Beware! High Levels of Manganese May Not Be Good For Your Heart

A new study indicates that higher intake of dietary manganese may lead to a type of heart infection caused by bacteria.

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Beware! High Levels of Manganese May Not Be Good For Your Heart

Highlights

  1. Higher intake of dietary manganese may lead to a type of heart infection
  2. Manganese is an essential mineral found in leafy green vegetables
  3. The study was published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe
Nutritionists and health experts will always tell you that your daily diet should be a balance of all the essential nutrients that your body needs. These include macronutrients like proteins, fats and carbohydrates and also micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. At the same time, you may have also heard that when it comes to good health moderation is the key and anything in excess will always have some consequences. A new study, published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe, indicates that higher intake of dietary manganese may lead to a type of heart infection caused by bacteria. 

Manganese is an essential mineral which is found in leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts. The team, led by Eric Skaar who is a professor at the Vanderbilt University in the United States, has found that excess consumption of manganese inactivates a key line of defense against pathogens: the innate immune system's reactive oxygen burst.

Staphylococcus aureus ("staph") is the leading cause of bacterial endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart chamber and heart valves) and the second most frequent cause of bloodstream infections. Skaar explains that in a normal scenario, neutrophils pour into the site of infection and blast the bacteria with reactive oxygen species but the excess manganese in the body tends to counter this blast.

"It's striking that a single dietary change can inactivate one of the most powerful branches of innate immune defence and lead to fatal infection. The human body does a wonderful job of regulating nutrient levels and a traditional Western diet has plenty of minerals in it. The idea of super-dosing nutrients needs to be given careful consideration," he noted. 

The study was conducted using a mice model. The results showed that most of the mice that consumed a high manganese diet, about three times more manganese than the normal requirement, died after infection with staph.

Manganese does benefit the body in certain ways. It maintains healthy bone structure and bone metabolism, and helps to create essential enzymes for building bones but according to the study, when consumed in excess it can have some serious negative impact. Another study, appearing in the journal NeuroToxicology, showed that excessive environmental exposure to manganese can result in neurotoxicity and can lower the intelligence quotient (IQ) scores in children.

Manganese is also used widely in the production of steel, alloys, batteries and fertilisers and is added to unleaded gasoline. The findings of this study showed that increased manganese in hair samples was significantly associated with a decline in full-scale IQ, processing speed and working memory.

The thumb rule remains get the adequate amount of nutrients that your body needs daily. Anything less or more, may have its impact on your health. 

With inputs from IANS

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