Molybdenum is an essential trace mineral and may be useful in the treatment of certain cardiovascular conditions, asthma, allergies and mercury toxicity. Because of its involvement with sulfur, it may be warranted for use in cases of asthma that are associated with sulfite sensitivity.
is a vital part of three important enzyme systems – xanthine oxidase, aldehyde oxidase, and sulfite oxidase – and so has a vital role in uric acid
metabolism, and sulfite detoxification.
Xanthine oxidase helps in the production of uric acid, an end product of protein (purine
) metabolism. Xanthine oxidase may also help in the mobilization of iron from liver
Aldehyde oxidase helps in the oxidation of carbohydrates
and other aldehydes, including acetaldehyde produced from ethyl alcohol.
is a trace mineral
. Found sparingly in the earth's crust, it is concentrated in milk and milk products, dried legumes, organ meats (liver
) and some cereals. The amount of molybdenum in plant foods varies significantly and is dependent upon the mineral content of the soil. The best sources of this mineral are beans, dark green leafy vegetables, and grains. Hard tap water can also supply molybdenum to the diet. Molybdeum is also available as a supplement.
Function; Why it is Recommended
Since molybdenum's activities in humans are so newly known, it does not have wide usage. Even the uses suggested in some nutritional texts are under question and require more research.
In the soil and possibly in the body, as the enzyme nitrate reductase, molybdenum
can reduce the production or counteract the actions of nitrosamines
, known cancer-causing chemicals, especially in the colon
. Found more in molybdenum-deficient soils, nitrosamines have been associated with high rates of esophageal
There are few research findings to suggest that molybdenum
may play a role in preventing cancer and definitely none to suppport its use in cancer treatment.
Adding molybdenum to the soil and diet has helped reduce the incidence of esophageal
cancer in the Lin Xian area of China's Hunan Province, which had the highest incidence in the world of this deadly disease. It is unlikely, however, that lack of molybdenum in the soil and, thus, in the diet was a direct cause of the cancer; it was probably due to the production of nitrosamines
in the soil that could not be metabolized because of a deficiency in the plants' roots activity of the molybdenum enzyme, nitrate reductase. Both vitamin C
, which helps detoxify nitrosamine
, and nitrate reductase, which needs molybdenum to function, can help reduce the levels of this carcinogenic
chemical as it has done for the Chinese esophageal
cancer rates secondary to low soil molybdenum. It is also possible that molybdenum can help protect the body from nitrosamine formation after consumption of foods high in nitrates or nitrites, such as lunch meats.
The suggestions that it protects the teeth from dental caries and that it prevents sexual impotence are not yet supported by definitive research.
Sulfites in the urine are indicative of molybdenum need. Urine sulfite dipsticks are available from Meridian Valley Laboratory which can be found on our links page
inhibits the intestinal absorption of copper
, it may be wise to balance molybdenum supplementation with copper supplements. Both molybdenum and copper can cause deficiency in the other.
Molybdenum by IV
administration stimulates sulfite metabolism but it is not very effective orally; oral use should therefore be with the most effective chelates available, such as molybdenum picolinate at 1-3mg per day.
No official USRDA exists for molybdenum, as true deficiencies are rare.