WHAT IS MOLYBDENUM?
Molybdenum is a micromineral (or trace element) that joins with and activates certain enzymes. In this article I will be providing a full overview of this important nutrient.
WHEN WAS MOLYBDENUM DISCOVERED?
Early chemists believed that molybdenum disulphide (a compound of molybdenum and sulphur) and graphite (pure carbon) were both the same material due to their similar appearance. However, in 1778 Carl Wilhelm Scheele discovered that they were in fact two different materials. He performed further research on molybdenum disulphide and found that it contained a new element – molybdenum. In 1781 the Swedish chemist Peter Jacob Hjelm followed up on Scheele’s work and managed to isolate molybdenum.
HOW DOES YOUR BODY USE MOLYBDENUM?
The human body stores around 9 milligrams (mg) of molybdenum. The majority of this is stored in the adrenal glands, kidney and liver with the remainder being stored in other tissues throughout the body. As I mentioned above, molybdenum joins with and activates a number of different enzymes. Because of this it has a variety of functions in the body which include:
– Activating the enzymes aldehyde oxidase (which generates carboxylic acids from aldehydes), sulphate oxidase and xanthine oxidase (which enhances fat burning and allows the body to use its iron reserves effectively) as part of the coenzyme pterin.
– Assisting in the breakdown of sulphur containing amino acids.
– Assisting in the formation of uric acid (a waste product found in urine).
– Assisting in the metabolism of the macronutrients; carbohydrates, dietary fat and protein.
– Assisting in the metabolism of the macrominerals; calcium and magnesium.
– Assisting in the production of xanthine oxidase.
– Assisting in the utilisation of iron.
– Detoxifying the liver by being part of several important biochemical reactions.
– Increasing alertness and concentration.
– Maintaining balanced blood glucose levels.
– Maintaining proper sexual function in men.
– Promoting good dental health (by fighting dental cavities and tooth decay).
– Protecting your body from nitrosamines (chemical compounds which can be carcinogenic).
– Protecting your body from oxygen related damage.
– Protecting your body from sulphite-reactive asthma attacks.
– Preventing anemia (a low red blood cell count in the body).
– Reducing the symptoms of certain allergic reactions.
– Supporting proper cellular function.
– Supporting proper growth.
HOW MUCH MOLYBDENUM DO YOU NEED?
As we get older our requirement for molybdenum increases. The recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for this nutrient are listed below:
– Children aged 0-6 months:- 0.002mg.
– Children aged 7-12 months:- 0.003mg.
– Children aged 1-3 years:- 0.017mg.
– Children aged 4-8 years:- 0.022mg.
– Children aged 9-13 years:- 0.034mg.
– Children aged 14-18 years:- 0.043mg.
– Adults aged 19 years and over:- 0.045mg.
WHICH FOODS CONTAIN MOLYBDENUM?
Molybdenum can be found in a variety of foods with legumes and nuts being very good sources. The list below contains some of the best food sources of molybdenum:
– Chilli Beans:- 0.11mg per 100g.
– Green Peas:- 0.13mg per 100g.
– Lima Beans:- 0.87mg per 100g.
– Oats:- 0.18mg per 100g.
– Small White Beans:- 0.45mg per 100g.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GETTING TOO MUCH MOLYBDENUM?
Overdosing on molybdenum through diet alone is very rare. In situations when an overdose does occur it is normally caused by excessive use of supplements. However, as a precaution the following tolerable upper intake levels (TULs) have been established for this nutrient:
– Children aged 1-3 years:- 0.3mg.
– Children aged 4-8 years:- 0.6mg.
– Children aged 9-13 years:- 1.1mg.
– Children aged 14-18 years:- 1.7mg.
– Adults aged 19 years and over:- 2mg.
When an overdose does occur it can lead to the following negative symptoms:
– Gout like symptoms (when daily dosages of above 10mg per day are consumed).
– High blood levels of uric acid.
– Reduced copper absorption.
– Slow growth.
– Swelling in the joints.
– Weight loss.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF NOT GETTING ENOUGH MOLYBDENUM?
Not getting enough molybdenum is uncommon in people who consume a balanced diet. In fact symptoms of deficiency have only been observed in people who are fed intravenously or who have the rare genetic disorder molybdenum co-factor deficiency which stops people from properly absorbing this nutrient. If a molybdenum deficiency does develop it can lead to the following negative symptoms:
– Dental cavities.
– Impaired sexual function.
– Night blindness.
– Mental disturbances.
– Rapid heartbeat.
Most people will not have to worry about their molybdenum intake. You are probably getting adequate levels from your current diet. However, I hope this article has given you a good overview of molybdenum and helped you learn a little more about this nutrient.
Now I want to hear your thoughts. Has this article helped you learn more about molybdenum? Were you aware of how this nutrient worked in the body? Leave a comment and let me know.
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What is Molybdenum in Food (eHow)
What you need to know about Molybdenum (MSN Health and Fitness Nutrient Library)