Other Name(s):

ammonium molybdate

General Description:

Molybdenum is an essential element and a co-factor in several enzymes. It is stored primarily in the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, brain and muscles.

Molybdenum is a constituent of several enzyme systems. These enzymes are responsible for the breakdown of xanthine, hypoxanthine and sulfite, and the detoxification of many harmful compounds.

The ability of tissues to store molybdenum varies with intake levels and is affected by the amount of copper and sulfate in the diet.

Unsubstantiated Claims:

Please note that this section reports on claims that have NOT yet been substantiated through scientific studies.

Molybdenum is claimed to help arthritis.

Recommended Intake:

As indicated below, molybdenum is measured in micrograms. The SADI is the Safe and Adequate Dietary Intake. These values are given when a Daily Reference Intake (DRI) has not been established.



Infants (0 to 6 months)

15-30 mcg

Infants (6 months to 1 year)

20-40 mcg

Children (1 to 3 years)

25-50 mcg

Children (4 to 6 years)

30-75 mcg

Children (7 to 10 years)

50-150 mcg

Adolescents and adults (11+ years)

75-250 mcg


Foods containing molybdenum include legumes, cereal products and leafy vegetables.

Molybdenum levels in plants are highly variable and dependent upon the molybdenum content of the soil in which they were grown.

Molybdenum deficiency is extremely rare and usually caused by other serious diseases.

Side Effects, Toxicity and Interactions:

Problems associated with excessive molybdenum are poorly documented. Too much molybdenum can result in a gout-like syndrome, with increased blood levels of molybdenum, uric acid and xanthine oxidase.

Do not take molybdenum supplements if you have biliary obstruction (gallstones) or kidney problems.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should consult a physician before taking any mineral supplements.

Molybdenum supplements can result in a copper deficiency because molybdenum drives copper from tissue stores.

Additional Information:

Click here for a list of reputable Web sites with general information on nutrition.


  1. Behrman RE, Kliegman RM, Nelson EE, Vaughan VC, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Co.; 1992.

  2. Braunwald E, Isselbacher KJ, Petersdorf RG, Wilson JD, Martin JB, Fauci AS, eds. Harrison's Principals of Internal Medicine. 11th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1987.

  3. Smolin LA, Grosvenor MB. Nutrition Science and Applications. 2nd ed. Sanders College Publishing; 1997.

  4. USP DI 19th ed. Englewood, CO: Micromedex Inc.; 1999

  5. Leonard MB, Zemel BS, Kawchak DA, et al. Plasma zinc status, growth, and maturation in children with sickle cell disease. Journal of Pediatrics 1998;132(3):467-471.

  6. Barceloux DG. Molybdenum. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1999;37(2):231-7.

  7. Turnlund JR, Keyes WR, Peiffer GL. Molybdenum absorption, excretion, and retention studied with stable isotopes in young men at five intakes of dietary molybdenum. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995;62:790796.

  8. Rajagopalan KV. Molybdenum: an essential trace element in human nutrition. Ann Rev Nutr. 1988;8:401427.

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