How to Boost Manganese Intake to Help Control Your Blood Sugar
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When we talk about staying healthy, we often think of macronutrients like carbohydrate, proteins, and fats.
But what if we told you that a lesser-known nutrient could hold the key to better well-being? One such nutrient is manganese.
Manganese isn’t as popular as iron, zinc, vitamin C or calcium, but it’s an absolute game-changer, when it comes to keeping your blood sugar levels in check.
In this post, we’re taking a closer look at manganese, and explain why it’s important for your body and then share easy tips to get more of this micronutrient.
Here’s what we’re going to cover in this post:
- Why manganese matters for blood sugar regulation
- How manganese helps keep blood sugar levels in check
- How much manganese you need each day
- Foods packed with manganese
- Easy ways to get more manganese in your diet
- Manganese supplements: yes or no?
- Drugs that interfere with manganese absorption
- Yummy manganese-boosted recipes
Let’s get started right away.
Why Manganese Matters for Regulating Blood Sugar
Manganese is involved in several metabolic processes, including carbohydrate metabolism.
It helps the body to produce and use insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
What you eat affects your blood sugar levels a lot.
When you consume carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into simple sugars called glucose, which is absorbed into your blood.
If your blood sugar levels rise too high, your pancreas releases insulin to help the cells in your body absorb glucose.
In the rest of this post, we’ll discuss about the role of manganese in blood sugar regulation, how much manganese you need, and the best ways to get more manganese in your diet.
We’ll also share some delicious manganese-boosted recipes and real stories of people who have improved their blood sugar through diet.
How Manganese Helps Keep Blood Sugar in Check
Manganese is involved in the production of several enzymes that are essential for blood sugar regulation.
One of these enzymes, pyruvate kinase, helps the body to convert glucose into energy.
Another enzyme, manganese superoxide dismutase, helps to protect the pancreas from damage caused by free radicals.
Manganese helps the body to absorb insulin more effectively.
This means that your cells are better able to use the insulin that your pancreas produces, which helps to keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Manganese helps the body to store glucose in the liver and muscles.
This helps to prevent blood sugar levels from spiking after eating a meal.
How Much Manganese Do You Need?
The recommended daily intake of manganese for adults is 1.8 mg for men and 1.2 mg for women.
Getting sufficient amounts of manganese is essential for good blood sugar control.
Manganese deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
Manganese deficiency can cause several health problems, including impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, and high blood sugar levels.
What Foods Are Naturally Rich in Manganese?
There are several foods you can eat to increase your manganese intake.
The manganese content of the foods are based on the USDA Food Composition Database.
The values for the manganese content in 100-gram servings of the foods are mentioned below:
- Mussels: 1.6 mg
- Tofu: 1.0 mg
- Sweet potatoes: 0.7 mg
- Pineapple: 0.3 mg
- Cocoa: 12.0 mg
- Green tea: 0.7 mg
- Pecans: 2.8 mg
As you can see, mussels, cocoa, and pecans are the richest sources of manganese in the foods listed.
There are other manganese-rich foods available for both vegetarians and meat-eaters.
Some good options for vegetarians include:
- Brown rice
- Collard greens
Some good options for meat-eaters include:
Besides being rich in manganese, many of the foods listed above are also good sources of fiber, protein, vitamins, and essential minerals.
Practical Tips to Add Manganese-Rich Foods to Your Diet
Here are some practical tips to add manganese-rich foods to your diet:
- Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal with nuts and seeds.
- Add leafy green vegetables to your salads, sandwiches, and smoothies.
- Snack on nuts and seeds throughout the day.
- Choose whole grains over refined grains whenever possible.
- Include lean protein sources, such as fish
- Drink cocoa regularly.
Some cooking and prep tricks to keep the manganese goodness in your food:
- Avoid overcooking vegetables, as this can destroy some of the nutrients like manganese.
- Steam or roast vegetables instead of frying them.
- Cook whole grains in plenty of water to retain the nutrients.
- Store nuts and seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
In addition to eating a diet rich in manganese, there are other things you can do to control your blood sugar levels, such as:
- Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day.
- Avoiding sugary drinks and processed foods.
- Getting regular exercise.
Manganese Supplements: Yes or No?
Most people can get manganese from their diet alone.
But some people may need to take a manganese supplement if they have a condition that affects their absorption of manganese, such as celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
People who may need to take a manganese supplement include:
- People with celiac disease or IBS
- People with kidney disease
- People with diabetes
- People who are taking certain drugs like anticonvulsants or diuretics
If you’re considering manganese supplement, talk to your doctor first to determine if it’s right for you and get the correct dosage.
Don’t go overboard with manganese supplements, too much manganese can be toxic in your body.
Medications that Interferes with Manganese Absorption
Boosting your manganese intake is not just about eating different foods that are rich in manganese or taking supplements, there are some other things you need to consider as well, such as drugs that interferes with the absorption of manganese.
Here are some of the medications that you should avoid if you want to boost your manganese intake:
- Tetracyclines: Reduces manganese absorption by up to 50%.
- Quinolones: They also reduce manganese absorption, but to a lesser extent than tetracyclines.
- Antacids containing magnesium hydroxide: These medications binds to manganese in the stomach and prevents it from being absorbed into the blood.
- Chenodiol: Decreases manganese absorption by interfering with the absorption of bile acids.
Note that the extent to which these drugs interfere with manganese absorption differ from each other.
Example, tetracycline and quinolone antibiotics have been shown to reduce manganese absorption, while antacids and laxatives have a smaller effect.
This study found that tetracycline and quinolone antibiotics can reduce manganese absorption by up to 50%.
The study authors suggested that these antibiotics bind to manganese in the gut and prevents it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Another study, published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism in 2011, found that tetracycline antibiotics can reduce manganese levels in the blood and other tissues.
The study authors suggested that tetracycline antibiotics can disrupt the body’s ability to absorb and transport manganese.
Yummy Manganese-Boosted Recipes
Here are a few delicious recipes that are packed with manganese.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 cups water or milk
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup berries
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Combine the oats, water or milk, and flaxseed in a saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the oats are cooked through.
- Stir in the walnuts, berries, cocoa powder, and cinnamon.
- Serve hot and enjoy.
Kale and Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 1/2 cup chopped avocado
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Cook the quinoa according to package directions.
- While the quinoa is cooking, combine the kale, avocado, walnuts, and feta cheese in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Once the quinoa is cooked, add it to the bowl with the kale and other ingredients.
- Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup berries
- 1/2 banana
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Enjoy immediately.
Wrapping It Up
In a nutshell, never underestimate the power of manganese in keeping your blood sugar in check.
Eating foods like mussels, tofu, and sweet potatoes can give you the manganese boost you need.
Most people won’t need manganese supplements, but if you have some health issues, let your doctor know about it first before you start with with your manganese supplement.
And to make it all delicious for you, we’ve shared some recipes full of manganese.
So, enjoy your meals, stay active, and keep your blood sugar on track for a healthier you!.
- Drug-Induced Nutritional Deficiencies by Shane Stutman, M.D., Ph.D., and Elaine Feldman, M.D., published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2013.
- Drug-induced nutrient deficiencies. Authors: Lina Felípez 1, Timothy A Sentongo. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2009 Oct;56(5):1211-24. doi: 10.1016/j.pcl.2009.06.004.