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Molybdenum is an essential trace mineral. This hard-to-pronounce nutrient is also quite unknown to many. There is a high possibility that you haven’t heard of molybdenum but it holds a lot of importance for a healthy human body. 

Even though our body needs it in small amounts, molybdenum works as a key ingredient in several bodily functions. Without the presence of which, life-threatening sulfites and harmful toxins can build up in our body leading to severe health complications.

In this guide, we have covered everything you need to know about this little-known mineral including health benefits, recommended intake, deficiency symptoms, supplements, and more.

Molybdenum – All You Need To Know

Just like iron and magnesium, molybdenum is an integral mineral for the body. It is found in the soil of the earth and gets transferred into the human body through food that is plant-based and through animal meat that comes from animals who have been fed on those plants. The molybdenum content present in various food items entirely depends on the amount of molybdenum present in the soil where that plant was grown.

The human body requires molybdenum in trace amounts and it is plentifully available in various food sources, due to which molybdenum deficiency is rare to find. 

Health Benefits of Molybdenum

A major function of molybdenum is to activate crucial enzymes and help them to break down amino acids. It works in combination with sulfite oxidase which catalyzes amino acids.

Molybdenum is responsible for creating three essential enzymes: aldehyde oxidase, sulfite oxidase, and xanthine oxidase.

Aldehyde oxidase works by breaking down a particularly toxic substance called aldehydes. It breaks it down into acid form so that it can get removed easily. If aldehydes get built up in the body, the toxicity it creates may lead to deadly diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. A good way to reduce the build-up of aldehyde is to reduce the intake of alcohol and fermented food items which is a major factor contributing to its growth.

Breaks down aldehydes, which can be toxic to the body, into acids for removal. Alcohol and fermented foods are big sources of aldehydes, so those should be consumed in small amounts. A buildup of aldehydes may increase the chances of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

Sulfite oxidase prevents deadly sulfites build up in our bodies by breaking down and converting sulfites to sulfates.

Xanthine oxidase is responsible for breaking down purines into uric acid. Again low levels of uric acid which is caused by a deficiency in molybdenum may contribute to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Further, xanthine oxidase controls the overall antioxidant levels in the blood. If the antioxidant level rises in the blood, xanthine oxidase raises an alert by pointing toward problems in the liver.

Ideal Molybdenum Intake Chart

It is a bit tricky to measure molybdenum content in the body as blood and urine do not clearly dictate its status.

Hence, a fair number of studies have taken place to figure out the recommended dietary allowance for molybdenum and it has been found that too much or too little intake is both harmful to the human body.

Refer to the chart below to understand the recommended intake of molybdenum depending on your age.

Molybdenum Intake Chart

Molybdenum Food Sources

As mentioned earlier, the level of molybdenum found in a particular food item depends on the level of molybdenum present in the soil where the food was grown. 

In general, an average American diet contains an above-average level of molybdenum content when compared to the RDA chart.

Foods Rich In Molybdenum

  • Legumes
  • Lentils
  • Whole grains
  • Organ meat like liver and kidney
  • Beans
  • Cereals

Foods Low In Molybdenum

  • Animal products
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

Molybdenum Deficiency & Its Symptoms

Since molybdenum is sufficiently available through an average diet, molybdenum deficiency is an extremely rare condition. It is found as easily as in whole grains and water. 

The human body usually saves up molybdenum, and it requires only a few micrograms to function properly.

However, low levels of molybdenum in the body would impede the proper functioning of enzymes. This would further prevent the human body from breaking down and processing amino acids that contain sulfur.

Molybdenum deficiencies can be quite similar to the symptoms accompanied by sulfur toxicity. It includes issues in the production of uric acid along with a decrease in the processing of sulfur-containing amino acids.

Some studies have also pointed out that people who live in areas where the soil contains low levels of molybdenum run at a high risk of esophageal cancer.

Molybdenum Supplements

Since molybdenum deficiencies are a rare occurrence, it is highly unlikely that regular multivitamin supplements will contain molybdenum content. However, what’s lesser known is the fact that if molybdenum levels go low, it can cause serious health issues in the body because molybdenum holds the responsibility of carrying out various processes of the enzymes.

Molybdenum glycinate is a popular molybdenum supplement that is highly bioavailable. It is highly absorbable by the body through its key component known as glycine which is the inherent amino acid in molybdenum glycinate. Glycine helps absorption by decreasing the acidity level in the small intestine which improves solubility and aids in better absorption.

Overall, molybdenum glycinate works as a cofactor that speeds up the metabolism of sulfites as well as helps detoxify the liver.

It supports sulfite metabolism by actively participating in the process of converting sulfites into sulfate by taking it through the process of oxidation.

Minerals are such an important part of our diet please explore this site to learn more about them.