Molybdenum: To supplement or not to supplement?

Written by Kamal Patel
Last Updated:

The editors have finished reviewing the page on molybdenum. Molybdenum is one of the essential minerals the human body requires to function. It is a component of three enzymes, one of which is responsible for removing sulfur from the body, which comes from dietary protein and supplements like taurine and N-acetylcysteine.

Molybdenum is an important part of the diet, since a lack of the mineral can cause deficiency symptoms, which are similar to sulfur toxicity. Actual molybdenum deficiencies are very rare, since the human body retains molybdenum well and needs just a few micrograms to avoid a deficiency. In fact, molybdenum deficiencies have only been observed in clinical settings and in a small number of studies. Molybdenum is found in water and grains, which is part of the reason why molybdenum is unnecessary to supplement. Beans and leafy green vegetables are also good sources of molybdenum.

Some supplements, like multivitamins, sometimes contain molybdenum doses of 100 micrograms or more. There is mixed evidence regarding the safety of this kind of dose. There is no good evidence to suggest this much molybdenum provides any benefits.

Due to the lack of research on molybdenum as a dietary supplement and very little evidence for its benefits, molybdenum cannot be recommended as a standalone dietary supplement. Since molybdenum deficiencies are uncommon, it is not necessary to include molybdenum in a multivitamin formulation. Doses of 50 micrograms or less are safe to include in multivitamins.

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