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Molybdenum is another trace element (micronutrient or small molecule) required to activate various chemical reactions involved in the body’s excretion of metabolic waste (from cell functioning) and certain drugs. 

Roles

What does molybdenum do? 

Molybdenum plays a role in: 

  • Eliminating uric acid;
  • Ensuring bone growth and strong teeth;
  • Metabolizing iron (antianemic factor);
  • Preventing erectile dysfunction;
  • Preventing esophageal tumors;
  • Preventing cavities.

Needs

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for molybdenum is expressed in µg/day. 

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
Age
µg/Day
Infants
0 to 6 months
2µg*
6 to 12 months
3µg*
Children
1 to 3 years
13µg
4 to 8 years
17µg
Preteens
9 to 13 years
26µg
Teens
14 to 18 years
33µg
Adults
Age 19 and up
34µg
Pregnant women
 
40µg
Nursing mothers
 
36µg

Source: DRI, Dietary Reference Intakes, 2006, p. 356.

*(AI) = Adequate intake for those two age groups.

Sources

The amount of molybdenum in foods of plant origin depends on the composition of the soil in which these foods were grown. Legumes, grain products, and nuts contribute the most to dietary intake of molybdenum. Foods of animal origin, fruits, and most vegetables contain a small amount of molybdenum. 

Food Sources for Molybdenum: 

Animal and vegetal food's origin
20 to 90µg of molybdenum for a 100g portion
Breads
Whole grain cereals
Offal
Leafy green vegetables
Legumes
Beans
Garlic
Walnuts
Celariac

Source: Dietary Reference Intakes, 2006, p.359.

Deficiency

  • No molybdenum deficiency has been observed in healthy individuals;
  • A rare deficit may occur in people who receive intravenous feeding.

Signs of molybdenum deficiency: 

  • Palpitations;
  • Headaches;
  • Ocular disease;
  • Mental disorders;
  • Sexual impotence;
  • Gum and tooth disorders;
  • Irritability;
  • Gout.

Indications

Benefits of molybdenum: 

  • Effective against certain types of migraines, by eliminating sulfites (possible);
  • Helps prevent anemia (possible);
  • Helps prevent gout (uncertain).

Adverse effects

Excess molybdenum is only slightly toxic to humans as it is rapidly excreted in the urine. 

Signs of excess molybdenum: 

  • Muscle disorders.

Molybdenum poisoning can be treated with copper, a molybdenum antagonist. 

Cons-indications

  • People presenting copper deficiency or any sort of change in copper metabolism leading to deficiency may be more sensitive to molybdenum poisoning;
  • People suffering from kidney failure.

Additional information

Speak with your pharmacist if you plan to take molybdenum supplements. Your pharmacist can help you choose the solution that’s best for you based on your health and any drugs you take.

Other names

Molybdenum, Mo