Molybdenum is classified as a metallic component and found broadly in nature in nitrogen-fixing microorganism such as bacteria. Molybdenum is an important mineral for human, animal and plant health. It particularly serves as a vital source of enzymes and aids in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
Humans need a very small proportion of molybdenum, which can be easily attained through a wholesome diet. The deficiency of molybdenum is quite uncommon in the human body. And this is the primary reason why molybdenum supplements are consumed less.
The most important functions of molybdenum is to act as a catalyst for enzymes and to help the breakdown of certain amino acids in the human body. Despite the fact that molybdenum deficiency is rare, symptoms of deficiency include problems with uric acid production. It also involves a lower metabolism rate of sulfur that contains amino acids. (1)
Studies have revealed that populations residing in regions in which the soil has little molybdenum are at a higher risk of esophageal cancer. Molybdenum is a significant mineral nutrient found in a variety of foods and plays an active part in the regulation of body processes.
1. The Antioxidants Of Molybdenum Aid In Cell Protection
Antioxidants are responsible for cell protection while also preventing cell accumulation for aging, cancer, and other chronic conditions. And the antioxidants present in molybdenum are no different.
Molybdenum activates those enzymes in the body that play a significant antioxidant role. These components react with the free radicals found in our body.
Now you should know that free radicals tend to diminish cell function resulting in destroying the cells completely. When there are too many free radicals in the human system, it can lead to severe chronic conditions, including cancer.
So keeping this in mind, the antioxidants of molybdenum neutralize the free radicals to prevent them from damaging healthy cells. (2)
Key Takeaway: The human body is naturally capable of producing free radicals. So it’s important to neutralize their damaging effects. And the antioxidants of molybdenum help in achieving that. Without them, these free radicals tend to multiply and get harder to control even by antioxidants.
2. The Metallic and Chemical Characteristics Of Molybdenum Alleviate Metabolic Diseases
Metabolism is the scientific term used for all chemical reactions that occur in the human body. This helps in producing the energy required to keep cells and microorganisms alive. Metabolism is also responsible for the breakdown of molecules to obtain energy. And that is why the human body relies on metabolism for energy formation. (3)
Now that you know what metabolism is and does, it’s time to state one of the most important functions of molybdenum. This chemical element has excellent metabolic interaction properties.
The chemical as well as metallic tendencies of molybdenum act as an organic catalyst that encourages chain reactions. And this helps in producing energy. Another important point to note here is that the process of oxygen transfer improves to a great extent due to these chain reactions caused by molybdenum.
There are many enzymes in our body that contain molybdenum. The most important one is sulfide oxidase. What this does is activates the conversion of the sulfite compound to sulfate. And this goes a long way in maintaining a healthy metabolism rate of amino acid-containing sulfur.
All this just means that molybdenum plays a significant metabolic role in the body. And this is mainly because of the metallic and chemical characteristics of the trace mineral.
Key Takeaway: Metabolism is responsible for energy formation. And molybdenum is responsible for healthy metabolism. The chemical element has a distinctive metabolic property that activates chain reactions to produce energy. So diets containing molybdenum are essential for healthy and balanced metabolism activity.
3. Molybdenum Offers Protective Benefits Against Cancer
Cancer affects our cells, which are the basic building blocks of the body. Generally, our body produces new cells as and when we need them, replacing the old, damaged cells. Any change in this cycle is a sign of cancer. And at such times, new cells develop when our body doesn’t need them. While the old, damaged cells continue to live for a longer time.
This is what bring molybdenum into the picture. The trace mineral is an essential component found in soil that prevents the growth of cancer causing agents, known as nitrosamines, in green foods.
A study conducted to determine different causes of various types of cancers has revealed that an insufficient level of molybdenum in soil is a major cause of cancer. It's believed that the absence of molybdenum in soil affects the growth of plants. The enzyme, nitrosamine found in plants tends to grow abundantly if the molybdenum content is not sufficient. And this encourages the development of more nitrosamine cells. (4)
Another study reveals that molybdenum correlates positively when it comes to female mortality related to esophageal and pancreatic cancer. (5)
Key Takeaway: The elements present in molybdenum are responsible for preventing the formation and growth of cancerous tumors located in the bloodstream. Moreover, it is also believed that the mortality rate of humans suffering from cancer, especially women, decreases by the proper use of molybdenum.
