Molybdenum is essential for plants and serves as a cofactor for the enzyme xanthine and aldehyde oxidases. Medical research states that this catalyst is possibly anticarcinogenic. The states of Colorado and Ohio have soils particularly rich in molybdenum, and report the lowest incidences of cancer of the esophagus. This type of cancer is particularly widespread in South Africa (Transkei region), which has very low molybdenum concentration. The same applies for regions that are poor in molybdenum.

Low molybdenum levels have been associated with impotency.

Molybdenum poisoning is virtually unknown. Excessive dietary intake of grains, seeds, and legumes rich in molybdenum can cause deposits in soft tissues and joints, and trigger arthritic symptoms. Other symptoms include gout, severe diarrhea, growth depression, and anemia (typical symptoms of copper deficiency). Molybdenum is important for uric acid metabolism.

Required Daily Amount (in mg):

Sources: Liver and kidney are good meat sources. Good plant sources are legumes, wheat germ, and leafy vegetables.

Molybdenum content of foods (mg/ I00g)

  • Legumes (30 -190)

  • Organ meats (20 -100)

  • Wheat germ (67 - 134)

  • Eggs (21 - 84)

  • Brewers yeast (85 -133)

  • Chicken (15 - 60)

  • Vegetables (4 - 90)

  • Meat (7 - 45)

  • Cereals (17 - 78)

  • Fish (3 -10)

  • Potatoes (3 - 60)

  • Cheese (3.5 - 5)

  • Corn (19 - 58)

  • Whole milk (1 - 4)

  • Pasta (46 - 50)

  • Peanuts (25)

  • Coconut (25)

  • Rice [whole] (47)

  • Fruit, Berries (0.15 - 9)

Absorption and excretion: Dietary molybdenum is readily absorbed by the intestine and is excreted via urine and bile.

Laboratory analysis: Significance of blood molybdenum levels: relatively low concentrations of molybdenum are found in serum and whole blood. Therefore, mass spectroscopy is well suited for the determination of molybdenum since the detection limits are much lower than more traditional methods.

Drinking Water: no EPA recommendations are available.

Symptoms associated with elevated molybdenum levels:

  • Copper deficiency

  • Anemia

  • Gout

  • Symptoms associated with molybdenum deficiency:

  • Reduced resistance against cancer

  • Impotence

  • Uric acid accumulation (gout)

  • Defects in the metabolism of sulfur amino acids

  • Dental caries

  • Susceptibility to asthma


Molybdenum may play a role in the prevention of carcinogenesis of cells. Chung Hua Chung Liu Tsa Chi. Effect of molybdenum on the alkylation of DNA in the liver of rats treated with 14C-diethylnitrosamine. 1987.

Molybdenum may reduce sulfite sensitivity. Papaoiannou R. Pfeiffer CC. Sulfite sensitivity- unrecognized threat: Is molybdenum the cause? J Orthom Psych 13(2):105-110. 1984


Doisy, EA, Jr: Effect of deficiency in manganese upon plasma levels of clotting proteins in man. In Huekstra, WG, Suttie, HE, Gantber, HE, and Mertz, W, editors: Trace elements in animals. ed 2, Baltimore. 1974. University Park Press.

Paige. DM. editor: Manual of clinical nutrition, Pleasantville, NJ. 1983, Nutrition Publications, Inc.