Specimens collected from healthy, unexposed adults have extremely low levels of manganese (Mn). Because of the high environmental concentration of Mn, contamination is always a possibility when considering elevated results. Precautions must be taken to ensure the specimen is not contaminated. Metal-free serum collection procedures must be followed and centrifuged serum must be aliquoted into an acid-washed Mayo metal-free vial.
Manganese (Mn) is a trace essential element with many industrial uses. Mining and iron and steel production have been implicated as occupational sources of exposure. It is principally used in steel production to improve hardness, stiffness, and strength. Mn is a normal constituent of air, soil, water, and food. The primary non-occupational source of exposure is by eating food or Mn-containing nutritional supplements. Vegetarians who consume foods rich in Mn such as grains, beans, and nuts, as well as, heavy tea drinkers may have a higher intake than the average person. People who smoke tobacco or inhale second-hand smoke are also exposed to Mn at higher levels than non-smokers.
Inhalation is the primary source of entry for Mn, but is also partially absorbed (3%-5%) through the gastrointestinal tract. Only very small amounts of Mn are absorbed dermally. Signs of toxicity may appear quickly, and neurological symptoms are rarely reversible. Mn toxicity is generally recognized to progress through 3 stages. Levy describes these stages. "The first stage is a prodrome of malaise, somnolence, apathy, emotional lability, sexual dysfunction, weakness, lethargy, anorexia, and headaches. If there is continued exposure, progression to a second stage may occur, with psychological disturbances, including impaired memory and judgement, anxiety, and sometimes psychotic manifestations such as hallucinations. The third stage consists of progressive bradykinesia, dysarthrian axial and extremity dystonia, paresis, gait disturbances, cogwheel rigidity, intention tremor, impaired coordination, and a mask-like face. Many of those affected may be permanently and completely disabled." Mn is removed from the blood by the liver where it's conjugated with bile and excreted.
As listed in the United States National Agriculture Library, Mn adequate intake is 1.6 to 2.3 mg/day for adults. This level of intake is easily achieved without supplementation by a diverse diet including fruits and vegetables, which have higher amounts of Mn than other food types. Patients on a long-term parenteral nutrition should receive Mn supplementation and should be monitored to ensure that circulatory levels of Mn are appropriate.