4. Molybdenum Activates Enzymes For Waste Removal
The waste removal or excretory system is a set of organs that eliminate waste products from the body. While cells in the body break down proteins (massive molecules that are vital for healthy structure and functioning of cells), they produce waste which includes urea. This is a chemical compound containing carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen.
When cells disintegrate carbohydrates, they produce water and carbon dioxide as waste products. There are many different systems in our body that are responsible for excretion. And the kidneys are considered to be the most important ones. So when the kidneys and other organs fail to perform the function properly, the waste products keep building up in the body. Such an unhealthy activity tends to endanger human life.
So in such cases, what molybdenum does is activates the urinary system. This helps in the proper removal of water, urea, and other waste products from the body in the form of urine. In fact, it also encourages other excretory organs such as the pores and skin to get rid of unwanted waste in the form of sweat.
Molybdenum does an excellent job at removing nitrogen waste from the body through the formation of uric acid. It is also responsible for metabolizing drugs in our system. This helps the body utilize all the useful elements while pushing out the unwanted compounds in the form of urine. (6)
Key Takeaway: Excessive toxic waste in the body is highly dangerous. So in this context, molybdenum encourages a process that activates waste removal enzymes. This means that an optimal level of molybdenum has the ability to push out waste particles from the body in the form of urine.
5. Molybdenum Supports The Immune System To Prevent Anemia
Anemia is a disease in which our blood contains an insufficient amount of red blood cells. This is usually a result of inappropriate proportions of hemoglobin found in the red blood cells. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that is responsible for the red color of our blood. This iron-rich protein assists red blood cells in carrying oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body.
The ill-effects of anemia include tiredness or weakness. There are other symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, and headaches. (7)
When it comes to dealing with such a condition, molybdenum goes a long way in supporting the immune system. It encourages the immune system to fight against and overcome the disease. Failing to treat the condition might lead to the formation of other autoimmune diseases while disrupting the body’s capacity to fight against toxins and bacteria.
Molybdenum fights the condition of anemia by actively mobilizing iron already found in the human system. You all know by now that anemia is a common disease characterized by an insufficient supply of healthy red blood cells. These cells are extremely vital as they are required for transferring oxygen to the rest of the body.
Having said that, molybdenum interacts with the vitamin B2 or riboflavin content of the body to infuse iron and hemoglobin. And such an activity contributes to the healthy development of sufficient red blood cells. (8)
Key Takeaway: Diets rich in protein such as meat or soy contain high volumes of molybdenum. This prevents the use of iron pills along with blood transfusions and surgeries to treat anemia. Molybdenum is found in various dietary items and acts as a cheap and effective source to prevent anemia.
6. Molybdenum Helps Control Inflammatory And Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune ailments can have an effect on almost any part of the body. This includes the nervous system, heart, tissues, skin, joints, etc. along with respiratory, digestive, and excretory systems.
The typical sign of an autoimmune disease is infection or inflammation. Such symptoms often gives rise to pain, redness, swelling, and high temperature.
How an autoimmune disease influences you depends on the type of the condition. If the sickness impacts the joints, as in rheumatoid arthritis, you might experience joint stiffness, loss of function, and pain. If it affects the thyroid, as in thyroiditis or Graves’ sickness, it has the ability to cause tiredness, muscle aches, and weight loss. And in cases of scleroderma/systemic sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and vitiligo, it produces blisters and rashes. (9)
When something damaging or threatening attacks our body, there is an automatic and natural biological response to counter it. But in order to fight these inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, minerals like molybdenum are necessarily required by the human body. (10)
Tetrathiomolybdate is nothing but a form of molybdenum that contains four sulfur atoms. These components drop the copper levels in the body. And this, in turn, has proven to be incredibly effective in the treatment of autoimmune, fibrotic, and inflammatory diseases.
