| Food & Diet

The Benefits Of Molybdenum

By Tyler Woodward

Contents:

What Is Molybdenum?:

Molybdenum is a trace mineral, meaning that it is required in very small quantities in the body. Molybdenum plays a few roles in the body aiding in the detoxification of copper, and toxins among a handful of other processes. Molybdenum is absorbed through the intestines where it heads predominantly to the liver and kidney where it is integrated into a number of enzymes. If molybdenum is consumed in excess it is detoxified and excreted through the kidneys being released in the urine.

Functions Of Molybdenum:

Molybdenum is known to be involved in four enzymatic reactions in the body:

  1. Sulfite Oxidase - This enzyme converts sulfite (SO2-) to sulfate (SO3-) which can readily be detoxified and excreted from the body. Sulfite oxidase is necessary for the body to be able to break down the sulfur-containing amino acids like methionine and cysteine. If this enzyme is not functioning properly this can result in conditions like hypermethioninemia or hyperhomocysteinemia in which an excess of these amino acids are in the blood.  Sulfite oxidase may also play a role in forming nitric oxide from nitrate.
  2. Aldehyde Oxidase - Aldehyde oxidase is an enzyme that breaks down aldehydes in the body. Aldehydes are a consequence of metabolizing substances such as alcohols and must be detoxified from the body because they are extremely reactive and toxic in the body. 
  3. Xanthine Oxidase - This enzyme converts xanthine into uric acid, xanthine is produced from the metabolism of nucleotides (purines or pyrimidines) like DNA and RNA. Uric acid is a potent antioxidant in the body that helps to combat oxidative stress. 
  4. Mitochondrial Amidoxime Reducing Component - The exact enzymological functions of this enzyme aren’t known, but it’s believe to play a few roles in the body including detoxification of drugs and toxins.
  5. Forms TetraThiomolybdate - This drug complexes with dietary copper and prevents the absorption of it and also complexes with unbound copper in the blood preventing it from causing excess oxidative stress. This drug is used to treat Wilson’s disease.

Molybdenum Deficiencies And Toxicities:

Molybdenum deficiencies are believed to be extremely uncommon and have only been officially recognized in a handful of extreme medical cases. More common are cases of genetic disorders which prevent the proper formation of the molybdenum enzymes thereby preventing molybdenum in its role of detoxification. 

Molybdenum toxicities are extremely rare because its nearly impossible to naturally consume too much molybdenum for our body to handle as it’s only found in the soil in very finite quantities. The upper tolerable limit for the molybdenum is about 2,000 mcg per day while the recommended daily allowance is 45 mcg. 

Best Food Sources Of Molybdenum:

Food sources of molybdenum largely vary depending on the amount of molybdenum in the soil. In one small region of China where esophageal cancer was found to be 100X as common compared to the US it was found that their soil levels contained very small amounts of molybdenum which is believed to have been related to the high prevalence of esophageal cancer.

Generally molybdenum is found in the highest quantities in:

  • Organ Meats - Specifically liver and kidney
  • Dairy Products
  • Eggs
  • Grains
  • Nuts
  • Legumes

*Muscle meats, fruits and most vegetables generally contain an insignificant amount of this mineral

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