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What is molybdenum?

Molybdenum is a trace element, a mineral that is an essential nutrient to human life and health.

The chemical symbol for molybdenum is Mo.

Molybdenum Functions

In the human body molybdenum is required for the metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine [1].

Foods High in Molybdenum

Foods high in molybdenum include legumes, grains, nuts, leafy vegetables, milk, cheese and organ meats [2].

How much molybdenum do you need?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for molybdenum for adults is 50 mcg/day [1]. There is about 90 mcg/day of molybdenum in the average America diet.

Molybdenum Deficiency

Molybdenum deficiency due to low dietary molybdenum intake is not known [1]. The fact that molybdenum is essential for human health is known from the study of two very rare genetic diseases in which inactivity of molybdenum-dependent enzymes was associated with severe brain damage [1]. In a China region Linxian with low amounts of molybdenum in the soil (and consequently high levels of a carcinogen nitrosamine in plants), there is 10 times more gastric and esophageal cancer than in other parts of China; molybdenum supplements did not help to prevent these cancers [1].

Molybdenum Supplements

Molybdenum supplements sodium molybdate and ammonium molybdate in the form of tablets and intravenous injection are intended to treat or prevent molybdenum deficiency, not for use by healthy people.

Molybdenum Benefits

There is INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE about effectiveness of molybdenum supplements in prevention or treatment of acne, allergies, anemia, asthma, Bell’s palsy, dental caries, esophageal and other cancers, eczema, gout, HIV/AIDS, insomnia, liver disease, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, sulfite sensitivity, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Wilson’s disease or yeast infections or in stimulating libido [3].

Molybdenum Toxicity

The Upper Tolerable Intake Level (UL) for molybdenum–the amount that should not cause side effects– for adults is 2 mg/day [1].

According to one study, molybdenum toxicity with gout-like symptoms supposedly resulted from consuming 10-15 mg of molybdenum per day by food by Armenian people from the area with high amounts of molybdenum in soil; in another study, a man consuming 300-800 mcg supplemental molybdenum for 18 days developed hallucinations [1].

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