Molybdenum Overview, Health Benefits, Source Food, Deficiency, Side effects

Molybdenum Overview, Health Benefits, Source Food, Deficiency, Side effects

Molybdenum Overview

A vital mineral, molybdenum is necessary for several important chemical developments within our body. Molybdenum is important because it helps the body make the enzyme xanthine oxidase, which helps the body use its iron reserves, and burning of fat. Without molybdenum, your body cannot grow and develop properly. 

Molybdenum is stored in the body, particularly in the liver, kidneys, glands, and bones. It is also found in the lungs, spleen, skin, and muscles. About 90% of the molybdenum eaten in foods is eliminated by the body through the urine.

It may be mentioned here that molybdenum was discovered for the first time during the medieval times, and eventually scientists have been successful in isolating this mineral in 1893. In fact, researchers have examined the function of molybdenum in our body processes during the last few decades.

The necessity of molybdenum in humans is based on a single report that suggests the possible stimulation of hemoglobin synthesis in the body - when combined with the mineral iron, as part of therapy in individuals affected by anemia. Molybdenum deficiency is not known to occur in humans and animals, while such a scenario is theoretically possible because most of the molybdenum is removed after grains and sugars - common foods - are refined.

There are also reports based on preliminary evidence that point to the importance of molybdenum, possibly because of its involvement in the detoxification of sulfites, this biochemical reaction mediated by molybdenum may actually lower the risk of asthma attacks induced by sulfite reactions. This sensitivity to sulfite must first be evaluated by a nutritionally oriented physician before supervised supplementation of molybdenum can be started.

There is no Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for molybdenum, but a safe and adequate daily intake is 150 to 500 micrograms for all those over age 11. Too much molybdenum is not a good thing, and can cause painfully swollen joints and deplete the body of copper. Other symptoms of molybdenum toxicity include diarrhea and depressed growth rate in children.

Causes  and Symptoms of Molybdenum Deficiency

In fact, people seldom suffer from a deficiency of molybdenum. Molybdenum deficiencies have not been reported in humans even though the element molybdenum is considered to be an essential trace mineral.

While deficiency is rare, those whose diets rely mainly on processed or refined foods might not be getting enough of it for optimal health.  High sulfur intake can also reduce molybdenum levels. 

Symptoms of Molybdenum Deficiency:

  • increased respiratory or heart rate
  • night blindness (difficulty with seeing in the dark)
  • mouth and gum disorders
  • sexual impotence in older males
  • sulfite sensitivity (if molybdenum level is not enough for detoxification)

Good food sources of Molybdenum

For most people, the main source is food.  The richest molybdenum food sources are plants but the nutrient content varies with the amount of it in the soil.

Major molybdenum foods are · garbanzo beans (chickpeas) · pinto beans · dried peas. 

Other good food dietary sources of molybdenum include whole grains (particularly wheat germ), buckwheat, oats, legumes (especially green beans, lentils, peas, soybeans and lima beans), potatoes, dark green leafy vegetables (especially spinach), cauliflower, liver and other organ meats.

Molybdenum Supplements

Taking vitamins and minerals in their correct balance is vital to the proper functioning of all vitamins.  They work synergistically, which means that the effectiveness of any one nutrient requires, or is enhanced, sometimes dramatically, by the presence of certain other nutrients.

For this reason, if you are looking to take supplements for maintenance of optimal health, the recommended approach is to take a multi-vitamin that has the proper balance of all the necessary nutrients your body needs.

For a list of reputable top ranked vitamin and mineral supplements chosen in an independent supplement review, see Best Multivitamin Supplements. Many of these are manufactured to pharmaceutical or nutraceutical GMP compliance, which is the highest multivitamin standard possible.

Keep in mind, however, that while mineral supplements are useful to plug nutritional gaps that are almost inevitable in modern diets, and to ensure we get optimal doses of nutrients, they are no substitute for a good diet. Instead, use them to complement a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Health benefits of Molybdenum

Molybdenum offers numerous health benefits. For instance, together with copper, this element regulates the movement as well as discharge of iron in our body. It may be noted that the function of utilizing iron by the body is vital since iron supplies oxygen to the different organs of the body and this is indispensible for survival. In the absence of molybdenum in our body, all bodily functions would be harmed as they would not be receiving oxygen which is essential for metabolism.

Molybdenum has a detoxifying effect on the body

The trace element molybdenum plays a key role in the formation/activation of aldehyde oxidase. Aldehyde oxidase helps detoxify acetaldehyde which is released as a by-product of yeast, fungi, and alcohol metabolism. Acetaldehyde is a toxic substance that may cause cancer. It also stresses the liver and kidneys and is thought to promote vitamin B deficiency. Furthermore, it inhibits the conversion of linoleic acid into gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an important anti-inflammatory fatty acid that helps fight numerous diseases and health conditions. Acetaldehyde levels are often pronounced in people who suffer from yeast infections and who consume large amounts of alcohol.

