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Home :: Manganese Test

Manganese - Deficiency Test

The manganese test, an analysis by atomic absorption spectroscopy, measures serum levels of manganese, a trace element. Although its function is only partially understood, manganese is known to activate several enzymes - including cholinesterase and arginase - that are essential to metabolism. Dietary sources of manganese include unrefined cereals, green leafy vegetables, and nuts.

Manganese toxicity may result from the inhalation of manganese dust or fumes - a hazard in the steel and dry-cell battery industries - or from ingestion of contaminated water.


  • To detect manganese toxicity

Patient preparation

  • Explain to the patient that this test determines the level of manganese in the blood.
  • Inform him that he needn't restrict food or fluids.
  • Tell him that this test requires a blood sample. Explain who will perform the venipuncture and when.
  • Reassure him that although he may feel some transient discomfort from the needle puncture and the pressure of the tourniquet, collecting the sample takes only a few minutes.
  • Check patient history for use of medications that may influence serum manganese levels, such as estrogens and glucocorticoids.

Procedure and posttest care

  • Perform a venipuncture, and collect the sample in a metal-free collection tube. Laboratories will supply a special kit for this test on request.
  • If a hematoma develops at the venipuncture site, apply warm soaks.
  • Handle the sample gently to prevent hemolysis, and send it to the laboratory immediately.

Reference values

Normally, serum manganese values range from 0.4 to 0.85 ng/ml.

Abnormal findings

Significantly elevated serum levels indicate manganese toxicity, which requires prompt medical attention to prevent central nervous system deterioration. Depressed serum manganese levels may indicate deficient dietary intake, although deficiency hasn't been linked to disease.

Interfering factors

  • Failure to use metal-free collection tube
  • Hemolysis due to rough handling of the sample
  • High dietary intake of calcium and phosphorus (possible decrease due to interference with intestinal absorption of manganese)
  • Estrogen (increase)
  • Glucocorticoids (increase or decrease due to altered distribution of manganese in the body)

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