What is molybdenum?

Molybdenum is an essential trace element for virtually all life forms. It is present and mainly stored in the liver, kidneys, glands and bones. It is also present in the lungs, spleen, skin and muscles. Molybdenum plays a role as a cofactor for a variety of enzyme functions within the body that are vital for the chemical transformations of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur. Thus, molybdenum dependent enzymes are not only necessary for human health, but for the health of the ecosystem as well.

What is the function of molybdenum?

90% of molybdenum introduced into the body through food is eliminated through urination . The part which is retained participates in the degradation of proteins and othersubstances. In addition, the molybdenum is a component of coenzymes necessary for the activity of four enzymes: sulfite oxidase, xanthine oxidase, aldehyde oxidase, and mitochondrial amidoxime.

Which foods are rich in molybdenum?

Molybdenum is present in milk , cheese, cereals , legumes , nuts, various meats and green leafy vegetables. The molybdenum content of foods depends greatly on the molybdenum content of soils on which the food was grown. In addition, molybdenum is present in varying amounts in certain foods as well as water.  

What is the recommended daily requirement of molybdenum?

There is no recommended daily intake of molybdenum. Levels tend to vary, however, depending on the individual’s age.

  • For infants 0-6 months, daily intake 0.003 to 0.06mg is recommended
  • For infants 6-12 months old,  daily intake 0.04-0.08mg is recommended
  • For infants 1-3 years old, daily intake 0.05-0.10mg is recommended
  • For children 4-6 years old, daily intake 0.06-0.15mg is recommended
  • For children 7-10 years old, daily intake 0.10-0.30mg is recommended
  • For children 11 and older, daily intake 0.15-0.50mg is recommended


What are the consequences of molybdenum deficiency?

Molybdenum deficiency is a rare phenomenon, though when it does occur; it is generally from genetic or nutritional causes. In genetic instances, the consequences can include intellectual disability , seizures , severe hypertension, spasticity and displacement of the eye’s crystalline lens from its normal position (ectopia lentis). Other problems caused by a shortage of molybdenum include tachycardia, tachypnea, headache, nausea, vomiting and coma. Continued molybdenum deprivation causes uric acid to build up in the blood, which brings on horribly inflammed and painful joints. At it worst, molybdenum deficiency can take out the nervous system.

What are the consequences of excessive molybdenum intake?

Too much molybdenum can cause symptoms similar to gout and other problems involving the gastrointestinal tract, liver and kidneys. Excessive molybdenum intake can also cause fatal cooper deficiency. Extra molybdenum will combine with the four sulfur atoms to form  tetrathiomolybdate, which in turn will grab hold of any nearby cooper, in turn blocking the absorption and activity of cooper dependent enzymes.