Manganese is an essential trace nutrient in all forms of life. It is well known for its role in helping the body to maintain healthy skin and bone structure, but also acts as cofactors for a number of enzymes in higher organisms, where they are essential in detoxification of superoxide (O2−, with one unpaired electron) free radicals.Although superoxide is biologically quite toxic and is deployed by the immune system to kill invading microorganisms by utilizing the enzyme NADPH oxidase. Any Mutations in the gene coding for the NADPH oxidase cause an immunodeficiency syndrome.
Superoxide may contribute to aging via the oxidative damage that it inflicts on cells. In larger amounts, manganese can be poisoning to neurological damage which is sometimes irreversible.