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

October 3, 2013
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

bone building mineralsMicro-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.

Mighty Manganese

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.

Sexy 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. This important trace mineral is deficient in most US soils, with the exception of the Dakotas. 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. 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!



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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. OscarCluis Chavarria Ayestas

    It is an excellent article. The way is written shows the professional quality of its author. Thanks for your information.

    • Kristapilot124@gmsil.com

      Yes, it was. It was a nice article, I have to also agree, thanks for your first in the line reply,I found it because I had to do some reading over the cell phone, about selenium ..


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