Why Molybdenum Is an Essential Nutrient

Why Molybdenum Is an Essential Nutrient?

Molybdenum (Mo) is one of the most abundant elements in our world. It is found everywhere: in rocks, soil, water, air and food. Mo exists at all temperatures from absolute zero (-273°C or -459°F) to over 100 °C (212 °F). It is present in all forms of matter, including humans. Mo is essential for life. Without it, we would not exist.

The mineral form of mo is called monomethylmolybdenum (MMM), which means “one-half” because the molecule consists of two atoms of mo bound together with a methyl group (CH 3 CH 2 ). MMM is an important element in many industries such as medicine, electronics, metallurgy and energy production.

In the human body, mo is involved in numerous biochemical reactions. We would quickly die without it, as would many other living creatures.

Mo is needed by plants to synthesize phosphates for cell division and growth. It is also essential for the molybdenum enzyme nitrogenase, which is used by plants, bacteria and some other organisms to fix nitrogen from the air for making amino acids (the building blocks of proteins).

Mo deficiency causes a decrease in the plants nitrate content and fewer but larger leaves. This also results in a lower seed set and the eventual death of the plant.

The symptoms of Mo deficiency in animals are not well known because soil with an adequate amount of Mo for plants is also suitable for grazing animals and humans.

The best-known relationship between humans and Mo is in the form of molybdenum enzymes, which have a role in the production of nitrogen-containing compounds in the soil. These enzymes are found in nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

Mo is absorbed by the plant from the soil. These enzymes are the reason why soil with an adequate amount of Mo is also suitable for grazing animals and humans.

What is Molybdenum Used For?

The most important use of molybdenum is as a catalyst in the petroleum industry for the manufacture of fertilizers and pesticides. Without this element, life as we know it would not be possible.

Molybdenum is also essential for all living creatures. It is involved in the production of amino acids, which are building blocks of proteins.

In addition, Mo enzymes play an important role in the nitrogen cycle by converting atmospheric nitrogen into a form that can be used by plants. This can not happen without molybdenum.

Molybdenum is also found in the enzymes that metabolize alcohol and aldehydes.

The ability of a metal to form a water-insoluble complex with the hydroxyl groups of certain organic compounds makes it useful as a catalyst in various industrial processes.

Molybdenum is also used for manufacturing batteries, electronics, and steel alloys. It is important in rocket technology as a high-strength steel alloy.

What is Molybdenum Toxicity?

Molybdenum is essential for all living creatures. However, it is also toxic if taken in excess. The minimum amount that the body needs to stay alive is not yet known. The maximum intake of molybdenum that can be tolerated without any adverse health effects is 50 mg.

The symptoms of molybdenum toxicity are nothing compared to those caused by other heavy metals, but you should still take steps to avoid this from occurring.

Most molybdenum is excreted through the urine. In excess, it can cause an unusual darkening of the urine and even yellowing of the skin.

This metal can also cause a condition known as “blue baby disease,” which hinders the exchange of oxygen in the blood.

Mo can also cause dizziness, weakness, confusion, and even low blood pressure if taken in excess.

Molybdenum can cause a temporary tingling sensation and numbness of the tongue if taken in excess, but this is not likely to occur from eating food.

However, it can be dangerous when inhaled or ingested and can result in excessive darkening of the urine.

This darkening of the urine can be alarming, but is not anything to worry about and will resolve itself after several days.

Can you Recommend a Good Dietary Source?

Molybdenum-rich foods include cauliflower, peas, beans, and soy products. Other foods rich in this element are prunes, apricots, and raisins.

Most vegetables contain trace amounts of this element.

The average daily intake of Mo is 40 to 50 micrograms.

Molybdenum Supplements

Molybdenum is available in supplement form. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for this element has not yet been established.

However, the National Academy of Sciences has set the tolerable upper intake level at 2,000 mcg.

Molybdenum Supplements Reviews

Have you had experience with molybdenum supplements?

