Manganese gluconate is a nutritional element that combines the mineral manganese with glutamic acid. Manganese gluconate has been used as a food additive for its color and texture, as well as a nutritional supplement for its potential health benefits. However, due to its high toxicity, caution must be used to ensure you do not overdose on manganese gluconate. Manganese gluconate is found in trace amounts in many plants, and can be found in your body, primarily in bone and soft organ tissue.
Manganese gluconate is sometimes used as a food additive for its texture and light pink coloring. As a food additive, manganese gluconate increases satiety, and the texture of processed foods related to mouth feel. However, in recent years, manganese gluconate has been used less and less as a food additive due to its high toxicity. Many food manufacturers have abandoned using manganese gluconate in favor of other chemical compounds that provide similar effects with a lower toxicity.
According to the book, "Nutrition for Health, Fitness and Sport," manganese gluconate helps to support many essential functions in your body and has been used to improve bone health and treat symptoms of osteoporisis and osteoarthritis. Manganese gluconate also aids in the formation of connective tissue, such as collagen, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. Other potential benefits of manganese gluconate include the promoting of blood-clotting factors, sex hormone production, and blood sugar regulation. Manganese gluconate may also promote the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates for energy, providing a possible ergogenic effect.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, manganese gluconate is generally recognized as safe, or GRAS. However, high amounts of manganese gluconate intake, upwards of 15 mg per day, may cause potentially serious health risks. Manganese gluconate toxicity may cause a chemical imbalance in your brain, increasing your risk of developing anxiety, depression, nervousness, psychosis, and mania. Other more common side effects include gastrointestinal distress, such as upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Manganese gluconate may interfere with the absorption of other minerals in your upper gastrointestinal tract, especially iron and calcium. Orally consuming manganese gluconate may reduce the ability of your body to properly metabolize iron and calcium, increasing your risk for deficiency of these two essential minerals. Ingesting manganese gluconate several hours apart from iron and calcium may reduce the risk of malabsorption, however, if you suffer from anemia, or a low red blood cell count, and take iron supplements as part of your treatment, you should not supplement with manganese gluconate at all.