What is Molybdenum?
Molybdenum is an important mineral which the body needs only in small quantities to maintain health. This essential trace mineral is concentrated mostly in the kidneys, liver, glands, and spinal bones (vertebrae). It is also found, however, in the skin, muscles, lungs, spleen and the tooth enamel.
Molybdenum is present in water and soil, and the mineral content in food depends on the amount of molybdenum found in the soil where they come from. It has been found that people who live in some areas where soil has low amounts of molybdenum suffer from molybdenum deficiency and are more likely to have certain types of cancer than others.
Most of the molybdenum content of food consumed is absorbed in the intestines and exits the body through the urine.
Molybdenum Food Sources
Excellent molybdenum nutrition comes mostly from plant sources but the amount varies with soil content. Plants foods that contain significant amounts of molybdenum include garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), green beans, pinto beans, lentils, and dried peas. Other food sources include pork, beef liver, lamb, eggs, wheat flour, cereal grain, brown rice, sunflower seeds, cucumbers, nuts and leafy, dark green vegetables.
What is Molybdenum Used For?
Molybdenum promotes normal functioning of the cell as well as the whole body. The body uses molybdenum for many important functions, but mainly as a coenzyme that helps catalyze important chemical reactions. It works as an ezyme cofactor for xanthine oxidase, aldehyde oxidase, and sulfite oxidase, which play important roles in metabolizing carbohydrate, utilizing iron, uric acid formation, and liver detoxification.
Molybdenum works with vitamin B2 (riboflavin) to facilitate the incorporation of iron to haemogloblin in the red blood cells, thus preventing anemia and supporting the transport of oxygen in the body.
The body also uses molybdenum to use and metabolize nitrogen, break down amino acids, and facilitate excretion of products of metabolism in the urine.
Molybdenum supplements may be used to treat sensitivity to sulfites, which are used in processed foods, to alleviate allergies and asthma-related sulfite sensitivity. Other molybdenum uses include treatment of Wilson's disease and other inborn errors of metabolism, as well as in the treatment of certain cancers. However, more studies have to be done to confirm its beneficial effects in various conditions such as liver disease, asthma, allergies, insomnia, and more.
Molybdenum deficiency is rare since the body only needs a small amount of it, which can be easily obtained from a normal diet. Most people do not need to take molybdenum supplements, which are only taken in case of deficiency. This can occur in people who have a genetic disorder that reduces their ability to absorb molybdenum from foods. Hospitalized patients who are unable to eat and...