Manganese is a trace mineral found in plants, which absorb it from the soil. While minerals are necessary for proper function of regular processes in the body, we require trace minerals in smaller amounts. The importance of manganese is not widely known and is often overlooked in health and nutrition education. Manganese, like all trace minerals, plays a role in enzyme function, chemical reactions, neurological functions, production of hormones, physical growth, and sexual development.
Enzymes are proteins that speed up or instigate chemical reactions in the body. During the process, the body does not use up the enzyme. Manganese works with enzymes as a 'co-factor' or 'catalyst.' Most enzymes requiring manganese process cholesterol, carbohydrates, and amino acids. A reaction using manganese produces a specific type of protein in the mitochondria to coat other cells and defend them against invading viruses.
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