If so, let us know what you thought of them. Post your Molybdenum Supplement Reviews, for the benefit of others.

Remember that this is not intended to treat any medical condition you may have. Always talk to your doctor about any medical conditions you have and address them with his guidance.

Have You Read The Science Behind Molybdenum?

Molybdenum is a trace mineral that is needed in very small amounts. It helps your body process fats and oils, and it also helps to regulate the way your body uses oxygen. Your body does not require very much molybdenum, and deficiency of this element is rare. However, some people may not be getting enough molybdenum through their diet.

Molybdenum Sources

Molybdenum is most abundant in soil, so crops grown in an area with high soil content will contain more molybdenum. Some plants, such as peas and beans, have higher levels of molybdenum than others.

Meat, nuts, and some grains are also good sources of this element.

In most people, a diet low in molybdenum will lead to a zinc deficiency, since the body needs both of these elements and can’t tell the difference between them. Zinc is also present in soil and absorbed by plants, so a low level of molybdenum in soil can cause a shortage of zinc in these same plants.

Some researchers are studying molybdenum’s possible role in cancer prevention. This element may also help the body fight off infection.

While molybdenum toxicity is rare, it can cause damage to the liver and brain if too much is present in the body. This is because your body has a limited ability to get rid of excess molybdenum.

Too much of this element can also interfere with the way your body absorbs copper.

Diets that are low in molybdenum can lead to a copper deficiency, since the body needs both of these minerals and can’t tell the difference between them. Both copper and molybdenum are found in soil and absorbed by plants, so a low level of molybdenum in soil can cause a shortage of copper in these same plants.

How Does It Affect Your Health?

Molybdenum helps your body regulate copper and zinc levels. It is also thought to play a role in the way your body metabolizes fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.

Most people get molybdenum from the foods they eat every day. Good sources include peas, beans, nuts, and wheat bran.

Liver is also a good source of this element, but most people do not eat liver on a regular basis.

Molybdenum Deficiency

A molybdenum deficiency is rare, but can occur in people who are on a very restricted diet. It can also result from certain illnesses that affect how the body absorbs nutrients from the food you eat.

When this element is lacking in the diet, it can lead to a shortage of copper and zinc. This causes a condition called molybdenum cofactor deficiency.

A lack of copper and zinc can cause an anemia, which leads to a weakened immune system and other health complications.

Molybdenum Toxicity

In some people, too much molybdenum can lead to a copper deficiency. This can cause problems with blood flow and wound healing.

High levels of molybdenum can also cause damage to the liver and brain.

According to the National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, people who have a disorder that prevents their liver from processing certain amino acids do not process molybdenum correctly. This excess molybdenum can lead to liver damage.

Molybdenum can also affect the way your body absorbs copper, so a dietary excess of molybdenum can cause a copper deficiency.


The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends that adults should consume about 50 to 70 micrograms of molybdenum each day.

Most people in the United States get more than enough molybdenum in their diet. Good dietary sources of this element include cereal bran, whole grain products, dried beans, peas, and nuts.

Molybdenum is also found in some vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and greens. Meat, dairy products, and fish also provide small amounts of this mineral.

Pregnant women may need more molybdenum. Talk to your doctor about whether you should be taking a prenatal vitamin that contains this mineral.

Most of the molybdenum in your body is stored in your liver, but only amounts to about 0.3 to 0.5 milligrams at any given time.

Sources & references used in this article:

Molybdenum as an essential element for higher plants by DI Arnon, PR Stout – Plant Physiology, 1939 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Some essential nutrient elements in forest plants as related to species, plant part, season and location by WM Langille, KS MacLean – Plant and soil, 1976 – Springer

Cobalt, copper and molybdenum in the nutrition of animals and plants by HR Marston – Physiological Reviews, 1952 – journals.physiology.org

Molybdenum by JO Hall – Veterinary Toxicology, 2018 – Elsevier