It may be noted that the liver regulates the different chemicals present in our body. However, in the absence of molybdenum, it will not be possible for the liver to carry out this function normally. In fact, several scientific phrases as well as chemicals are concerned in this process, but it is imperative to be familiar with the fact that molybdenum facilitates the liver to maintain the right level of these chemicals. In addition, this mineral is also a normal detoxifier for the liver, assisting it in disposing of the waste substances as well as avoiding any ailments of the liver.

Molybdenum is also being tested for cancer treatment

In north-central China the soil is low in molybdenum content and, incidentally, the levels of stomach and oesophageal cancers are exceptionally high. It is believed that this aspect may possibly have resulted in the development of specific carcinogenic (cancer causing) chemicals in plants that are grown on the soil in this region. In fact, supplementing the soil with molybdenum is likely to diminish the instances of cancer among the population in this region. While molybdenum supplements were made available to the residents of this region, they had no impact in improving the levels of cancer. Nevertheless, the experimentation took place comparatively for a brief period of just five years.

In a small study of patients with kidney cancer, it helped slow the rate of tumor growth in some of them, by depleting the body of copper, which is needed for new blood vessel formation.  Researchers believe molybdenum may help other cancer treatments in the same way.

Molybdenum may bring asthma relief

Molybdenum functions as a cofactor for sulfite oxidase (sometimes spelled 'sulphite oxidase'). Sulfite oxidase is an enzyme that assists in breaking down sulfite build-up in the body by transforming sulfites into harmless sulfates. Sulfites are chemicals that are used as preservatives to inhibit browning and discoloration of certain foods. In sulfite-sensitive people these chemicals can cause asthma symptoms that can range from wheezing to a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. In some cases, sulfites may also trigger other allergy-related symptoms such as itching, hives, fainting, and respiratory problems.

Molybdenum may help fight anemia in some cases

Molybdenum may help prevent anemia (anaemia) by helping mobilize iron, provided that your body has enough iron stored. Anemia, a relatively common condition especially in women, is characterized by a lack of healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to different parts of the body. People who suffer from anemia commonly experience fatigue and short of breath. If you suspect you have anemia, you should see a doctor immediately as anemia may be a sign of another, more serious illness.

Other potential health effects of molybdenum

There are claims that molybdenum may also help prevent dental cavities (caries), certain mouth and gum disorders, and sexual impotence in men. However, these claims are not yet supported by definitive research.

In addition, molybdenum assists in the formation as well as the protection of the bones and cartilages in our body. It also helps to maintain the blood sanitized or purified. In the case of children, molybdenum may assist in building, while it facilitates in keeping the adults safe.

Molybdenum can be used to treat inborn errors of metabolism (such as Wilson's disease) where the body cannot process copper.

Molybdenum Side effects and cautions

Molybdenum is possibly unsafe when taken by mouth in high doses. Molybdenum is safe in amounts that do not exceed 2 mg per day. Adults should avoid exceeding 2 mg daily. 

  • For Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Molybdenum is likely safe in amounts that do not exceed the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of 1.7 mg per day for women 14 to 18 years, or 2 mg per day for women 19 and older. It is possibly unsafe when used in high doses. Avoid exceeding 1.7 mg per day for women 14 to 18 years, or 2 mg per day for women 19 and older.
  • For Children: For children, molybdenum is likely safe in amounts that do not exceed the UL of 0.3 mg per day for children 1 to 3 years, 0.6 mg per day for children 4 to 8 years, 1.1 mg per day for children 9 to 13 years, and 1.7 mg per day for adolescents. However, molybdenum is possibly unsafe when taken by mouth in high doses. Children should avoid exceeding 0.3 mg per day for children 1 to 3 years, 0.6 mg per day for children 4 to 8 years, 1.1 mg per day for children 9 to 13 years, and 1.7 mg per day for adolescents.

The intake of high amounts of molybdenum can in rare cases, induce symptoms resembling gout, including problems like swelling and joint pain.

Other symptoms of molybdenum toxicity include dizziness, tiredness, and rashes.  As molybdenum interferes with copper metabolism, too much of it can cause low red blood cell count (anemia) or low white blood cell count, due to lack of copper.

While taking molybdenum supplements seldom results in any type of toxicity, but when there is toxicity, its symptoms may include stunted growth of the bones, firmness as well as distension of the joints, anemia and diarrhea. Although deficiency of molybdenum is a rare issue and the symptoms rarer, insufficient intake of this mineral may result in impotence in mature men and also untimely aging.