Our bodies are composed of complex systems that require both macro and micronutrients to function correctly. Most of the macronutrients are easily available in our daily foods unless we are in extreme ignorance of balanced diet. On the contrary, micronutrients are not readily available in a majority of the foods we eat. Molybdenum is a micronutrient we need and is very important. We’ll talk out the health benefits of molybdenum and how to get more of it through the right foods.
Top 5 Health Benefits of Molybdenum
Molybdenum is a trace mineral that is essential for human health, but it is needed in very small amounts. It is found in a variety of foods, including legumes, nuts, grains, and leafy vegetables, and it is also available as a dietary supplement.
Some potential health benefits of molybdenum include:
- Detoxification: Molybdenum plays a role in the detoxification of the body, helping to remove waste and toxic substances from the body.
- Enzyme function: Molybdenum is an essential component of several enzymes in the body that are involved in various chemical reactions, including the breakdown of proteins and the metabolism of drugs and other toxins.
- Bone health: Molybdenum may play a role in the development and maintenance of healthy bones.
- Cancer prevention: Some research suggests that molybdenum may have anti-cancer properties and may help to prevent the development of certain types of cancer.
- Heart health: Molybdenum may help to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering levels of cholesterol and other blood lipids.
While molybdenum is essential for human health, it is important to get enough, but not too much. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for molybdenum is 45-2,000 micrograms per day for adults, depending on age and gender. Most people get enough molybdenum from their diet, and it is rare to develop a deficiency. However, getting too much molybdenum can be harmful, so it is important to talk to a healthcare provider before taking a molybdenum supplement.
Micronutrients can be either in the form of vitamins or minerals. Our main concern will be minerals. The minerals required by the body are also classified as either major minerals or trace minerals. Examples of major minerals are calcium and phosphorus. On the same note, some of the trace minerals required by the body are molybdenum and selenium among others. Molybdenum health benefits are numerous, and we shall look at them shortly.
Trace mineral elements are as important as other nutrient elements, but many people are not even aware that some exist. Due to this reason, we shall dissect one trace element, and the one of the most important: molybdenum. This is a trace element that is mostly absorbed from the soil by the plants and supplied to our bodies. However, there are also commercially available brands in the market sold as molybdenum supplements.
Without Molybdenum in the body, serious health conditions can arise. In the same way, too much of it can also lead to complications in our bodies. There is a recommended dietary consumption of this trace mineral although hardly are there any cases of molybdenum toxicity in the record from food intake.
10 Fast Facts About Molybdenum:
- Molybdenum is a heavy refractory metal which is used as an alloy for steel in small quantities to increase corrosion resistance. Molybdenum dust particles and fumes from these industrial settings can be toxic. They can lead to eye problems and skin irritations. Molybdenum from food or supplements mostly helps in the breakdown of amino acids as well as aid in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.
- Almost 90% of molybdenum consumed is excreted through urine. The excess is stored in major body organs like the liver, lung, spleen, skin, liver, and kidney as well as in the bones.
- Molybdenum deficiency causes severe inflammation in the joints that can trigger the development of gout. The nervous system can be negatively impacted and even causes stunted growth in severe cases of acute shortage of molybdenum in the body
- The trace mineral mainly makes it to our body from the soil of crops and supplied to the body through the food we eat. Because it’s required in small amounts, molybdenum supplements are hardly recommended unless in rare cases. Some of the foods high in molybdenum are green peas, cucumber, eggs, and sunflower seeds. Basically, legumes and leafy vegetables are considered as good sources of molybdenum. Animal products like liver and milk are alternative sources too.
- In the human body molybdenum is a cofactor of enzymes especially the sulfite oxidase, xanthine oxidase, aldehyde oxidase enzyme and mitochondrial amidoxime reductase. These help to break incoming sulfites into important compounds for usage by the body. Although the FDA makes it illegal to add sulfites to foods, it is pretty much present in almost all the foods we eat especially the raw fruits, canned foods, and most of the foods you get from the grocery store. If the sulfite is not broken down, it can cause poisoning that carries a risk of death.
- People living in the areas where there is a deficiency of molybdenum in the soil are at a higher risk of having molybdenum deficiency. In most of the times, acidic soils have lower molybdenum than alkaline soils. However, documented cases of molybdenum deficiency are only those involving disorders from birth. The major ones are sulfite oxidase deficiency and molybdenum cofactor deficiency.
- Since it helps to remove excess copper in the body, molybdenum has been used as an element in medications that treat excess concentration of copper in the body.
