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1778, Molybdenum Discovered

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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 an important role in the electron transport component of oxidation-reduction reactions.

Molybdenum is a cofactor for enzymes referred to as molybdoenzymes. These enzymes catalyze the hydroxylation 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 food (and in soluble complex form) 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 intake for adults is 45-50 mcg/day. The (UL) has been established at 2000 mcg/day for adults.

The Following Content Provided by: The Linus Pauling Institute

Summary The molybdenum atom is part of the molybdenum cofactor in the active site of four enzymes in humans: sulfite oxidase, xanthine oxidase, aldehyde oxidase, and mitochondrial amidoxime reducing component.

Excess molybdenum intake causes fatal copper deficiency diseases in grazing animals. Their rumen is the site of high sulfide generation, and the interaction of molybdenum with sulfur results in the formation of thiomolybdates. Tetrathiomolybdate, a thiomolybdate with four sulfur atoms, can form complexes with copper preventing its absorption and blocking the activity of copper-dependent enzymes.

Molybdenum is an essential trace element for virtually all life forms. It functions as a cofactor for a number of enzymes that catalyze important chemical transformations in the global carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur cycles. Thus, molybdenum-dependent enzymes are not only required for human health, but also for the health of our ecosystem.


In humans, molybdenum is known to function as a cofactor for four enzymes:

Sulfite oxidase catalyzes the transformation of sulfite to sulfate, a reaction that is necessary for the metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine and cysteine). Xanthine oxidase catalyzes the breakdown of nucleotides (precursors to DNA and RNA) to form uric acid, which contributes to the plasma antioxidant capacity of the blood.

Aldehyde oxidase and xanthine oxidase catalyze hydroxylation reactions that involve a number of different molecules with similar chemical structures. Xanthine oxidase and aldehyde oxidase also play a role in the metabolism of drugs and toxins. Mitochondrial amidoxime reducing component (mARC) was described only recently, and its precise function is under investigation.

Initial studies showed that mARC forms a three-component enzyme system with cytochrome b5 and NADH cytochrome b5 reductase that catalyzes the detoxification of mutagenic N-hydroxylated bases. Of these enzymes, sulfite oxidase is known to be crucial for human health.

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Basic Description
Although perhaps not as well known as other minerals that we profile on our website, molybdenum is a key mineral nutrient found in a variety of WHFoods and known to play important roles in many different body systems.

Our understanding of molybdenum and human health did not begin with research on humans, but on soil, water, and microorganisms. Molybdenum has long been known to play a central role in soil chemistry, and in ocean chemistry as well.

Some of the most fundamental components in soil and water chemistry—including basic interactions involving carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur—are significantly impacted by molybdenum and its role in chemical events.

Not surprisingly, the molybdenum content of our food is significantly dependent on the soil in which foods are grown and the water supplied during the raising of the plants (or animals).

Role in Health Support
Unfortunately, scientists know more about the role of molybdenum in the environment and in non-human organisms than they do about the role of molybdenum in human health. Still, this mineral has been shown to be required for the activity of at least seven enzymes in our body, and numerous body systems rely on these enzymes for support. 

Promotion of Optimal Sulfur Balance Part I
Sulfur is an element of surprising importance in our health. It's a unique part of the protein in our food because most foods contain at least small amounts of sulfur amino acids, including taurine, methionine, and cysteine. Sulfur is critical in our ability to detoxify unwanted contaminants, and many contaminants in our food cannot be eliminated from our body without the help of sulfur.

This element is also essential in our body's antioxidant protection, and many of our most critical antioxidant molecules—including glutathione—are sulfur-containing. Sulfur also plays a unique role in the structure of our connective tissue, through its incorporation into molecules like glucosamine sulfate and chondroiton sulfate. So as you can see, this mineral is truly "whole body" in its health support role.

Promotion of Optimal Sulfur Balance Part II
The same conclusion could be made about molybdenum as well, based on its required role in the activity of an enzyme called sulfite oxidase (SO). The role of SO is to take one form of sulfur (sulfite) and convert it into another form (sulfate). While this step sounds relatively simple, it is actually critical for keeping sulfur moving around in our body as intended and allowing all of the activities described in the paragraph above to take place.

