When doing a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) most people fear an excess of iron or copper, as well as metals, but rarely do people speak of manganese.
If you haven't checked out our first post on manganese and why it's so important, click here and then come back to read the rest of this!
So as you've read, yes, manganese is vital for things like
- Energy production
- Acts as an antioxidant
- Activates a series of enzymes
- Supports bone and joint health
- Important for thyroid function
Clearly a very important mineral. However, let's zero in on one key component that could potentially give it a double edged sword. Manganese is important for the production of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) which is the main enzyme that acts similarly to an antioxidant within the cells. With this enzyme, our cells are able to protect themselves from things like oxidative stress, also known as reactive oxygen species. Important thing to note though is that this enzyme is also copper dependent.
Copper and manganese are two minerals that require other proteins to be shuttled around the body. This is why food-based sources of manganese will rarely, if ever, cause manganese toxicity. That being said, sources like well water, gasoline, fertilizers, pesticides, mining, welding, batteries, or even dark hair dye are all related to manganese toxicity due to the lack of other supporting nutrients and toxins they carry.
Little note on the copper dysregulation. If you haven't read our blog all on the iron and copper relationship, click here, for it's very similar. A vast majority of enzymes are copper dependent in our bodies. This includes MnSOD. In order for our bodies to utilize copper appropriately, we need to produce adequate ceruloplasmin from the liver and adrenals. If we don't, we then can't utilize copper, meaning three other minerals can start increasing as a result and end up becoming toxic: iron, manganese and zinc.
That being said, an excess of manganese can be more detrimental in cases including pathogens, specifically because of its reliance on copper. Without its ability to synthesize MnSOD, it can actually have the opposite effect on the body and instead of protect it, feed infection. What happens specifically is that when there is an infection present, such as E.faecalis (a strain of the streptococcus family) or Borrelia burgdorferi, a cause of Lyme, the body accumulates manganese in the tissues to hide it as a defense mechanism knowing it can feed the infection. However, these pathogens are smart and start to produce high-affinity manganese uptake systems to get to this nutrient from our tissues.
We can also see that in cases of disease and autoimmunity that levels of MnSOD are reduced, such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and psoriasis.
So what do we do in this case you ask? What happens if we're in this position?
First, test your hair and get an accurate reading to see if you have manganese toxicity or a loss first. Both can present themselves similarly, but manganese toxicity can also look like you're deficient in it depending on one's metabolic type and other factors. To order an HTMA, click here.
Second, make sure you've reduced your exposure to what could be leading to toxicity such as well water, gasoline, fertilizers, pesticides, mining, welding, batteries, and hair dye.
Third, focus on copper by supporting your adrenals and liver. This is a multi factorial step including diet, lifestyle, and supplemental modifications.
Fourth, consider getting on some coriander seed oil, starting at about 1 tsp a day, and increasing to a full tbsp. Coriander seed oil has been shown to help remove excess manganese from tissues.
Lastly, check to see if you have any other potential offenders from bacteria, viruses, other pathogens or even metals that could be feeding this infection. This is why it's always recommended to work with someone to get the best support you need down the line.
Hope this was helpful!
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach