While everyday minerals like calcium and magnesium get all of the attention, I’d bet most people have never heard of the essential mineral manganese. But just because it isn’t well-known doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. In fact, a recent study found that type 2 diabetics have significantly lower levels of this critical trace mineral. This doesn’t mean that low manganese causes diabetes; however, low levels increase the risk. This isn’t surprising when you consider the many imperative functions involving manganese that promote health and well-being within the body. If you’re not keeping an eye on your manganese and other trace mineral levels, here are 4 reasons that you should start paying attention now.
1. Your Blood Sugar Depends on It
It seems that there’s a sweet spot for manganese levels and blood sugar.
Too little or too much manganese can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
It makes sense because manganese is crucial for regulating your ability to turn carbs into fuel, and when that process goes awry, high blood sugar is the result.
2. Your Immune System Insists
Having type 2 diabetes is hard on the immune system, and the longer high blood sugar persists, the more impact it has on inflammation and immune performance. That’s why it’s even more important that type 2 diabetics are getting sufficient amounts of trace minerals like manganese, which is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system.
3. Builds Strong Bones
Calcium is not the only mineral your bones need to be healthy. Manganese is one of the other vital micronutrients that helps you build and preserve bone. Deficiencies during childhood and adolescence can lead to poor bone development, and in later years, bones deplete more readily when manganese levels are low.
4. Fights Free Radicals
Manganese is needed to produce a critical antioxidant called manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD). MnSoD protects the mitochondria, the energy factory of our cells, from damage.
When the mitochondria are damaged, we have a reduced ability to use food for fuel.
Having low levels of MnSOD means less ability to balance free radicals and prevent tissue damage caused by oxidative stress.
A Word to the Wise
Supplementing manganese can be dangerous, as manganese can interfere with the absorption of other important nutrients. Moreover, manganese toxicity can lead to irreversible neurological problems, but that’s usually seen in people who have inhaled manganese dust when exposed to welding and smelters. The safest way to improve manganese levels is to eat whole foods that are rich in manganese and other essential minerals such as pineapple, almonds, sweet potato, spinach, and teas. Better yet, invest in comprehensive testing that can reveal your exact micronutrient imbalances and deficiencies. We help our patients use this and other critical information to build tailored therapies to reduce symptoms of their type 2 diabetes for good.