MANGANESE, whole blood
B-Mn KL 3748

Manganese falls under the category of transition elements and shares chemical properties resembling those of iron. These trace elements’ pathways intersect to some extent within the body, and manganese levels can be influenced by iron deficiency anemia. Approximately one-quarter of the body’s manganese is situated within the bones. Besides bones, manganese is present in the brain, liver, pancreas, heart, and kidneys.

Manganese plays a role as a structural component within the manganese superoxide dismutase enzyme (MnSOD), contributing as an antioxidant in the neutralization of oxygen radicals. Additionally, manganese functions as a cofactor in enzymes crucial to the metabolism of amino acids, fats, and carbohydrates. Within the body, manganese takes part in nitrogen metabolism through its involvement in the urea cycle, serves as an activator for the glutamine synthetase enzyme in the production of the neurotransmitter glutamine, and contributes to the generation of mucopolysaccharides necessary for bone formation.

To gauge the body’s manganese levels, examining manganese content in whole blood provides an accurate reflection.


Determining the manganese levels in the body.


5 mL of lithium or sodium heparin blood

Mix the sample well. The tube must not contain any clots. Take trace element samples last in order to cleanse the sampling needle of possible trace element residues. If this is the only test requisition, first take one extra tube. No fasting is needed.

No trace element supplements 12 hours before sampling. 

Storage and delivery

Ship at room temperature on sampling day (shipping Mon-Thu). Store frozen over the weekend, ship at room temperature.


ICP-MS, Accredited method

Turnaround time

10 weekdays

Reference ranges, calculated

women 0.06 – 0.31 μmol/L
men 0.07 – 0.34 μmol/L
The same sample can be used to measure Cu, K, Mg, P, Se and Zn. 

The reference areas have been calculated from the Mineral Laboratory Milan research database. Outliers that significantly differed from the reference distribution were excluded. A mid-percentile range of 90% has been established based on the refined dataset. The most recent update was in 2017.

Interpretation of results

Manganese is found in various foods, including whole grains, legumes, nuts, beets, carrots, and tea. Berries such as blueberries, lingonberries, and cranberries also contain manganese. However, only a small portion, around 5%, of dietary manganese is absorbed by the body. The majority of manganese is excreted through feces, with only a minor portion being eliminated through urine. Interestingly, manganese can cross the placenta, and when inhaled, it can enter the brain via the olfactory nerves located in the nose.

While manganese deficiency is uncommon, a prolonged monotrophic diet can potentially result in a deficiency. When a diet exclusively consists of meat, dairy products, onions, cabbage, and potatoes, manganese intake diminishes. Deficiency symptoms might encompass neurological issues like dizziness and balance disturbances, as well as metabolic disorders affecting processes such as sugar and fat metabolism.

The occurrence of manganese poisoning due to dietary sources or medical treatment is improbable. Nevertheless, elevated levels of manganese might be found in well water. Elevated manganese content in drinking water, especially for children, can pose a risk since high concentrations of manganese are neurotoxic. Consistent exposure to manganese concentrations in drinking water exceeding 100 µg/L can lead to learning difficulties, behavioral disorders, a decline in fine motor skills, and a decrease in IQ among children.

Inhalation of dust containing manganese, as may occur in mining, can result in central nervous system symptoms resembling those associated with Parkinson’s disease.


Last update 8.8.2023