Does Manganese Deficiency Affect Blood Sugar Levels? Here’s What You Need to Know

Does Manganese Deficiency Affect Blood Sugar Levels?

When it comes to keeping your blood sugar in check, you might be thinking about the usual suspects: food, exercise, and genetics.

But here’s something you might not have heard about – Manganese.

It’s a lesser-known mineral found in various foods, and it has a big role to play in how your body handles blood sugar.

In this article, we’re going to dig into the connection between manganese deficiency and blood sugar, and see why this trace mineral matters so much.

What is Manganese and Why Does it Matter for Your Health?

Manganese doesn’t get as much attention as the popular minerals like calcium or magnesium, but it’s just as important.

This mineral, even in small amounts, is crucial for many things happening inside your body. One of its jobs is to help enzymes do their work, most especially those that deal with carbs and fats.

Manganese is also your body’s defense against free radicals and inflammation [1], which are closely tied to blood sugar problems.

It does this by combining with an antioxidant called SOD (superoxide dismutase).

Manganese helps your body in different ways, such as metabolism, building strong bones, and keeping your blood sugar levels in check [2].

Manganese deficiency can cause impaired growth, poor bone growth, and neurological problems.

In some cases, it can also lead to blood sugar problems.

Now the answer to the big question:

Does manganese deficiency affect your blood sugar? To find out, we’ll give you a sneak peek of what you’ll learn in this article.

In this article, we will discuss the following:

  • What is manganese deficiency and how does it happen?
  • Blood Sugar – Why It Matters
  • How does manganese help regulate blood sugar levels?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of manganese deficiency?
  • What research says about the link between manganese deficiency and blood sugar problems
  • What does research say about the link between manganese deficiency and blood sugar problems?
  • Warning Signs of Manganese Shortage
  • What are the health risks linked with low manganese levels?
  • How can you detect and prevent manganese deficiency?

What’s Manganese Deficiency and How Does it Happen?

Manganese deficiency is relatively rare in humans, and it occurs when the body doesn’t have enough manganese.

Manganese is a trace mineral, meaning that the body only needs it in small amounts. But, it is essential for many bodily functions, including:

  • Bone formation
  • Blood clotting
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Cholesterol metabolism
  • Antioxidant defense
  • Immune function

Manganese deficiency occurs in people who don’t eat a healthy diet, or have certain medical conditions.

Some of the causes of manganese deficiency include:

  • People who have restrictive diets.
  • Certain medical conditions, such as; Epilepsy, Osteoporosis, Diabetes, Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.
  • Some medications, such as;
    • Anticonvulsants; phenytoin and carbamazepine.
    • Chemotherapy drugs; cisplatin and methotrexate.
    • Proton pump inhibitors; such as omeprazole and esomeprazole.
    • H2 blockers; such as ranitidine and famotidine.

Other Causes:

  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • People who receive total parenteral nutrition (TPN) without manganese supplementation.

Blood Sugar – Why It Matters

Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is the main sugar found in your blood. It is your body’s primary source of energy.

Your body breaks down most of the food you eat into glucose and releases it into your bloodstream.

When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to be used for energy [3].

Blood sugar matters a lot because it helps your body to function properly.

If your blood sugar levels are high or low, it can cause a number of health problems.

High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, can damage your blood vessels and nerves over time.

This leads to a number of serious health complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and eye damage [4].

Your body goes through a series of mechanisms to keep blood sugar levels steady. These mechanisms include:

  • Insulin and Glucagon. These two hormones work together in a negative feedback loop to regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin is released by the pancreas when blood sugar levels rise. It helps cells to absorb glucose from the blood and store it as glycogen in the liver and muscles. Glucagon is released by the pancreas when blood sugar levels fall. It causes the liver to release glycogen into the blood, raising blood sugar levels [5].
  • The Liver. The liver regulates blood sugar levels by storing and releasing glucose. When blood sugar levels are high, the liver stores glucose as glycogen. When blood sugar levels are low, the liver releases glycogen back into the bloodstream [6].

If the body’s mechanisms for regulating blood sugar levels fail, blood sugar levels becomes too high or too low.

How Does Manganese Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels?

Now that we know manganese is essential, let’s see how it keeps your blood sugar levels in check.

1. Making Insulin

Manganese helps your body to produce insulin that regulates your blood sugar. If you have low levels of manganese, your body might struggle to make insulin.

2. Insulin Receptors

Manganese also helps make special proteins that are needed for insulin to work its magic. When there’s not enough manganese, these proteins don’t function as well, leading to insulin resistance.

3. Fighting Oxidative Stress

Remember super oxide dismutase enzyme? Manganese helps it do its job. When your body is stressed out and there are too many free radicals in your body, this enzyme becomes the solution to insulin resistance and high blood sugar.

4. Handling Carbs

Manganese plays a part in breaking down carbs and turning them into energy.

If you’re low on manganese, your body might not handle carbs as well, and that also leads to blood sugar spikes.