Tetrathiomolybdate significantly restrains the formation of pulmonary and liver fibrotic. Such a restriction goes a long way in preventing liver damage from acetaminophen and reducing heart damage from doxorubicin (an antibiotic). (11)
Key Takeaway: Maintaining an optimal level of molybdenum is easier because it is widely present in our daily diet. However, its deficiency might lead to the development of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Different forms of molybdenum tend to provide life-changing benefits such as strong anti-inflammatory responses and strengthening of the immune system.
7. Molybdenum Activates Sulfite Oxidase To Treat Asthmatic Allergies
Shortness of breath means asthma, right? It is a disease which affects the airways that are responsible for carrying oxygen to and from your lungs. Patients who experience this condition are said to be asthmatic.
The causes of asthma are unclear because some people suffer from the disease but others don’t, despite living in the same environment. It’s a universal truth that asthma is nothing but a result of some sort of allergy triggered by any stimulant.
These causes include pollen, mold spores, pet dander, dust mites, cockroach waste, or common cold.
In relation to this, molybdenum consists of detoxifying sulfites that have the capacity to alleviate the risks involved with sulfite-triggered asthma. (12)
The body's initial reaction against harmful chemicals is activated by an enzyme known as sulfite oxidase. So what molybdenum does is enhance the production and discharge of sulfite oxidase. This activity reduces the lethal chemical effects of germs when they interact with the body.
This means that when the body doesn’t receive sufficient amounts of molybdenum, sulfite oxidase ceases to function properly.
Molybdenum is responsible for the proper functioning of sulfite oxidase. So breaking down sulfite present in your system is one of its primary goals. The mineral has the ability to convert sulfite into sulfate, which is not harmful to the body in any way. (13)
Key Takeaway: In an attempt to combat sulfite-activated asthma, it’s important to consume diets that are rich in molybdenum. These types of food include lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, lima beans, whole grains, potatoes, oats, buckwheat, and green leafy veggies.
8. Molybdenum Helps Increase Detoxification In The Body
Detoxification is the process of purifying the body from toxins. One of the most effective treatments used as an alternative to medicine is detoxification. Now we all know that diseases are brought about by the gathering of lethal substances (toxins) in the body. So eliminating these existing toxins and keeping away from new toxins are fundamental parts of the process of detoxification.
Detoxification is useful for people experiencing diseases and conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, joint pain, asthma, coronary illness, migraines, elevated cholesterol, low glucose levels, emotional instability, etc.
All these symptoms play a major role in detoxification. Because of the accumulated toxins in the body, the way you eat and perform can be greatly affected. Hence, an increase in molybdenum goes a long way in reducing bacterial and toxic responses. These responses are the causes of inflammatory symptoms. And molybdenum does a great job at minimizing the adverse effects of such symptoms.
The mineral plays a major part in the arrangement of the component aldehyde oxidase. You should know that aldehyde oxidase has the ability to detoxify acetaldehyde, which is discharged by yeast and liquor digestion. (14)
Acetaldehyde is a poisonous substance that leads to the formation of tumors, especially in the kidneys and liver. It also minimizes the level of vitamin B in the body. And that is what molybdenum works hard to prevent. (15)
So it’s best to incorporate molybdenum in your daily diet to keep your system free from harmful elements present in the kind of food and drinks we consume.
Key Takeaway: It’s safe to say that molybdenum does more than just help with detoxification. The mineral’s excellent capacity to minimize the ill-effects of liquor and yeast digestion goes a long way in preventing the development of tumors.
9. Molybdenum Is A Powerful Cofactor For Multiple Enzymes
Molybdenum functions as a cofactor for many enzymes that speed up vital compound changes. These changes are important for the well-known carbon, sulfur, and nitrogen cycles of the body. The presence of molybdenum is essential for enzymes including xanthine oxidase, sulfite oxidase, and aldehyde oxidase. (16)
In the human body, xanthine oxidase is mainly present in the liver. When the liver is subjected to harm or damage, xanthine oxidase is discharged in the blood. This tends to contaminate the blood stream. And if an excessive quantity is detected, then that points to severe liver problems. (17)
So in such cases, molybdenum is responsible for keeping the level of xanthine oxidase in check. Now let’s talk about sulfite oxidase, which is in charge of separating sulfites.
