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Manganese & The Paleo Diet

by Suz on December 29, 2012 · 0 comments

in Food, Health, Paleo

How are your Manganese levels? Does following a Paleo diet guarantee optimal micro nutrient levels? This week I’m focusing on manganese – and most importantly, how to make sure your levels are sufficient.

What actually is Manganese?

Did you see the word and thought I had spelt magnesium incorrectly? It is actually a trace mineral that regulates dozens of enzymatic reactions within the body. It is a crucial mineral.

If you are lacking in manganese some of the symptoms of deficiency include low thyroxine – or Thyroid Hormone T4 – as manganese is important for the production of T4.

Asthma is another area with links to deficiency of this trace mineral. There are links between low manganese levels in children and childhood asthma. Similarly there is a link between low dietary manganese intake and the incidents of asthma in adults.

Low HDL also has links to deficiency of manganese. Women who eat a low manganese diet will find their HDL drops dramatically.

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Joint pain and osteoporosis can also be impacted. Bone density doesn’t come down to just magnesium and calcium alone, with manganese also playing a significant part in overall bone health.

What causes low manganese levels?

Having too much iron in your system can result in low levels. While this isn’t the cause of a deficiency for those who suffer from iron retention, or who absorb too much iron, manganese can reduce the absorption of dietary iron. Those who are on a Paleo diet (or following the Primal Blueprint) eating iron rich meat on a regular basis may be getting less manganese in their system than they need – especially if they are not eating most of the richest source of the minerals. Obviously if you do not eat enough manganese rich foods you’re not going to have enough manganese. If your diet consists mostly of beef and you don’t eat many nuts, shell-fish or berries, you may find you are not getting enough manganese in your diet.

As with all minerals, if they aren’t in the soil, they don’t get into the food chain. This means it is crucial to ensure your meat comes from animals who have been reared with a proper diet – and fed on grass, from soil with good mineral levels. Grain fed animals won’t have had access to the same levels of minerals as their grass-fed equivalents. It’s really important to know and understand where your food comes from.

Where can you get more manganese into your body?

Nuts are a great source of manganese with hazelnuts being the richest source and almonds having the lowest manganese source. Other nuts including macadamia’s pine nuts, walnuts and pecans are also good sources of manganese. Shell-fish such as mussels, clams and oysters are good sources, with mussels having the highest content of manganese. As always, it comes down to having a very varied diet, sourcing food from the highest quality sources wherever possible.

Ever thought about your manganese levels? Do you eat enough natural food sources? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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