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Iodine’s role in child growth, metabolism, and fertility

 Iodine’s role in child growth, metabolism, and fertilityIodine is involved in the body’s production of thyroid hormones, and we humans need plenty of iodine throughout life, especially during periods such as fetal development and child development. Iodine is also important for brain development and cognitive skills. Severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy and during a child’s first years of life may result in stunted growth and/or mental retardation, but there has been uncertainty about how a minor iodine deficiency affects the child before and after birth. In a review article that is published in Nutrients, the authors look closer at iodine’s role in fertility and child growth. Apparently, iodine deficiencies are quite common, and we even need selenium and other nutrients to secure a well-functioning thyroid gland.

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Overview of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids


Overview of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids

Vitamins, minerals, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and Q10 are nutrients that we need in certain quantities in order to support vital body functions.
Nutritional supplements containing vitamins and minerals must be labeled in accordance with the reference values.

This overview serves as general information about the different vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids and how they work.

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the Vitamin and Mineral Guide

Manganese (Mn)

Manganese is an essential nutrient. An adult contains around 10-20 mg of manganese that is evenly distributed throughout the body. Only around five per cent of dietary manganese is absorbed, possibly by means of the same mechanisms as those involved in the uptake of iron. Manganese is mainly involved in different enzymatic systems such as pyruvate carboxylase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) that support the metabolism of macronutrients such as carbohydrate, protein, and fat and also work by neutralising free radicals.

Functions and importance for

  • Energy turnover
  • Antioxidant function
  • Bones and connective tissue

Deficiencies and poor utilisation may be caused by

Rarely seen but may occur in connection with:

  • Large iron intake that inhibits the uptake of manganese

Deficiency symptoms

Apparently, we get sufficient amounts of manganese from our diet. Dietary deficiency symptoms have only been observed in one person who took part in a scientific study. The symptoms observed included:

  • Weight loss
  • Skin rash
  • Nail and hair changes

Epileptics may have low blood levels of manganese.
Disturbances in the carbohydrate metabolism and growth and fertility disturbances have been observed in animal studies.


Mainly whole-grain, nuts, seeds, kernels, almonds, parsley, and other herbs. Beans, garlic, other vegetables, and fruit.

Manganese content in mg per 100 grams

Wheat germ 18
Oats 6
Parsley and dill 3
Walnuts and beans 2
Red beet, broccoli 1

Recommended daily allowance (RDA)

Adults: 11 years of age and older: 2 mg
Children: 1-10 years of age: 1.2 mg

Increased need

Not described

Overdosing - side effects

Not observed with dietary intake or the use of supplements. However, inhalation of large amounts of manganese as an occupational hazard of certain job types (mining, agricultural crop spraying) may cause manganese to accumulate in nerve cells (astrocytes), resulting in the following symptoms (that resemble those observed in Parkinson's disease):

  • Stiff muscles
  • Trembling - even during rest
  • Slow movements


Manganese and many other metals reduce the uptake of tetracyclines (a type of antibiotics) by as much as 50%. For that reason, tetracycline drugs and manganese supplements should be ingested with at least a three-hour interval.

Important information

Manganese is often accompanied by iron in drinking water. A typical signs of this is that the water is ocher-coloured and has a characteristic metal taste. As the two minerals discolour laundry and bathroom sanitary ware it is common practice to remove them from the water. The maximum permitted manganese level in drinking water is 0.05 mg/l.


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