Molybdenum is an essential metal in the body, like iron and magnesium. It is also found in the soil and is transferred to our diet by eating vegetables and through animals that feed on these plants. Although our bodies only need a minimal amount, it is an essential component of many vital functions and without it, clots and toxins form.
Although it is not as well known as the other minerals we have mentioned, molybdenum is a key mineral nutrient found in a variety of foods and is known to play an important role in human health.
It is also essential in soil and ocean chemistry, and the molybdenum content of our food depends significantly on the soil in which the food is grown and the water it absorbs as it grows.
There is little data on the specific molybdenum content of certain foods, as it depends on the soil content.
Although amounts vary, the richest sources are usually beans, lentils, liver and animal kidneys, while smaller amounts are found in other animal products, fruits and many vegetables.
Since our bodies only need trace amounts and it is abundant in many foods, its deficiency is rare.
Molybdenum Food Sources
Molybdenum is absorbed from the soil by plants – mainly in soils characterized by alkaline or neutral pH.
It is then taken up by humans through the food chain. Water contains very little molybdenum, except in areas close to certain mines.
The main sources of molybdenum are milk, dairy products, dried beans, lentils, lentils, peas, whole grains (especially germ), liver and kidneys.
Fruits and vegetables contain small amounts. Molybdenum is also marketed in mineral supplements but, as with other supplements, high dosage can have side effects.
The trace element is absorbed from foods at a rate of 40-100%. From some foods (e.g soy) it is not well absorbed.
It is then carried through the blood loosely bound to red cells. It is found bound mainly by A2-macroglobulin (one of the largest proteins in the blood that carries hormones and enzymes).
|Black-eyed peas, boiled, ½ cup||288||640|
|Beef, liver, pan fried (3 ounces)||104||231|
|Lima beans, boiled, ½ cup||104||231|
|Yogurt, plain, low-fat, 1 cup||26||58|
|Milk, 2% milkfat, 1 cup||22||49|
|Potato, baked, flesh and skin, 1 medium||16||36|
|Cheerios cereal, ½ cup||15||33|
|Shredded wheat cereal, ½ cup||15||33|
|White rice, long grain, cooked, ½ cup||13||29|
|Bread, whole wheat, 1 slice||12||27|
|Peanuts, dry roasted, 1 ounce||11||24|
|Chicken, light meat, roasted, 3 ounces||9||20|
|Egg, large, soft-boiled||9||20|
|Spinach, boiled, ½ cup||8||18|
|Beef, ground, regular, pan-fried, 3 ounces||8||18|
|Pecans, dry roasted, 1 ounce||8||18|
|Corn, sweet yellow, cooked, ½ cup||6||13|
|Cheese, cheddar, sharp,1 ounce||6||13|
|Tuna, light, canned in oil, 3 ounces||5||11|
|Potato, boiled without skin, ½ cup||4||9|
|Green beans, boiled, ½ cup||3||7|
|Carrots, raw, ½ cup||2||4|
|Asparagus, boiled, ½ cup||2||4|
Some of the mineral is transported primarily to the liver and kidneys, and secondarily to the bones and skin. But most of it is converted into enzyme co-factors.
Any excess molybdenum is excreted through the urine and bile.
The mineral acts as an essential enzyme cofactor. In particular, it activates four important enzymes:
Although it is clear that molybdenum is essential for the body, it is difficult to induce symptoms of deficiency in both humans and animals.
This is because it is needed in small quantities. In animal experiments in which large amounts of molybdenum’s antagonist, tungsten, were given, symptoms of deficiency included
- suppression of food consumption,
- reduction in reproductive capacity
- increased copper concentrations in the liver and brain.
Long-term molybdenum deficiency has been observed in some populations and has been associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer.
Recommended Daily Intake
Adult requirements for molybdenum have been estimated at 45 μg (micrograms) per day (source). Average intakes tend to be significantly higher than this value. Recommendations for dietary intake are:
The average daily intake of molybdenum in the US is 76 micrograms for women and 109 micrograms for men. Estimating molybdenum levels in the body is difficult.
Molybdenum Side Effects
In 2001, the US Food and Nutrition Board set the maximum tolerable limits for molybdenum at 2,000 μg (2 mg) per day for adults (19 years and older). The basis for setting the upper limits was the negative effect on reproductive capacity in animals.
Molybdenum is relatively non-toxic. High intakes (10-15 mg per day have been associated with increased blood concentrations of uric acid and an increased incidence of gout due to the action of the enzyme xanthine oxidase. It may also cause reduced bone growth and reduced bone density.
One study found that high intake of the mineral reduces sperm count and fertility in men.
Increased molybdenum levels in the blood were associated to lower testosterone levels in another research. It was linked to a significant 37 percent fall in testosterone levels when paired with low zinc levels.
Finally, high intake may contribute to a reduction in copper bioavailability and alter nucleotide metabolism.
Molybdenum mostly interacts with tungsten and copper. Supplementing with molybdenum causes the body’s copper reserves to be depleted, and it’s been used as a chelating agent in disorders like Wilson’s disease, which causes copper to build up in the body.
The basic conclusion is that you don’t need to be concerned about molybdenum as long as you consume a balanced diet rich in whole foods.