The thing about sulfite oxidase is that this enzyme is directly related to our neurological health. The lack of an adequate level of sulfite oxidase leads to extreme nervous system issues. This extends to mental hindrances and constricted cerebrum development.
To address these issues, molybdenum acts as a cofactor for sulfite oxidase. That means it is essential for the healthy formation of sulfite oxidase in the body. (18)
Lastly, aldehyde oxidase is nothing but molybdenum’s solvent compound found in the liver and other tissues. This particular enzyme is responsible for both the oxidation of aldehydes along with nitrogen mixes.
Key Takeaway: Molybdenum is useful for the treatment of genetic metabolic disorders caused due to enzymatic problems. Being a cofactor for enzymes such as xanthine oxidase, sulfite oxidase, and aldehyde oxidase, molybdenum is an essential element for the human body.
10. Molybdenum Sulfur Content Offers Nutritive Benefits
Sulfur is a component of immense significance to our wellbeing. Yet our diets don’t contain an optimal level of sulfur amino acids. What sulfur does is detoxify unwanted contaminants from the system. Without sulfur, it’s almost possible for the body to get rid of numerous contaminants. (19)
And this is when it needs molybdenum. This particular mineral boosts the sulfur levels to prevent the formation of cancer and promote cell reinforcement. The characteristics of molybdenum play a significant role in healthy structuring of the connective tissues.
By now, we already know enough about sulfite oxidase, don’t we? The primary function of molybdenum sulfite oxidase is to transform sulfite into sulfate. This might sound basic but it has far-reaching benefits. (20)
Molybdenum goes a long way in supporting liver detoxification. All thanks to its ability to act as a cofactor for sulfite oxidase. Tissue improvement and cell reinforcement are the other two important functions of sulfur. And the presence of molybdenum in the body encourages sulfur to achieve that in the most efficient manner.
Key Takeaway: Sulfur is considered to be of great importance but we tend to ignore that. However, as described above, molybdenum provides the body with an optimal level of sulfur. Becuase without sulfur, the different enzymes present in our body cease to function properly.
5 Delicious Molybdenum Recipes
Luckily, molybdenum is found in unfiltered water, and additionally a wide assortment of nourishments, including beans, cheddar, grains, verdant green vegetables, nuts and organ meats. Since the amount of molybdenum is plant-based, so it fluctuates as indicated by the measure of the substance in the dirt.
A common deficiency of molybdenum is rarely seen in people living a healthy lifestyle. So if you are consuming a normal diet, you don’t need to worry about its deficiency. Like other minerals, any proof for the degeneration of molybdenum is not seen when it is cooked as a food item.
An overdose of this mineral is also possible through different eating habits, even water. Anyone using its supplement should not surpass the dosage recommended. Consultation by a nutritionist or a doctor is essential before taking supplements.
Due to the importance and benefits offered by molybdenum, it can be used for cooking tasty dishes as given below.
1. Pea Soup with Salmon
Peas, especially split peas are excellent sources of soluble fiber, protein and molybdenum.
300 gms split peas
2 chopped carrots
2 chopped celery stalks
1 large chopped onion
6 tsp of lemon juice
6 tsp of dill
350 gms crumbled salmon
Put all ingredients in a pot such as the peas, carrots, celery, and onion. Leaving just the lemon juice, dill and salmon and bring to a boil.
Cook for 35-40 minutes. Stir continuously to maintain consistency.
Next, combine with the lemon juice, dill and half of salmon and cook for 3-5 minutes.
Pour soup into bowls and garnish well with the remaining salmon.
2. Swiss Chard Rich in Molybdenum
In the family of leafy greens, swiss chard is in between spinach and kale. But like spinach, it is rich in molybdenum and can be cooked in just a few minutes.
