What Is Molybdenum?

Leguminous seeds collection

To maintain good health and prevent disease, consuming vitamins and minerals each day is a must. Molybdenum is a little-known nutrient that packs a powerful punch when it comes to keeping the body working at its prime.


According to the American Cancer Society, molybdenum plays a number of important roles in the body. Molybdenum is crucial when it comes to the development of the nervous system, energy production, and waste processing in the kidneys.


Depending on age, the guidelines for daily consumption of molybdenum vary substantially. WebMD recommends the following amounts of molybdenum each day:

  • Infants 0 to 6 months - 2 micrograms per day
  • Infants 7 to 12 months - 3 micrograms per day
  • Children 1 to 3 years - 17 micrograms per day
  • Children 4 to 8 years - 22 micrograms per day
  • Children 9 to 13 years - 34 micrograms per day
  • Children 14 to 18 years - 43 micrograms per day
  • Adults 19 years and up - 45 micrograms per day
  • Pregnant and lactating women - 50 micrograms per day


While a molybdenum deficiency has never been noted in a healthy adult, deficiencies may occur in the presence of chronic health conditions. According to Oregon State University, a patient suffering from Crohn's disease experienced a molybdenum deficiency as a result of receiving intravenous nutrition without this added nutrient.

The patient developed a rapid heart rate, increased respiration, severe headaches, night blindness, and eventually became comatose, notes Oregon State University. Since there have been no reported cases of molybdenum deficiencies in healthy adults, it is impossible to determine which symptoms may be present in healthy adults without underlying medical conditions.

Molybdenum-Rich Foods

In Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology (page 559), Marcia Nelms, Kathryn Sucher and Sara Long identify beans, nuts, dairy products, and meat as a good source of dietary molybdenum:

  • 1/2 cup navy beans - 98 micrograms
  • 1/2 cup black-eyed peas - 90 micrograms
  • 1/2 cup lentils - 74 micrograms
  • 1/2 cup split peas - 74 micrograms
  • 1/2 cup lima beans - 71 micrograms
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans - 66 micrograms
  • 1/2 cup black beans - 65 micrograms
  • 1 ounce almonds - 6 micrograms
  • 1 ounce chestnuts - 5 micrograms
  • 1 ounce peanuts - 5 micrograms
  • 1 ounce cashews - 5 micrograms
  • 1/2 cup green soybeans - 7 micrograms
  • 1 cup yogurt - 11 micrograms
  • 1 cup cottage cheese - 10 micrograms
  • 1 cooked egg - 9 micrograms
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes - 9 micrograms
  • 3 ounces veal liver - 9 micrograms
  • 1 cup milk - 5 micrograms

Potential Risks

While molybdenum is generally considered safe for consumption, it can prove dangerous when taken in high amounts. WebMD notes that individuals who consume very high amounts of molybdenum in the range of 10 to 15 milligrams per day may develop or experience increases in the severity of gout.

Do not take more than two milligrams of molybdenum each day, warns WebMD, to avoid the development of this condition.


Most healthy adults can easily get the recommended daily amount of molybdenum by following a balanced diet. Those who have difficulty when it comes to meeting molybdenum recommendations, however, may want to consider supplementation through the use of over-the-counter multivitamins:

Molybdenum Magic

Found in nuts, beans, dairy products and meat, molybdenum obviously is an important nutrient when it comes to maintaining good health. While most individuals can meet molybdenum requirements through whole foods alone, others may turn to the use of supplemental molybdenum vitamins.

Before adding molybdenum supplements to your diet, talk with your healthcare provider. Depending on your personal health history, the recommendations for daily molybdenum intake may vary.

Trending on LoveToKnow
What Is Molybdenum?