Suppression

Molybdenum

Category: Natural chemicals

Type

Involuntary and voluntary

Introduction and description

Molybdenum is a chemical element with the symbol Mo. It does not occur naturally as a free metal on Earth, but rather in various oxidation states in minerals. At least 50 molybdenum-containing enzymes were known by 2002, mostly in bacteria, and more keep being discovered.

The human body contains about 0.07 mg of molybdenum per kilogram of weight. It occurs in higher concentrations in the liver and kidneys, where it is found in enzymes, and in lower concentrations in the vertebrae. Molybdenum is also present within human tooth enamel. Molybdenum is thus classified as an essential trace element.

In humans, four enzymes depend on molybdenum:

  • sulfite oxidase – which processes sulphites. Sulphites may occur in wine and dried fruits and can cause allergic reactions in some people.
  • xanthine oxidoreductase – which processes xanthine, reducing it to uric acid. A lack of xanthine oxidase leads to high concentration of xanthine in blood and can cause health problems such as renal failure. The activity of xanthine oxidase is directly proportional to the amount of molybdenum in the body.
  • aldehyde oxidase – which processes aldehyde. AO plays a very important role in the metabolization of numerous drugs, without it drugs can reach toxic proportions
  • mitochondrial amidoxime reductase - Molybdenum concentrations also affect protein synthesis, metabolism and growth.

Illnesses and diseases caused by imbalance

Both overdosing and deficiency can cause health problems.  Molybdenum overdose can be fatal, it can also cause brain damage.  In general molybdenum deficiency can result in neurological damage, kidney damage, liver damage and so on, because all the resulting toxins cannot be excreted.  For more details see Molybdenum imbalance.

Dietary sources

All molybdenum can be obtained from a normal balanced diet. Foods which have molybdenum include:

  • Offal - especially Liver - Pork, lamb, and beef liver each have approximately 1.5 parts per million of molybdenum.
  • Green beans
  • Eggs
  • Seeds - for example Sunflower seeds
  • Wholegrains - including Wheat flour and cereal grains
  • Beans - for example Lentils
  • Cucumbers

Related observations