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Molybdenum was first shown to be an essential mineral in 1953. Molybdenum functions primarily as an oxidizing agent, which gives it a very important role in the transport of electrons in oxidation-reduction reactions.
Molybdenum is a cofactor for enzymes referred to as molybdoenzymes. These enzymes catalyze the hydroxylation (the addition of an -OH group) of various molecules. Molybdenum hydroxylases are important in the metabolism of drugs and foreign compounds. Studies in animal models have shown a beneficial effect in inhibiting certain forms of cancer.
Molybdenum in foods and in the form of soluble complexes is readily absorbed. Retention and absorption are influenced by interactions with various dietary forms of sulfur. The richest food sources are milk and milk products, dried legumes, organ meats, cereals, and baked goods.
The estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intakes for adults is 45-50 mcg/day. The (UL) has been established at 2000 mcg/day for adults.
For additional information (including a list of references), please refer to the molybdenum technical bulletin at