Manganese is an essential mineral in the diet that serves primarily as a component of the antioxidant enzyme known as manganese superoxide dismutase.
Other enzymes that manganese is a known component of include pyruvate carboxylase and glutamine synthetase located in the cytoplasm of glial cells where it converts glutamate (neurotransmitter) into glutamine.
Manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) is the principal antioxidant enzyme in the mitochondria. Because mitochondria consume over 90% of the oxygen used by cells, they are especially vulnerable to oxidative stress. The superoxide radical is one of the reactive oxygen species produced in mitochondria during ATP synthesis.
Manganese aids in the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones and plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Manganese is also necessary for normal brain and nerve function.
Low levels of manganese in the body can contribute to infertility, bone malformation, weakness, and seizures.