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Molybdenum 

Other name(s):

ammonium molybdate

General description

Molybdenum is an essential element. It’s a co-factor for several enzymes. It is stored mainly in the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, brain, and muscles.

Molybdenum is a part of several enzyme systems. These enzymes are in charge of the breakdown of xanthine, hypoxanthine, and sulfite. They also break down and detoxify many harmful compounds.

The ability of your body to store molybdenum varies with intake levels. It’s affected by the amount of copper and sulfate in your diet.

Unsubstantiated claims

There may be benefits that have not yet been proven through research.

Molybdenum may help treat arthritis. Studies are also looking to see if it can treat some types of cancers and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Recommended intake

Molybdenum is measured in micrograms (mcg). The daily RDA is the Recommended Dietary Allowance.

Group

RDA

Infants (0–6 months)

2 mcg*

Infants (7 months to 1 year)

3 mcg*

Children (1–3 years)

17 mcg

Children (4–8 years)

22 mcg

Children (9–13 years)

34 mcg

Children (14–18 years)

43 mcg

Adults (19 years and older)

45 mcg

Pregnant and lactating women

50 mcg

*Adequate Intake (AI). This is based off the average intake of healthy breastfed infants.

Foods that have molybdenum include legumes, cereals, and leafy vegetables.

Molybdenum levels in plants vary. They depend on the amount in the soil in which they were grown.

Molybdenum deficiency is very rare. It only occurs due to a serious, underlying issue.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

Too much molybdenum can cause a gout-like syndrome. Symptoms can include high levels of molybdenum in your blood, uric acid, and xanthine oxidase.

You shouldn’t take molybdenum supplements if you have gallstones or kidney problems.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare providers before taking any supplements.

Molybdenum supplements can cause a copper deficiency. This is because molybdenum drives copper from body tissues.

Online Medical Reviewer: Diane Horowitz MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2019