1 kg fresh swiss chard
6 tsp of olive oil
1 sliced garlic clove
pinch crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp of coriander seeds
Rinse and cut the Swiss chard stalk into 1-inch pieces and set aside the remaining stalks and leaves.
On medium heat, cook olive oil in a pan and combine with garlic and red pepper.
Next, combine with garlic slices and coriander seeds. Cook for 30 seconds.
Now add Swiss chard stalks and cook on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
Toss the chard leaves with oil and garlic. Cook for at least 4. Serve fresh
3. Cheese with Grilled Bacon
This cheese with grilled bacon recipe will satisfy your tastebuds and leave you wanting more.
8 slices of wheat bread
6 tsp of butter
8 slices cheddar cheese
8 slices cooked, halved bacon
4 large tomatoes
6 tsp of spicy brown mustard
Heat a large pan over medium heat.
Spread butter evenly on all the bread slices, both sides.
Place the bread buttered side down on the pan.
On top, add layers of 4 cheese slices, bacon, tomato, and the remaining 4 cheese slices.
Place the other bread slice on top of the layers.
Let it cook for at least 6 minutes both sides till golden brown.
4. Mutton Liver with Onion
Although all types of meat deliver molybdenum, but liver has the highest score in molybdenum quantity. This recipe of liver is mouth-watering with minimal cleanup.
6 tsp of butter
1 chopped onion
2 tsp of raw sugar
½ kg mutton livers
100 gm flour
3 tsp of butter
salt and pepper
Melt some butter over medium heat. Stir in onion and cook until softened. Combine with the sugar and cook until onion browns.
Rinse the liver well before cooking. Slice it into thick slices of about an inch thickness.
Heat remaining butter in a medium pan. Roll liver slices in flour and brown in melted butter.
After browning sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
Make sure the liver is cooked well with brown onions. Remove from heat and serve hot with cooked rice.
5. Honey Candied Baked Almonds
Nuts are rich sources of most healthy minerals but when candied with honey, they taste extraordinary! Candied Almonds are rich in molybdenum and can be consumed at any time of the day!
60 ml honey
3/4 tsp of crushed cinnamon
1/4 tsp of crushed ginger
200 gms almonds
6 tsp of sugar
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 325 F. Spread a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Low heat honey, cinnamon and ginger in a pan and mix until well-combined.
Add almonds and mix well to coat almonds. Set aside to combine with sugar and salt.
Spread honey coated almonds on the baking sheet and bake for at least 15 minutes.
Cool at room temperature by tossing well a couple of times.
Wrapping It Up
Microscopic organisms (bacteria) are the mixture of molybdenum, iron, and sulfur. They settle nitrogen from the environment to make ammonia. Which at a later stage is used by plants to make proteins. Higher plants utilize molybdenum to help them utilize different sorts of nitrogen mixes other than to make proteins. Animals and humans utilize molybdenum to prepare amino acids and bases of DNA they process out of food.
Entire grains (especially wheat germ), buckwheat, oats, vegetables (particularly green beans, lentils, peas, soybeans and lima beans), potatoes, dull green verdant vegetables (particularly spinach), cauliflower, liver and other organ meats are great dietary wellsprings of molybdenum.
Only a few studies have been conducted on humans to indicate that dietary lack of molybdenum can bring about issues in detoxification, cancer prevention, or cerebrum and sensory system. But it is also thought very low consumption of molybdenum over stretched periods of time would put individuals at danger of issues including imbalanced sulfur digestion.
Molybdenum is a critical nutrient for all humans. The most important role of this mineral is that it plays a part in activating many enzymes. It is also believed that there are more than 50 enzymes containing molybdenum and this number is still on the rise.
Moving forward, the nutritive and cofactor value of molybdenum cannot be denied. Although, its deficiency is rare but possibility of deficiency cannot be struck off. However, it’s easily available in many dietary elements but its supplements are also available in the market to increase the required body level of molybdenum.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.