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Molybdenum Benefits, Food Sources, Deficiency

Molybdenum in nutritional supplements is in the form of either sodium molybdate or ammonium molybdate. Molybdenum in food is principally in the form of the organic molybdenum cofactors. The efficiency of absorption of nutritional supplement forms of molybdenum ranges from 88% to 93%, and the efficiency of absorption of molybdenum from foods ranges from about 57% to 88%. Absorption of molybdenum occurs rapidly from the stomach as well as the small intestine.

Following absorption, molybdenum is transported via the portal circulation to the liver and via the systemic circulation to the other tissues of the body. Molybdate is carried in the blood bound to alpha-macro globulin and by adsorption to erythrocytes. The liver and kidney retain the highest amounts of molybdenum. Within cells, molybdenum participates in the formation of the molybdenum cofactor. Molybdenum is excreted in the urine as molybdate. Some molybdenum is excreted in the bile. Excretion, rather than absorption, is the principal homeostatic mechanism for molybdenum.

Sources of molybdenum

Some natural sources of molybdenum are Meats, whole grains, buckwheat, barley, wheat germ, legumes, lima beans, canned beans and lentils, sunflower seeds, and dark green leafy vegetables

Benefits of molybdenum

Molybdenum acts as a necessary coenzyme required for alcohol detoxification, known as aldehyde oxidase.

Low molybdenum levels may lead to increased allergic reactions to sulfites, preservatives commonly used in salad bars to prevent growth of micro-organisms.

Molybdenum deficiency has been implicated in various types of cancer, particularly esophageal cancer.

Population studies show a correlation between areas of high molybdenum intake and a low rate of tooth decay. It has been shown that molybdenum and fluoride added to drinking water may be more effective than fluoride alone.

Wilsons diseaseis a hereditary disorder characterised by increased storage of copper resulting in damage to the liver and brain. Molybdenum is beneficial in this disorder as it forms a complex with copper and protein and can block copper absorption from the intestine or render blood copper non-toxic.

It also helps to prevent anaemia.

It promotes the sense of well-being.

May protect against stomach and esophagus cancers.

Aids in the metabolization of fats and carbohydrates.

Deficiency symptoms of molybdenum

Deficiency of the molybdenum cofactor (Moco) causes a severe disease in humans that usually results in premature death in early childhood and is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. All of the Moco-dependent enzymes—xanthine dehydrogenase, sulfite oxidase and aldehyde oxidase—are affected. Moco deficiency is rare. Additional signs of this combined enzyme deficiency, are severe neurological abnormalities, dislocated ocular lenses, mental retardation, increased urinary excretion of sulfite, thiosulfate, S-sulfocysteine, taurine, hypoxanthine and xanthine, and reduced serum and urine levels of sulfate and urate. Isolated sulfite oxidase deficiency is also known. This is a rare autosomal-recessive disorder presenting at birth with seizures, severe neurologic disease and lens subluxation.

Inadequate intake of molybdenum may lead to premature aging and impotence in older men.

Symptoms of high intake

Toxicity is rare, but symptoms produced may include stiffness and swelling of the joints, stunted bone growth, diarrhea and anemia.

High intake of molybdenum is antagonistic to copper and can produce a condition in animals known as molybdenosis.

Daily requirement

The RDA for molybdenum is 75 mcg, and recommended use varies from 75-500 mcg.