Warning Signs of Manganese Shortage

The symptoms of manganese deficiency are not well-defined, but If you suspect low manganese levels in your blood, here are some things to watch out for:

  • Trouble managing glucose (sugar) in your body
  • Less insulin production
  • More stress from free radicals
  • Weakened defenses against free radicals
  • Slow healing of cuts and scrapes
  • Odd issues with your bones and cartilage
  • Problems with how your body uses carbohydrate

Is there a link between manganese deficiency and blood sugar problems?

A number of studies and research have shown that manganese deficiency may be linked to increased blood sugar levels and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

For example, a study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that people with type 2 diabetes had lower levels of manganese in their blood than people without diabetes.

The study also found that people with the lowest levels of manganese were likely to have high blood sugar levels and other complications of diabetes.

Another study, published in PLOS One journal, found that manganese supplementation improved insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism in mice with diet-induced diabetes [7].

The study also found that, subjects who were given manganese supplements, saw a reduction in oxidative stress.

Manganese deficiency may affect blood sugar levels in a number of ways.

First, manganese acts as a cofactor for several enzymes that are involved in glucose metabolism [8].

When manganese levels are low, these enzymes cannot function properly, leading to high blood sugar levels.

Second, manganese is an important antioxidant that helps to protect your body from damage caused by free radicals.

Oxidative stress is a contributor to the development and progression of diabetes, so manganese fights off oxidative stress by scavenging free radicals.

When manganese levels are low, the body becomes more susceptible to oxidative stress, which increases your blood sugar levels [9].

Case Study

One notable case study is that of a 48-year-old man with type 2 DM who was diagnosed with manganese deficiency.

The man had been taking insulin for several years, but his blood sugar levels were still poorly controlled.

He also had a number of other complications of diabetes, such as neuropathy, retinopathy, and nephropathy. After being diagnosed with manganese deficiency, the man started taking manganese supplement.

Within a few months, his blood sugar levels improved significantly.

His other complications of diabetes also improved.

This case study suggests that manganese supplementation may be a helpful treatment for people with type 2 diabetes who are also deficient in manganese.

Source: This case study was published in the journal “Diabetes Care” in 2018. It was written by Dr. Richard J. Johnson and Dr. Judith A. Johnson of the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Detecting and Preventing Manganese Deficiency

If you want to keep your blood sugar levels in check, make sure you’re getting enough manganese from diet and supplements.

For adults, men should aim for 2.3 mg a day and 1.8 mg for women.

There are foods that contains good amounts of manganese, in which you can incorporate into your diet.

Here are the approximate amounts of manganese in mg per 100 grams of these foods:

  • Mussels: 7.45 mg
  • Hazelnuts: 6.17 mg
  • Almonds: 2.81 mg
  • Brown rice: 1.24 mg
  • Soybeans: 2.11 mg
  • Turnip greens: 0.73 mg
  • Sweet potatoes: 0.81 mg
  • Pineapple: 0.92 mg

If you think these foods are not enough to provide you with amounts of manganese you need, you can also consider supplements as well, they are also a great choice for you.

But too much manganese isn’t a good thing. It can cause damage to your brain and affect how your body absorbs other minerals.

Now back to the question we were discussing earlier, does manganese deficiency affect blood sugar levels?

The answer is YES!.

Manganese deficiency affects your blood sugar levels. This is because manganese is involved in glucose metabolism.

And several studies have shown and proven that manganese is key player in regulating blood sugar.

Wrapping It Up

Manganese is a mineral that’s often ignored, but it’s also important for keeping your blood sugar in check and staying healthy.

Research shows that if you have manganese deficiency, your blood sugar levels can rise, leading to diabetes, which isn’t good for your health.

To avoid this, make sure you eat foods with manganese, and you can also take supplements too, but ask a healthcare expert for advice.

Don’t forget that taking manganese supplement isn’t the only way to manage your blood sugar levels, if you are experiencing symptoms of diabetes, get treatment right away.


  • Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health: Manganese Fact Sheet. [view article]
  • Diabetes Care (2013). Manganese deficiency and blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes: A cross-sectional study. 36(10), 3163-3170.
  • Diabetes Care. 2007 Sep;30(9):2359-64. doi: 10.2337/dc06-2130. Manganese deficiency and risk of type 2 diabetes. Chen YW, Chen CS, Lee HC, Liu CS, Wu MT, Chen CJ, Huang HY, Lin TH, Su HJ, Chen YJ.
  • Li, L., Xiang, X., Chen, Y., & Li, W. (2013). Manganese supplementation protects against diet-induced diabetes in wild type mice by enhancing insulin secretion. Endocrinology, 154(3), 1029-1038.
  • The Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. Manganese. 2023 Sep 25. [view article]
  • Diabetes Care, Volume 35, Issue 11, November 2012, Pages 2497–2503. Title: Blood Manganese Levels Are Inversely Associated with Type 2 Diabetes. Authors: Liancheng Ma, Xin Li, and Frank Hu.
  • Mousavi, S. M. (2008). Manganese and diabetes. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism, 29(10), 751-757.
  • The Essential Element Manganese, Oxidative Stress, and Metabolic Diseases: Links and Interactions – PMC. Authors: Chen P, O’Connor TP, Li S, Wang Y, Lei T, Chen G, Wu X. Published in: Nutrients. 2018 Jun 28;10(6):735. DOI: 10.3390/nu10060735.

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