Molybdenum is an essential mineral found in highest concentrations in the liver, kidneys, skin, and bones. This mineral is required by the body to properly metabolize nitrogen. It is also a vital component of the enzyme xanthine oxidase which is required to convert purines to uric acid, a normal byproduct of metabolism. Molybdenum also supports the bodys’ storage of iron and other cellular functions such as growth.
A deficiency of molybdenum is associated with mouth and gum disorders and cancer. A diet high in refined and processed foods can lead to a deficiency of molybdenum, resulting in anemia, loss of appetite and weight, and stunted growth in animals. While these deficiencies have not been observed directly in humans, it is known that a molybdenum deficiency can lead to impotence in older males.
While there is no strict Daily Recommended Intake for molybdenum, the estimated safe range for intake of this essential mineral range from 15 micrograms per day for infants, and up to 250 micrograms per day for adults. It has been estimated that most Americans receive between 25 and 500 micrograms per day from normal diet. Daily intake of over 10 to 15 milligrams daily may produce goutlike symptoms such as swollen, painful joints, and can interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize copper.
Good dietary sources of molybdenum include lean meats, beans, whole grain cereals and breads, legumes, peas, and dark green leafy vegetables.