Manganese Facts for Kids

Posted on July 05 2022, By: Dr. Aqsa Ph.D. Scholar in Nutrigenomics

Manganese Facts for Kids




Manganese is an essential trace mineral that the human body needs to stay healthy. This mineral is naturally present in several foods, including whole grains, seeds, beans, leafy green vegetables, and nuts. It is also found in the form of dietary supplements. Manganese is required for the healthy functioning of your kid’s nervous system, brain, and body enzymes. The human body can store only 20 mg of manganese in the pancreas, bones, and kidneys, so it is important to consume an adequate amount of this mineral in your daily diet. (1)

What does manganese do? This mineral contributes to several important functions in the human body, including the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol. It also plays an important role in blood clotting, bone formation, and reducing inflammation. Additionally, manganese supports bone health, aids in wound healing, reduces blood sugar levels, and regulates enzyme functions.

A deficiency of this mineral can result in several health issues, such as skeletal defects, poor bone health, impaired growth, abnormal metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, and low fertility. If you kid isn’t getting enough manganese in their daily diet through foods like nuts, whole grains, chickpeas and lentils, you might consider supplementing this mineral in other forms with the approval of your child’s physician. (2)

How Does Manganese Function in Your Child’s Body?

Manganese is mandatory for the healthy growth and development of your child. This is because it performs several important functions in your child’s body. It is a cofactor of several enzymes such as pyruvate carboxylase and arginase, and manganese superoxide dismutase. It is through the action of these enzymes that manganese is able to be involved in the metabolism of glucose, amino acids, carbohydrates, and cholesterol. This trace mineral is also essential for maintaining immune health, bone formation, and reproduction. In combination with vitamin K, manganese also plays its role in blood clotting. (3

How is manganese absorbed in your child’s body? Manganese is absorbed in the small intestine of your child through active transport and through diffusion when intake is high. After being absorbed through the intestine, some amount of this mineral remains free, while most is bound to albumin and transferrin. Manganese is also absorbed by the liver and other body tissues, and the exact mechanism for how this occurs is not currently known.

Of the 10 to 20 mg of manganese that is present in a child’s body, about 25 to 40% is present in your child’s bones. The pancreas, liver, kidneys, and brain also contain a small amount of this trace mineral. Research has revealed that the human body maintains blood manganese levels by controlling its absorption and excretion. About 90% of manganese is excreted via feces and bile, and a small amount is reabsorbed. Additionally, a very small amount of manganese is excreted via urine. (1)

Why Do Children Need Manganese?

Manganese is an essential mineral that works in combination with other important nutrients to regulate vital body functions and proper growth and development. (4

Here are several ways manganese benefits your kids:

  • Supports bone health
  • Provides powerful antioxidant properties
  • Improves brain health
  • Maintains thyroid health
  • Aids in wound healing

Supports bone health: According to health experts, manganese is vital for bone health, including development and maintenance of bone strength. Combined with other minerals, including copper, calcium, and zinc, manganese even enhances bone density.

Research has revealed that proper intake of manganese in children along with copper, zinc, and calcium can reduce the risk of spinal bone loss at a later age. Another one-year study in women with weak bones found that intake of manganese supplements, along with boron and vitamin D, significantly improved their bone mass. (5)

Provides powerful antioxidant properties: One study has revealed that manganese has strong antioxidant properties. This is primarily because it is a part of an important antioxidant in your child’s body called superoxide dismutase (SOD). Antioxidants are essential for your kid’s body as they provide protection from the damaging effects of free radicals. The research has shown that free radicals are a major contributor to several impactful health issues, including heart diseases, cancer, and premature aging. (6)

Improves brain health: Manganese is important for proper brain function and reducing the risk of nerve disorders in children. This mineral achieves these functions through its antioxidant properties, especially its role in the function of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) that protects your child’s brain from the damaging effect of free radicals.

Additionally, manganese binds to several neurotransmitters and stimulates the faster transmission of nerve impulses throughout your child’s body. As a result, your child’s brain functions improve. Research has even found that proper manganese intake can reduce the occurrence of epilepsy, which is common in children. (7

Maintains thyroid health: Manganese is an essential cofactor for several enzymes, which means that it helps those enzymes to work properly in your child’s body. One study has revealed that manganese is important for the normal production of thyroxine. This is a vital hormone that plays an important role in the healthy functioning of your child’s thyroid gland. This gland is responsible for maintaining healthy body weight, metabolism, appetite, and organ efficiency. Therefore, it is important to provide an adequate amount of this mineral to your child to maintain their hormone balance and body weight. (8

Aids in wound healing: Trace minerals like manganese play an important part in wound healing. This is because the wound healing process needs an increased production of collagen. Manganese aids in the production of an amino acid proline that is vital for collagen production and wound healing in the skin cells of your child. A recent study has revealed that the topical application of zinc, manganese, and calcium on chronic wounds for up to 12 weeks can speed up the healing process in children. (9)

What Is Manganese Deficiency?

