106% DV, per cup (170g) when cooked making them a great source of the mineral manganese. Other beans’ DV per cup are winged beans at 103%, chickpeas at 84%, white beans at 57% and kidney beans at 42%.

Leafy greens.

Leafy greens are simply amazing in terms of their health benefits, vitamin contents and mineral contents too. Spinach being one of them contains 1.7 mg of manganese per a 180g cup, which is 84% DV. Other leafy greens include beet greens 37%, swiss chard 29% and napa cabbage too at 11% DV.


Many fruits like blueberries, pineapple, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries too are all high in the mineral manganese. Pineapple juice itself contains around 1.4 mg of manganese in half cup serving.

Tea and coffees.

Manganese can even be found in your teas and coffees, roughly around 0.5 mg in each cup. Green tea and instant tea are both good sources of the mineral manganese.


Manganese can even be found in your teas and coffees

Although sweets are often classed as unhealthy and nutritionally void, there are a few great sweets that can provide the body with small amounts of the mineral manganese. Cocoa, maple syrup and chocolate are all high in the mineral and are therefore useful foods to consume when wanting a treat and that extra boost of manganese too!

Side effects of excessive consumption.

Manganese is safe to consume within our diets on a daily basis, reaching up to 11 mg per day to be perfectly safe. Although individuals who have liver-related problems, such as liver disease, may have trouble when consuming 11 mg of the mineral. It is NOT recommended to inhale manganese and could cause issues such as symptoms similar to Parkinson’s such as trembling/ shaking.

Individuals who suffer from iron-deficiency anemia tend to absorb more manganese than the average person. Therefore those with this condition should be mindful not to over consume foods that are high in the mineral.

Manganese is safe to be consumed while pregnant or breastfeeding, however it is recommended not to exceed 11 mg per day in order to be as safe as can be. Doses exceeding 11 mg per day could potentially cause side effects for both mother and baby, and thus should be avoided whenever possible.

Those who receive nutrition by IV (intravenously) are at an increased risk of side effects as a result of consuming too much manganese. If you are given nutrients by IV try to avoid over consumption of manganese rich foods in order to stay as healthy as possible.

Manganese can possibly attach to tetracyclines within the stomach, which can then decrease the amount of them that are absorbed. Taking manganese alongside tetracyclines can decrease effectiveness and potentially cause further issues within the body.

Manganese based facts.

These facts are sourced from the website for our readers.

  • Manganese is similar in appearance to iron, however has a silvery-grey color.
  • This mineral is a part of the iron group of elements.
  • Oxidises easily, but does not fuse easily.
  • During WW2 this mineral began to replace much of the nickel found in the US coins to due it becoming rare.
  • There is a neurological disorder called manganism which occurs after being exposed to manganese for too long.
  • Cave paintings from the stone ages included manganese pigments within them.

We hope that…

We hope that now you know the warning signs of manganese deficiency and which foods to consume in order to combat this. Whichever foods you choose to incorporate into your diet we hope you are now fully equipped on the best way to maintain your health in relation to manganese consumption. We hope our well researched articles helps our readers as much as it possibly can!

It is also wise to note however, that extreme cases of manganese deficiency are extremely rare and very unlikely. In most cases your body will just be slightly below the ideal levels and should therefore be very easy to rectify as well as keep that way. It is estimated that around 37% of Americans regularly fall below the recommended daily intake for manganese and therefore it simply cannot hurt to include more manganese-rich foods into your diet!

As always, we greatly appreciate hearing from our beloved readers, so if you have any queries regarding the website or for anything else please don’t hesitate to contact us via our Contact Page. We look forward to your emails!

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to visit again soon.

By Chess Taylor.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.