In other words, we suspect a role for molybdenum in support of liver detoxification, antioxidant support, connect tissue development, and other aspects of our health due to the widespread important of sulfur balance throughout our body.

The same conclusion could be made about molybdenum as well, based on its required role in the activity of an enzyme called sulfite oxidase (SO). The role of SO is to take one form of sulfur (sulfite) and convert it into another form (sulfate).

While this step sounds relatively simple, it is actually critical for keeping sulfur moving around in our body as intended and allowing all of the activities described in the paragraph above to take place.

Antioxidant Protection
In addition to its role in SO activity, molybdenum is also a cofactor for an enzyme called xanthine oxidase (XO). XO is responsible for taking two molecules (called hypoxanthine and xanthine) and helping convert them into uric acid (UA). One context in which you might have heard about XO and UA is the medical condition often referred to as "gout," in which crystals of UA can build up in the joints and case pain.

Medications used to help treat this condition often work by blocking the activity of XO. While it is true that too much uric acid can be a bad thing in some individuals, it is equally true that healthy amounts of uric acid are also quite important for all of us. We know, for example, that UA plays a primary role in the total antioxidant capacity of our bloodstream—as important, for example, as vitamins E and C. 

Other Potential Roles in Health Support
Because of its known role as a cofactor for the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase(ADH), molybdenum is likely to play an important role in nervous system metabolism, and particularly metabolism of the nervous system messaging molecules (neurotransmitters) epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and melatonin. ADH enzyme activity is critical for the breakdown of the neurotransmitters listed above, and the rate of breakdown of these molecules is closely related to their rate of synthesis and availability for nervous system function.

Molybdenum is also known to be required in formation of unique proteins called amidoxime reducing component proteins, or mARC. These proteins play important roles in mitochondrial function.

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             7 Important Benefits Of Black Beans 

1) Cardiovascular Health: One of the best benefits of adding black beans to your daily or weekly diet is the high level of fiber that they contain. They have high concentrations of soluble fiber, which has been proven to help lower blood cholesterol. 

2) Cancer Prevention: Black beans have been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of cancers due to the flavonoids found in their seed coat. There are 8 different flavonoids that have been found in the seed coat, and three of them are anthocyanins.

3) Digestive Issues: Black beans are great for regulating digestive issues because they contain unusually high levels of protein and fiber for such a small bean, making them a “super food” of sorts. Protein and fiber both help food move through the digestive tract, allowing it to have its nutrients removed and then the waste expelled in a healthy way. 

4) Blood Sugar: Uneven digestive rates can cause unbalanced blood sugar levels in the body, but black beans regulate this issue as well. As mentioned above, the fiber and protein in black beans keeps digestion flowing at a steady rate, so concentrated doses of nutrient uptake does not occur. 

5) Sulfites and Sexual Dysfunction: Studies have shown that black beans are extremely high in molybdenum, a rare mineral not found frequently in foods. Molybdenum is important for a number of reasons, primarily because it can break down and detoxify sulfites. Sulfites are acidic compounds found in wines, dried fruits, and some vegetables, and many people are very sensitive to their effects, which include headaches and disorientation. The molybdenum found in black beans counteracts these effects, neutralizing the negative effects so people can enjoy those foods again. Molybdenum also helps in cell energy production and development of nervous system.

6) Nervous System: Black beans can also benefit the functions of the nervous system by helping to provide the necessary amino acids and molybdenum. Black beans have many vitamins and minerals, but there is a noticeably higher amount of vitamin B9, or folate. Folate, also known as folic acid, plays a key part in the regulation of specific amino acids that the nervous system requires. Without dietary folate, studies have shown an increase in homocysteine levels, which can be a dangerous precursor to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

7) Pre-Natal Health: Another benefit of folate, which is found in such high levels within black beans, is its’ role in protecting infants in the womb. The folate levels in a woman’s body are integral to the normal and healthy development of the fetus, particularly in the brain and spinal cord. By adding healthy amounts of black beans, and therefore folate, into your diet, you can protect your baby while it is still in the womb.

Suggested Food Sources:

Slow Cooked Lentils

Black Beans
Asparagus and Spring Garlic Pico de Gallo

Kale, Beans & Pasta

Romaine Lettuce
Mason Jar Salad with Wild Leek Dressing

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