manganeseperiodictableManganese is nutritionally essential. Although we repeatedly tell our readers that there is not one nutrient magic bullet, the Greek derivation of the word manganese happens to be “magic.”

Manganese (Mn) plays an important role in endogenous production of multiple enzymes with the ability to activate other enzymes that protect our mitochondria from oxidative-produced free radicals.

Manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) is the major antioxidant enzyme inside our mitochondria, which are especially vulnerable to oxidative-stress free radicals, because mitochondria consume more than 90 percent of the oxygen used by cells.

Mitochondria act as power plants inside our cells and create all cellular energy. They have their own genome and multiply with the increased energy needs of a cell. Due to the energy needs of the eye and brain, they produce far more mitochondria than the rest of the body.

Defects in enzymes that control mitochondrial DNA replication may cause mitochondrial DNA mutations. Dysfunction of mitochondrial energy metabolism leads to reduced ATP production and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Mitochondrial DNA also includes all of the genetic codes for making the mitochondrial signaling proteins.

Unfortunately, levels of endogenous SOD and MnSOD both decline with age, which makes us more susceptible to neurodegenerative oxidative stress in our later years.

For those of you who are fascinated with mitochondria DNA science, one of the delightful senior science writers at HowStuffWorks, Josh Clark, explains it like this:

“The genes we carry in the form of nuclear DNA are the result of a merger between our mother’s and father’s DNA (recombination (mtDNA)); however this DNA is derived almost exclusively from Mom because the human female egg contains lots of mtDNA, while male sperm contain just enough energy-producing mitochondria to survive the race towards the egg for fertilization.

“Any leftover mitochondria are destroyed after the sperm fertilizes the egg so any mtDNA that could be passed on from the father’s side is lost.

“This means that mtDNA is matrilineal – only the mother’s mitochondria DNA is passed on from generation to generation; meaning that a mother who gives birth to only sons, mtDNA lineage will not be passed on.”

Ellen Troyer with Spencer Thornton, MD, and the Biosyntrx staff

PEARL: The best food sources of manganese are mussels, clams, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, beans, spinach and kale.

A bibliography and a new surgical instrument announcement from our friends at Crestpoint Management can be found here.

We sincerely wish our Friday Pearl readers a thoughtful, physically active and fabulous Memorial Day celebration weekend with family and friends.