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Molybdenum is an essential trace mineral needed for the proper function of certain enzyme-dependent processes, including the metabolism of iron.
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The trace mineral molybdenum helps the body detoxify sulfites, which can trigger asthma attacks.
In some people with asthma, symptoms can be triggered by ingestion of food additives known as sulfites. Pretreatment with a large amount of vitamin B12 (1,500 mcg orally) reduced the asthmatic reaction to sulfites in children with sulfite sensitivity in one preliminary trial.1 The trace mineral molybdenum also helps the body detoxify sulfites.2 While some doctors use molybdenum to treat selected patients with asthma, there is little published research on this treatment, and it is not known what an appropriate level of molybdenum supplementation would be. A typical American diet contains about 200 to 500 mcg per day,3 and preliminary short-term trials have used supplemental amounts of 500 mcg per day.4 People who suspect sulfite-sensitive asthma should consult with a physician before taking molybdenum.
How It Works
How to Use It
No recommended dietary allowance (RDA) has been established for molybdenum. The estimated range recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board as safe and adequate is 75–250 mcg per day for adults.
Where to Find It
The amount of molybdenum in plant foods varies significantly and is dependent upon the mineral content of the soil. The best sources of this mineral are beans, dark green leafy vegetables, and grains. Hard tap water can also supply molybdenum to the diet. Molybdeum is also available as a supplement.
Although molybdenum is an essential mineral, no deficiencies have been reported in humans.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
Interactions with Medicines
Molybdenum is needed to convert purine to uric acid, and excessive intake could, in rare cases, increase uric acid levels and potentially trigger gout. Molybdenum interferes with the absorption of copper; long-term supplementation with molybdenum could, in theory, result in copper deficiency. Molybdenum has been reported to cause psychosis in a patient taking 300 to 800 mcg per day for 18 days. This report is as yet unsubstantiated by any other human or animal research.5
1. Anibarro B, Caballero T, Garcia-Ara C, et al. Asthma with sulfite intolerance in children: A blocking study with cyanocobalamin. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1992;90:103-9.
2. Johnson JL, Wuebbens MM, Mandell R, Shih VE. Molybdenum cofactor deficiency in a patient previously characterized as deficient in sulfite oxidase. Biochem Med Metabol Biol 1988;40:86-93.
3. Sardesai VM. Molybdenum: an essential trace element. Nutr Clin Pract 1993;8:277-81.
4. Moss M. Effects of molybdenum on pain and general health: a pilot study. J Nutr Environ Med 1995;5:55-61.
5. Momcilovic B. A case report of acute human molybdenum toxicity from a dietary molybdenum supplement—a new member of the “Lucor metallicum” family. Arh Hig Rada Toksikol 1999;50:289-97.
Last Review: 01-20-2015
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2016.