Tuesday, June 7, 2016

High Manganese Surprise

*edit read the update at the end*

What happens if you have too much manganese?
What is manganese? How much manganese does the human body need?

I never would have asked these questions a few months ago, because I had never really heard of manganese then.

After 20 years of increasingly debilitating health problems, I have experienced almost every medical test known to humankind. The one test I had never had is one I finally took upon myself to do- I paid a private lab to do a hair analysis. They tested for 31 items; I was hopeful that there would be a glimmer of help in the results. Instead, the results floored me.

My manganese was high. Not just high, toxically high. Off the charts, scary high. The reference range was 0.08-0.60, and mine was 3.1, over five times what the maximum should be. This is called Magnanism.

Excess Manganese in the human body goes straight to the brain. It causes bipolar-like symptoms (mania, crying), mood changes, depression, decreased cognitive ability, memory loss, confusion, and neurological problems, including Parkinson's-like symptoms. All of which I experience, and have experienced, for decades. Now I know why.

High manganese also affects iron, calcium, and copper levels, causing them to be low. I have been diagnosed anemic more than once, and my doctor was surprised to see my calcium levels low in my blood labs- "I've never seen anyone with low calcium, that just doesn't happen. It's so easy to get enough calcium. This is weird."

Toxic levels of manganese cause your body to stop producing dopamine and seratonin. This explains why nothing I ever did made any impact on my depression. Seratonin and dopamine actually have a lot of functions in the body; all I care about currently is knowing why I cannot feel happy, and that it's not because I wasn't trying hard enough.

Manganese is absorbed through the bowel, typically stored in the liver, kidneys, and bones, and any extra the body doesn't need is excreted through bile. Now, I've been having issues with my liver, kidneys, bones, bowel, and gallbladder (maker of bile) for a long long time. They hurt, they don't function right, and blood tests will show a problem, then a few months later blood tests normal, then next lab they're off again. We think this is caused by the manganese moving between organs; test the liver *this* time, and it happens to have a lot of the manganese, and so liver enzymes are elevated and liver shows distress; test the liver a second time and the manganese is currently in the kidneys, so the liver test looks fine.

The test results going back and forth like that for years has been driving me batty! And causing more than a few doctors to look at me skeptically, wondering what I'm doing that will affect my bloodwork this way. I've been accused of doing drugs, alcoholism, even suffocating myself!

I've done some research on removing toxic levels of manganese, and I think the best option is PAS. It's a piece of aspirin, basically (not like breaking off a piece, more like a molecule), and it has worked very well when given in an IV to not only remove high manganese, but reverse the damage as well. Here is an article about the treatment, including the 'recipe' to use PAS treatment for manganism: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4180660/

At last we have an answer. A piece of it anyway. A friend asked, how did I get high manganese? the answer is, we don't know yet. There is speculation, but nothing concrete. I'm more concerned about getting it out, as quickly and safely as possible. My doctor is currently running blood labs to verify what was found on the hair test. Once the labs are back, we proceed.

Further reading:
http://www.tldp.com/issue/180/Clinical Effects of Mn.html

UPDATE 11/26/17: after much research, I decided to focus on my Liver, as your liver is what removes manganese from the body. I got a "liver tonic" tincture and a milk thistle seed extract, and started taking daily (at night, or I'd be super angry if I took during the day). I also bought powdered beets, as beets are very good for the liver, and added some to my apple juice- which is extremely delicious, and now the only way I like my apple juice. Had new labs drawn, and...drum roll please... MY MANGANESE IS WITHIN LEVEL. In fact, it's on the lower half of the reference range. PLUS and this is the exciting part, I AM NOW MAKING DOPAMINE AND SEROTONIN. They were low, but there, which I'm happy about. And I can be happy about it!! How cool is that?