Manganese deficiency is rare in children, and it might be caused by not having proper manganese intake through diet or by having other medical conditions that interfere with the uptake of manganese. The common causes of manganese deficiency in children include: (10

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Malnutrition
  • Poor dietary intake of manganese-rich foods
  • Excessive sweating
  • Malabsorption syndrome including inflammatory bowel diseases or celiac disease
  • Disorders of kidney tubes
  • Excessive urination
  • Chronic burns, which affect the large area of your child’s body
  • Excessive use of medicines such as antibiotics

Common signs and symptoms of manganese deficiency in children include:

  • Weakness
  • Skin lesions
  • Epileptic seizures
  • Poor bone growth
  • Defective insulin production

Weakness: If your child often complains about fatigue and weakness, then they might be deficient in micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. The research has revealed that fatigue and iron deficiency are strongly associated with the deficiency of two important minerals, including iron and manganese. (11)

Skin lesions: A prolonged healing process and skin lesions are major indicators of manganese deficiency in children. Research has demonstrated that manganese is important for collagen formation which supports the healing process. Thus, a lack of this trace mineral slows down wound healing in kids. (12

Epileptic seizures: Scientific studies have revealed that manganese deficiency can cause the accumulation of glutamic acid in the brain of your child, which results in epileptic seizures. One study has concluded that lack of manganese can cause irritability of the nervous system which results in seizures. (13

Poor bone growth: Health experts suggest that manganese also plays a promising role in maintaining bone health in growing children. This is because it works in combination with other essential minerals, such as calcium and zinc, to maintain your child’s bone mass and density. Studies have revealed that children with impaired growth and weak bones are deficient in essential minerals, including calcium, manganese, vitamin D, and phosphorus. (11

Defective insulin production: A recent study has shown that manganese plays an important role in insulin activity by activating the hexokinase enzyme, which increases the level of glucose in the cells. So, if your child’s diet is deficient in this mineral, they may be at an increased risk of diabetes at a later age. (14)

How Much Manganese Does Your Kid Need per Day?

Dosing recommendations for manganese are provided in the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) developed by Food and Nutrition Board (FNB). DRI is the optimal amount of nutrients that a person needs per day. (1)

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for this mineral is provided in milligrams (mg) below:

 Age Recommended daily amount in milligrams (mg)
0-6 months 0.0003 mg
7-12 months 0.6 mg
1-3 years 1.2 mg
4-8 years 1.5 mg
9-13 years 1.9 mg
14-18 years 2.2 mg (males); 1.6 mg (females)
19+ years 2.3 mg (males); 1.8 mg (females)

Should You Give Manganese Supplements to Your Kids?

Children need an adequate supply of micronutrients for proper growth and development. It is recommended that your kid gets their required amount of manganese primarily through their daily diet. In cases of deficiency, manganese supplements may be considered for your child after the approval of their pediatrician. (3)

Foods That Are Rich in Manganese

Major dietary sources of manganese in the diet of adult Americans include vegetables, grain products, and tea. This trace mineral is present in several natural foods, including nuts, whole grains, oysters, legumes, leafy green vegetables, tea, soybeans, and coffee. Drinking water also supplies a small amount of manganese (1-100 mcg/L).

The concentration of manganese in breast milk and cow’s milk-based infant formula is 3 to 10 mcg/L and 30-100 mcg/L, respectively.

Here are some foods that contain a good amount of manganese: (1)

 Food Serving size Milligrams (mg) per serving
Cooked blue mussels 3 oz 5.8 mg
Roasted pecans 1 oz 1.1 mg
Cooked oysters 3 oz 1.0 mg
Cooked chickpeas 1/2 cup 0.9 mg
Raw pineapple 1/2 cup 0.8 mg
Whole wheat bread 1 slice 0.7 mg
Brewed black tea 1 cup 0.5 mg
Cooked lentils 1/2 cup 0.5 mg
Baked potatoes 1 medium 0.3 mg
Canned kidney beans 1/2 cup 0.3 mg
Raw berries 1/2 cup 0.3 mg


Risks and side effects of manganese

Excessive intake of manganese can cause several health issues. The research has revealed that mega doses of manganese supplements can cause delayed growth, loss of appetite, and reproductive problems. One study has demonstrated that large doses of this mineral can lead to anemia because it competes with iron for absorption. (15

Another study has found that a higher intake of manganese can result in several side effects, including headaches, extreme irritability, leg cramps, tremors, convulsions, and muscle rigidity. In addition, manganese toxicity is common in those who receive intravenous nutrition (containing manganese) for a longer period.

In order to prevent these health issues due to excessive intake of manganese, it is best practice to consult with your child’s pediatrician before giving manganese supplements to your child. If your child experiences any side effects while taking manganese supplements, then stop their use and contact a doctor. (16


Manganese is an essential trace mineral that plays an important role in maintaining the health of your child. As a cofactor of several enzymes, this mineral helps in regulating the metabolism of amino acids, cholesterol, glucose, and carbohydrates. This mineral provides several health benefits to children such as supporting bone health and wound healing. A deficiency of manganese can result in poor wound healing, skin lesions, weakness, and fatigue. Manganese is naturally present in many natural foods, including nuts, whole grains, seeds, oysters, and legumes. You can also provide manganese in supplement form to your child in case of severe deficiency and after the approval of your child’s pediatrician.




Disclaimer: The content of this blog post is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not use this information for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.