Molybdenum deficiency: Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Treatment

Molybdenum deficiency

Molybdenum also acts as the cofactor that is required in order to metabolize sulfur amino acids, nitrogen-containing. There are compounds in DNA and RNA that have a variety of functions. The lack of molybdenum does not appear in healthy individuals, but there is a specific metabolic consequence known as molybdenum cofactor deficiency which results from an inadequate amount of molybdoenzymes in the body. The molybdenum toxicity of humans is small, owing to the rapid excretion of this mineral in urine. Molybdenum is a basic element in trace minerals. Milk, cheese, cereal grains, legumes, nuts, leafy vegetables, and meat products are some of the foods to which it is present. For molybdenum deficiency, the use of molybdenum is most common. There are no strong scientific data to support such use, as well as for cancers of the esophagus, different types of tumors, Wilson's disease, and others. Molybdenum is used to break down proteins and other substances in the body. It is very rare that molybdenum deficiency occurs. Molybdenum has an important role in normal functions of the body, but there is insufficient data to determine how it might be used for any medical condition. Molybdenum is used to break down proteins and other substances in the body. It is very rare that molybdenum deficiency occurs. In the United States, there is a very rare lack of molybdenum. It's only happening to people with a very rare genetic condition called molybdenum cofactor deficiency. The body is not able to use molybdenum as a result of this disorder. It can cause seizures and severe brain damage that usually leads to death within days after birth.

Symptoms of Molybdenum

If you suspect you or someone else is experiencing Molybdenum, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention by calling emergency services or consult with a Nutritionist.



There is a relatively rare lack of molybdenum in humans due to the fact that there are very low levels of this mineral required by the body. Molybdenum is required for a number of fundamental processes in the biological system, e.g. metabolism of amino acids from sulfur and elimination of some compounds. There are some possible causes of Molybdenum Deficiency listed below: Insufficient dietary intake: if a person's diet is very low in molybdenum-rich food, he or she may suffer from Molybdenum deficiency. legumes, whole grains, leafy vegetables, nuts, and organ meat are good sources of molybdenum. Malabsorption: molybdenum may be hard to absorb from the diet in people who suffer from some health conditions that are affecting their absorption of nutrients, for example, celiac disease, colitis, or gastrointestinal disorders. High Intake of Sulfur Amino Acids: A diet excessively high in sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine and cysteine) can increase the body's demand for molybdenum. If there is insufficient dietary intake to meet the increased demand, it may be capable of producing a Molybdenum deficiency. High intake of molybdenum antagonists: Some dietary compounds, such as tungsten or some sulfite-derived food additives, can have a negative influence on the absorption and use of molybdenum in the body. Molybdenum depletion may be associated with consuming a high amount of these compounds. Metabolism Deficiencies: In fact, as molybdenum-dependent enzymes need these cofactors to function properly, a deficiency in essential nutrients like copper or iron can have an indirect effect on metabolism. Genetic Disorders: In rare cases, individuals with inherited genetic disorders that affect molybdenum metabolism, such as molybdenum cofactor deficiency, may be at risk of molybdenum deficiency. Malnutrition: There may be risks of various nutrient deficiencies, including molybdenum deficiency, for persons who are malnourished or have limited access to a variety of foods.

Risk Factors

Understanding the risk factors associated with molybdenum deficiency is crucial to maintaining optimal health. Molybdenum, an essential trace mineral, plays a vital role in various physiological processes within the body. While molybdenum deficiency is relatively rare, certain factors can increase the risk of developing this deficiency. One of the primary risk factors for molybdenum deficiency is a diet lacking in foods that are rich in this mineral. Molybdenum is found in various food sources such as legumes, whole grains, nuts, and leafy green vegetables. Individuals who consume a highly processed or restricted diet may not be obtaining adequate amounts of molybdenum, thus increasing their risk of deficiency. Certain medical conditions and medications can also contribute to molybdenum deficiency. Gastrointestinal disorders that impair nutrient absorption, such as Crohn's disease or celiac disease, can interfere with the body's ability to absorb molybdenum from food sources. Additionally, medications like diuretics or antacids may affect molybdenum levels by altering its absorption or excretion. Individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery or have had a portion of their intestines removed may also be at an increased risk of molybdenum deficiency due to reduced absorption capacity. It's important to note that while these risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing a molybdenum deficiency, it does not necessarily mean that individuals will experience symptoms or complications. Regular monitoring and consultation with a healthcare professional are essential for identifying and addressing any potential deficiencies. By understanding these risk factors associated with molybdenum deficiency, individuals can take proactive steps towards ensuring they meet their nutritional needs and maintain optimal health.


There are relatively few cases of molybdenum deficiency in human beings and the symptoms do not appear to be well documented due to a limited number of reported cases. The body's need for molybdenum is also relatively low, given that it requires very little in the form of trace amounts. However, if a deficiency occurs, there can be several symptoms that are not associated with molybdenum deficiency but may also appear in addition to the symptoms of another nutrient deficit or normal health conditions. The following symptoms may occur as a result of molybdenum deficiency: 1. Fatigue: A broad feeling of tiredness or weakness. 2. Weakness: reduced muscle strength and endurance. 3. Rapid heartbeat: an increase in heart rate may be observed in some people who are not adequately Molybdenum deficient. 4. Headaches: Some cases of persistent or severe headaches have been observed. 5. Nausea: the feeling of nausea or a sick stomach. 6. Loss of Appetite: a reduction in desire to eat or diminished appetite. Cognitive Symptoms: neurological symptoms, such as confusion and disorientation, may occur in severe cases.

