WHAT IS MOLYBDENUM?
Molybdenum (Mo) is a chemical element with the atomic number 42.
It is an essential element for practically all forms of life.
WHAT DOES MOLYBDENUM DO FOR US?
There are enzymes that require molybdenum called molybdoenzymes. In humans there are three of these enzymes:
1. Sulfite Oxidase which energizes the changing of sulfite to sulfate. This needs to be done so that sulfur containing amino acids such as methionine can be metabolized.
2. Xanthine Oxidase starts the breakdown of nucleotides (the building blocks for DNA and RNA) which creates uric acid and uric acid is important to the blood’s plasma antioxidant ability.
3. Both Aldehyde Oxidase and Xanthine Oxidase energize the addition of hydrogen and oxygen molecules to certain molecules and both of them are involved in the metabolism of drugs and toxins in our bodies.
Only Sulfite Oxidase is absolutely necessary to human health.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DON’T GET ENOUGH MOLYBDENUM?
In healthy people molybdenum deficiency doesn’t exist as far as we know. Although, there are known problems in places where the soil has very low levels of minerals including molybdenum.
There is, however, a very rare genetic abnormality that affects the metabolism. This abnormality causes a deficiency of sulfite oxidase. As we read above sulfite oxidase is responsible in part for the creation of certain important protein building amino acids. Severe brain damage is the result of this disease.
The effects of getting no molybdenum in people without this rare genetic trait have been documented by following a case of a patient with Crohn’s disease put on an intravenous drip. The IV drip had no molybdenum added to the solution. The patient developed rapid heart rate and respiratory problems, headaches, night blindness and finally went into a coma. When the solution was changed to include molybdenum the problems disappeared.
In places where there are very low levels of molybdenum in the soil molybdenum deficiency has been known to increase esophageal cancer rates. The geographical area that is most of note for this problem runs from northern China to Iran.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE GET TOO MUCH MOLYBDENUM?
If there is too much molybdenum in our diet there is some evidence that it will interfere with copper absorption and produce a copper deficiency. This is not confirmed in further studies though.
Gout like symptoms have been reported from dietary sources containing more that 10 mg daily in food eaten in Armenia.
Acute psychosis, hallucinations, seizures and other neurologic symptoms developed in one individual who had consumed 13.5 mg of supplemental molybdenum a day for 18 days.
WHERE DO WE GET MOLYBDENUM?