A mineral supplement, Manganese helps detoxify Shiga toxin, which is produced by a host of bacteria, including the type of E. coli that killed scores and sickened more than 3,700 people in Europe last year. The finding comes from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and appears in the January 20 Science. Manganese is a chemical element and is found as a free element in nature often with iron and in many minerals. Manganese has been known to be used since the stone ages and it was used in cave paintings.
Although antibiotics can wipe out germs responsible for these infections, such drugs are strongly discouraged. Killing the bugs only expedites their release of Shiga toxin, increasing a patient’s risk of kidney failure, stroke and death. Overuse of antibiotics can also create a high resistance to them and causing them not to work when needed again. MRSA is also blamed for the overuse of antibiotics.
Vascular injury, which is the most dramatic consequence of infection with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, “is likely to be well under way by the time infected patients seek medical attention for diarrhea,” according to researchers. The researchers claim although it can take up to seven days for it to pass between the onset of bloody diarrhea and catastrophic vascular effects, as the toxin breaks out of the gut and begins circulating. So there would probably be a brief window when manganese treatment could save lives.
Overuse of manganese also can cause its own set of problems including chronic low-dose manganese intoxication which is strongly implicated in a number of neurodegenerative disorders including: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It may also play a role in the development of Multiple Sclerosis, restless leg syndrome, and Huntington’s disease. Manganese can be found in some drinking waters and caused intellectual impairment in children from a 2010 study. It is hypothesized that long-term exposure to the naturally occurring manganese in shower water puts up to 8.7 million Americans at risk.
As always before taking any minerals or supplements check with your doctor.