Molybdenum is a vital trace mineral. Additionally, it occurs both in foods and supplements. Mostly, it occurs in plants and taken through plants.
Molybdenum Food Sources
It is found in foods such as milk, cheese, cereal grains, legumes, nuts, leafy vegetables, and organ meats. The richest sources are usually beans, lentils, grains and organ meats, particularly liver and kidney. Although it is required in trace amounts, it performs abundant activities in the body.
Molybdenum Daily Requirements
The mineral is likely safe when taken orally but in the right amounts. Adults should not exceed 2 mg per day, the Tolerable Upper Intake Level.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding– for women 14 to 18 years should take 1.7 mg per day.
– for women 19 years and older– 2 mg per day.
Children– it is safe to take up to 0.3 mg per day for children 1 to 3 years.
–for children 9 to 13 years 1.1 mg per day
–Adolescents will take 1.7 mg per day.
Very high levels of molybdenum in the diet such as 10 to 15 mg/day, and industrial exposure to molybdenum, might cause gout. Molybdenum supplements might make gout worse. Avoid taking molybdenum in doses above 2 mg per day for adults.
Molybdenum Health Benefits
Cofactor for Enzymes
The mineral acts as a cofactor for enzymes. It activates four essential enzymes. The enzymes activated are necessary for driving chemical reactions in the body.
Enzymes activated include:
- Sulfite oxidase; converts sulfite to sulfate, preventing the dangerous buildup of sulfites in the body.
- Aldehyde oxidase; breaks down aldehydes, which can be toxic to the body. Also, it helps the liver break down alcohol and some drugs, such as those used in cancer therapy.
- Xanthine oxidase; converts xanthine to uric acid. The reaction helps break down nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA(when they are no longer needed. They can be excreted in the urine.
- Mitochondrial amidoxime reducing component; it is thought to remove toxic byproducts of metabolism.
The sulfites are naturally found in foods and also occur as preservatives.
As a supplement
Also, it acts as a requirement for molybdenum deficiency.
In several pieces of research, molybdenum has been proved to lower the risks of esophageal cancer. High blood levels of molybdenum have been linked to low chances of cancer. However, still more research needs to be done to approve it.
Although it is a rarely occurring disease, its symptoms are often in infants. However, in some situations, the deficiency occurs in adults. For example, when a hospital patient receives artificial nutrition through a tube and not given molybdenum the deficiency is likely to occur.
These will result in severe symptoms like fast heart rate and breathing, vomiting, disorientation and eventually comma. Molybdenum deficiency is correlated to an increased risk of esophageal cancer. In countries like northern Iran and South Africa, molybdenum levels in hair and nail samples are law.
Molybdenum Cofactor Deficiency Infancy
It is a very rare genetic condition in which babies are born without the ability to make molybdenum cofactor. Therefore, they are unable to activate the four important enzymes mentioned above.
It’s caused by a recessive, hereditary gene mutation, so a child would have to inherit the affected gene from both parents to develop it.
Babies with this condition appear normal at birth, but become unwell within a week, experiencing seizures that don’t improve with treatment.
Toxic levels of sulfite accumulate in their blood since they are unable to convert it to sulfate. This leads to brain abnormalities and severe developmental delays.
Sadly, babies who are affected do not survive past early childhood. Fortunately, this condition is extremely rare.
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