History of Molybdenum

Molybdenum, a vital mineral with a rich history, has been contributing to the health and well-being of organisms for millennia. First identified by Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1778, it was named after the Greek word ‘molybdos,’ meaning lead, due to its initial misidentification as a lead compound. Its elemental status was only granted in 1781 when another Swedish chemist, Peter Jacob Hjelm, successfully isolated it.

From then on, Molybdenum’s importance in biological processes was increasingly understood. It was not until the early 20th century, however, that its role as an essential trace element in human nutrition was recognised.

Scientific Makeup of Molybdenum

Molybdenum, with the atomic number 42, is a metallic element belonging to the group 6 transition metals. Biologically, its most significant contribution is as a cofactor for enzymes such as sulfite oxidase, xanthine oxidase, and aldehyde oxidase, which facilitate critical metabolic processes.

These enzymes depend on the molybdenum cofactor, a complex molecule which enables the enzymes to carry out oxidation reactions. Thus, Molybdenum, albeit needed in minute amounts, plays an indispensable role in human health.


Benefits of Molybdenum

Molybdenum’s health benefits are wide-ranging due to its enzymatic functions. Foremost, it aids in the breakdown of certain amino acids and other compounds, such as sulphites, purines, and pyrimidines. This process helps detoxify the body, keeping harmful substances in check.

Moreover, it plays a key role in energy production within cells by helping to break down food into energy. It also helps with the utilisation of iron, preventing anaemia by facilitating the creation of red blood cells and haemoglobin.

Studies have also suggested a role for Molybdenum in maintaining optimal oral health due to its influence on bacterial populations within the mouth. Additionally, research implies it might have potential anticancer properties, although further investigation is required to confirm these findings.


Forms of Consumption

As an essential mineral, Molybdenum is naturally present in many foods. These include legumes, grains, and nuts, as well as meats such as liver and kidney. However, it is also frequently incorporated into various supplement formulations to ensure adequate intake.

Molybdenum can be consumed through traditional methods like tablets and capsules, often included in multivitamin and mineral preparations. These delivery methods are common, tried, and tested, but the industry continuously innovates in this regard. Alternative delivery methods, such as liquid gels and gummies, have gained popularity for their convenience and appealing taste profiles.

It is worth mentioning that Molybdenum works well with other ingredients. For instance, it is often combined with other minerals and vitamins like selenium, and B vitamins. This combination enhances the overall effectiveness of the supplement, providing a more comprehensive health benefit to the consumer.


Safety and Dosages

Molybdenum is generally considered safe when consumed within recommended amounts. The National Institutes of Health suggests an adult daily intake of 45 micrograms.

It is important to note, however, that long-term, high-dose supplementation can lead to excessive levels, causing side effects such as gout and kidney damage. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new supplement regimen.


Use and Legality in the UK, EU, US, and Globally

Molybdenum, being a naturally occurring essential mineral, is legal and widely used in dietary supplements globally. In the UK and the EU, the European Food Safety Authority has set an adequate intake level of 60 micrograms per day for adults.

In the US, Molybdenum is recognised by the FDA as a dietary supplement, with the recommended daily allowance set slightly lower than in the EU, at 45 micrograms. Many other countries follow similar guidelines, with variations in recommended dosages based on age, sex, and physiological status.


Molybdenum Tolerable Upper Intake Level by Age


Age (Years)UL (mg/day)


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