Hair Manganese (Manganese) levels generally reflect exposure to Manganese, but external contamination can influence hair Manganese. High hair Manganese can be an artifact of contamination from: permanent solutions, dyes, bleaches, and well water (containing high Manganese). These possibilities should be considered and ruled out before proceeding with therapies to alleviate excess Manganese.
Manganese is an essential element which is involved in the activation of many important enzymes.
However, Manganese excess is postulated to result in glutathionyl radical formation, reduction of the free glutathione pool, and increased exposure of adrenal catecholamines (e.g. dopamine) to free radical damage. Excess Manganese causes degeneration of melanin-pitmented dopaminergic neurons which results in abnormally low levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. This is hypothesized to be a reason behind the neurotoxic effects attributed to Manganese overload.
The brain is particularly affected by Manganese excess. Symptoms or conditions consistent with excessive Manganese include: disorientation, memory loss, anxiety, hypotonia, abnormal gait, emotional instability, and bipolar-like behaviors (laughing and crying), aberrant or violent behaviors, and tremor or Parkinson-like symptoms.
Causes of Manganese excess include: occupational or environmental exposures, contaminated teas, MMT (gasoline additive), coal-fired power plants,contaminated drinking water, some street drugs (cocaine products), and smoking. Conditions predisposing to Manganese excess are: iron or calcium deficiency, chronic infection, and impaired liver function (e.g. biliary obstruction) or disease. Manganese excess is occasionally associated with alcoholism.
Confirmatory tests for Manganese excess include whole blood and a comparison of urine Manganese pre- and post Ca-EDTA.
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