- The recommended dietary allowances of molybdenum in various age groups are:
|Birth to 6 months||2 mcg|
|7 to 12 months||3 mcg|
|1 to 3 years||17 mcg|
|4 to 8 years||22 mcg|
|9 to 13 years||34 mcg|
|14 to 18 years||43 mcg|
|Adult women and men||45 mcg|
|Breast feeding mothers||50 mcg|
|Toxic intake levels||Beyond 2 milligrams per day|
- Molybdenum toxicity is rare unless there is an uncontrolled intake of its supplements. However, in cases of toxicity, there are complications in the gastrointestinal tract. It has been documented to causes esophageal cancer and excessive loss of copper.
- The major molybdenum deficiency symptoms are vomiting, coma, nausea, tachycardia, tachypnea, and a low uric acid in the blood.
Other Molybdenum Health Benefits on the body:
- Helps in making teeth enamel strong
- Helps in the development of the nervous system
- It is vital in the energy production process as well as in waste processing
- Helps in nitrogen synthesis by both humans and plants
How Does Molybdenum Work In Our Bodies?
Some of the foods high in molybdenum are green peas, cucumber, eggs, and sunflower seeds. Basically, legumes and leafy vegetables like carrot leaves and beet greens are considered as good sources of molybdenum. Animal products like liver and milk are alternative sources too.
So far, we have seen that molybdenum is a cofactor for various important enzymes and it plays vital roles in keeping our bodies healthy. However, it would also be much advantageous if we know the exact mechanical processes that help in the transformation activities.
Once you consume a food component that has molybdenum in it, the element is absorbed by the blood from the gastrointestinal tract and taken to the liver, kidney, skin and other areas of the body for storage. The rest is converted into molybdenum cofactors while the excess is excreted through urine.
Since the majority of the foods we consume on our daily basis have molybdenum in a substantial amount, most of what is taken in passes out as urine. This prevents toxicity in the body. If left to accumulate in the body, it can cause liver and kidney problems as well as cause deficiency of some other elements like copper.
Molybdenum Activate Four Major Enzymes
The molybdenum cofactors we mentioned earlier activate four essential enzymes that help in the metabolic processes in the body.
Sulfite oxidase: Sulfites are natural elements that are found in food substances and prevent oxidation and fermentation. It basically maintains freshness in products. Despite this important sounding property, FDA made it illegal to add sulfites to food substances. This is mostly due to the toxic nature it can take in the body when it reaches unacceptable levels. It converts sulfite from foods to sulfate for absorption by the body
Aldehyde oxidase: Aldehyde is a compound freely available in the foods, drinks, and even cooking oils. For example, the aldehyde in oils gives them antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. If the aldehyde is not oxidized, it can accumulate in the body and cause negative effects. It also helps to break compounds in alcohol to prevent alcohol flush. We cannot conclude on the molybdenum health benefits under this category without mentioning that it also helps the liver to break down all the medications we take.
Xanthine oxidase: Xanthine is a purine compound, or it can be broken down to uric acid. High concentration of these compounds can be toxic to the body. Just like the other elements we have discussed it is also freely available in our foods like it is present in tea and coffee. After the purines are converted into uric acid, they are carried to the kidney for excretion through urine.
Mitochondrial amidoxime reducing component: The main functions of this enzyme is mostly to remove the toxins and metabolic byproducts from the body. It is particularly effective in the detoxification of N-hydroxylated compounds.
What Forms of Molybdenum Supplements Are Available?
Molybdenum supplements are available in the market as either liquid or tablets. None can be disputed based on form although we can mention that the liquid ones are more expensive than the capsules. Some of the providers of molybdenum supplements are Seeking Health and Allergy Research Group. Because no major molybdenum deficiency have been reported or recorded in quite a while, supplements should only be taken under the prescription from a medical doctor to avoid toxicity.
A Final Note On Molybdenum Benefits:
Molybdenum as a micronutrient plays a very important role in the body. Fortunately, it is readily available in a majority of our daily foods. There are also rare reported cases of molybdenum deficiency though not at an alarming rate or severity. In severe lack of molybdenum in the body, the nervous system can be negatively affected. Some other symptoms of molybdenum deficiency are nausea, vomiting, seizures, blurred vision, and headache.
If out of any logical reason you suspect to have molybdenum deficiency, you can eat legumes and leafy vegetables. Molybdenum supplements are also an option but follow the instructions given correctly to avoid toxicity. High doses of this micronutrient element are not desirable although the body has its own ways of removing excess molybdenum through urine.
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