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There may be difficulties in the diagnosis of Molybdenum Deficiency in human beings due to the fact that it's a fairly rare condition and symptoms are not specifically related to such deficiency. A combination of treatments, such as a doctor's history, physical examinations, and laboratory tests is often used by healthcare professionals for the determination of molybdenum deficiency. In order to diagnose Molybdenum Deficiency, the following steps shall be taken: Clinical assessment: The healthcare provider starts by verifying the patient's health records and performing an examination of his or her body. They'll look at a patient's nutrition and any health conditions that are currently in place, as well as the presence of specific symptoms that can be indicative of malnutrition. Blood tests: It is possible to determine molybdenum levels in the body through blood tests. In particular, blood levels of molybdenum can be measured by a healthcare professional. These tests are not widely available and, in most cases, do not constitute part of the regular blood work. Assessment of symptoms: a molybdenum deficiency may be suspected in the presence of some symptoms, e.g. fatigue, weakness, and neurological problems. Given the overall health status of a patient, it is important to take these symptoms into account. Dietary assessment: To determine if a patient is at risk of molybdenum deficiency as a result of the consistently low intake of molybdenum-rich foods, healthcare professionals may ask patients about their dietary habits.


Changes in diet: The most common and generally recommended way of addressing the lack of molybdenum is to change foods that have a higher content of molybdenum. The recommended sources of molybdenum include legumes, such as beans and lentils; whole grains, leafy vegetables, nuts, and organ meat. It is possible that increasing the intake of these foods will lead to increased levels of molybdenum in the body. Molybdenum supplements: health care professionals are encouraged to prescribe mineral supplements for patients who have a severe deficiency or when diet changes do not work. Molybdenum supplements can be obtained in various forms, like molybdenum trioxide or molybdenum aspartate. A healthcare provider shall determine the prescribed dose and form of molybdenum supplementation. Monitoring: Periodic blood molybdenum levels monitoring can help resolve the deficiency when you start to alter your diet or supplement with molybdenum. Based on the needs of each individual, healthcare professionals will develop a suitable follow-up schedule.

Preventive Measures

You should eat a balanced diet including foods that are high in molybdenum, such as beans, whole grains, leafy vegetables, nuts, and meat. Excessive intake of sulfur amino acids can increase molybdenum demand, so be careful. Ensure a balanced intake of methionine and cysteine. Control gastrointestinal disorders and other conditions that may restrict nutrient absorption, as these could be contributing to a lack of molymphatics. Periodic health assessments, early identification of deficiencies in nutrients such as molybdenum, and timely intervention if necessary, may be useful for the assessment of nutritional status.

Do's & Don’t's

Do's  Don't
Consume foods rich in molybdenum, such as legumes, grains, nuts, and leafy vegetables Avoid excessive intake of molybdenum supplements without consulting a healthcare professional
Maintain a balanced diet that includes adequate molybdenum for enzyme function Don't overlook dietary sources of molybdenum if you have a deficiency or health condition requiring attention
Follow recommended daily intake guidelines for molybdenum (75 micrograms for adults) Don't consume large quantities of foods with very high molybdenum content (e.g., overconsumption of certain legumes)
Discuss molybdenum levels with a healthcare provider if you have specific health concerns or dietary restrictions Avoid exposure to industrial sources of molybdenum without proper protective measures
Use molybdenum-coated or alloyed products responsibly in industrial applications, following safety guidelines Don't ignore symptoms of potential molybdenum toxicity, such as headache, joint pain, or digestive issues

If you suspect you or someone else is experiencing Molybdenum, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention by calling emergency services or consult with a Nutritionist.

Frequently Asked Questions
Molybdenum is a trace element essential for the proper functioning of enzymes in plants, animals, and humans. It plays a crucial role in various biological processes.
Molybdenum is found in soil and water, and plants absorb it to some extent. Good dietary sources for humans include legumes, grains, nuts, and leafy vegetables.
Molybdenum is a cofactor for enzymes involved in important biochemical reactions, including the metabolism of certain amino acids and the detoxification of sulfites.
Molybdenum deficiency is rare in humans, but when it occurs, it can lead to symptoms such as rapid heartbeats, respiratory issues, night blindness, and neurological problems. In plants, symptoms may include yellowing of leaves and poor growth.
Generally, molybdenum deficiency is uncommon in humans. It's more likely to occur in regions with low soil molybdenum content. People who consume a highly refined diet with limited plant-based foods may be at a slightly higher risk.
Diagnosing molybdenum deficiency typically involves assessing dietary intake, symptoms, and, in some cases, measuring molybdenum levels in blood or urine. However, there is no standardized test for molybdenum status, and the interpretation of these tests can be challenging.
If diagnosed, molybdenum deficiency can be treated by increasing dietary intake of molybdenum through foods or supplements. However, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation.
While molybdenum is essential in appropriate amounts, excessive intake can be harmful. High levels of molybdenum, particularly from supplements or industrial exposure, can lead to adverse effects, including gout-like symptoms and kidney damage.
Certain medical conditions, such as metabolic disorders or malabsorption issues, can increase the risk of molybdenum deficiency. Additionally, infants who are exclusively fed with formulas low in molybdenum may be at risk.
Maintaining a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods, especially those rich in molybdenum, is the best way to prevent deficiency. If there are concerns about molybdenum status, consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended for personalized advice.
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