Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mighty Manganese and Sexy Selenium: The Secret Bone-Building Minerals

Micro-minerals with a macro punch.
Earlier this week I wrote about bone-building—emphasizing the right kind of calcium, along with vitamin K and vitamin D. Now, I’m going to focus on two bone-building minerals I didn’t write about then, which I feel are important enough to merit a blog of their very own: manganese and selenium. Both are contained in the Osteo-Key product I use and recommend for optimum bone health.

The truth is, manganese is just as vital as calcium for treating and preventing bone and joint related problems, and is really helpful to your thyroid which I’ll talk about in a moment. It helps to form glucosamine, a very important compound these days that helps restore bone and joint mobility—cartilage can’t repair itself without it. It is also used for treating seizure disorders and it is crucial for treating blood sugar and insulin issues. Manganese is one of the minerals that makes up SOD (superoxide dismutase), a premier bodyguard enzyme that wards off free radical damage. Some of the richest food sources are well-recognized diabetic remedies like cinnamon and turmeric.

Interest in the relationship between manganese and bone health began decades ago in 1980 when it was reported that noted basketball player Bill Walton was able to heal repeated stress fractures to his ankles through trace mineral supplementation, which included manganese. After getting no relief from medical treatment, Bill got a Tissue Mineral Analysis, which showed that he was deficient in manganese. He made a complete recovery after supplementing with trace minerals, and his career with the Portland Trailblazers was back on track.[1]

In addition to helping build strong bones, manganese helps your body metabolize fat and protein and produce the thyroid hormone thyroxine. Now on to selenium.

Selenium, a noteworthy anti-cancer antioxidant is also underrated when it comes to bone metabolism. Selenium deficiency is associated with osteopenia (a pre-osteoporosis condition of reduced bone mass).[2] This really hits home with me because whenever I review Tissue Mineral Analysis reports of those diagnosed with osteopenia, I have consistently found a deficit of selenium. Some rich food sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, walnuts and shitake mushrooms.

Selenium is also a potent heavy metal chelator, and like manganese, it’s food for your thyroid. The enzyme that is known to activate the T4 thyroid hormone is very dependent upon it. This important trace mineral is deficient in most US soils, with the exception of the Dakotas. And, since selenium is included in so many dietary supplements, and many individuals have excessively high levels which can lead to osteopenia, I’ve purposefully kept the daily dose in Osteo-Key at a respectably safe 50 mcg. A Tissue Mineral Analysis can help you determine your own specific selenium needs. I consider the optimum daily dose for adult and children over 14 to be 100-200 mcg.

The health of your bones is a measure of the balance in your life. We can make positive lifestyle and dietary choices that can slow down and eliminate many of the risks of developing both osteoporosis and osteopenia. By improving and supplementing our diets to aid in proper absorption of nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, manganese and selenium, by eliminating unhealthy lifestyle habits, and by participating in regular weight-bearing exercise, we can improve and support our bones. The choice is completely up to us!


-Edge On Health, Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman