Other name(s):

ammonium molybdate

General description

Molybdenum is an essential element and a co-factor for several enzymes. It is stored primarily in the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, brain, and muscles.

Molybdenum is a constituent of several enzyme systems. These enzymes are responsible for the breakdown of xanthine, hypoxanthine, and sulfite, and the detoxification of many harmful compounds.

The ability of tissues to store molybdenum varies with intake levels and is affected by the amount of copper and sulfate in the diet.

Unsubstantiated claims

Please note that this section reports on claims that have NOT yet been substantiated through scientific studies.

Molybdenum has been purported to help treat arthritis.

Ongoing studies are investigating the use of molybdenum to treat certain cancers.

Recommended intake

As indicated below, molybdenum is measured in micrograms. The SADI is the Safe and Adequate Dietary Intake. These values are given when a Daily Reference Intake (DRI) has not been established.



Infants (0 to 6 months)

15–30 mcg

Infants (6 months to 1 year)

20–40 mcg

Children (1 to 3 years)

25–50 mcg

Children (4 to 6 years)

30–75 mcg

Children (7 to 10 years)

50–150 mcg

Adolescents and adults (11+ years)

75–250 mcg

Photo of a field of lettuce greens

Foods containing molybdenum include legumes, cereal products, and leafy vegetables.

Molybdenum levels in plants are highly variable and dependent upon the molybdenum content of the soil in which they were grown.

Molybdenum deficiency is extremely rare and occurs due to a serious, underlying condition.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

Problems associated with excessive molybdenum are poorly documented. Too much molybdenum can result in a gout-like syndrome, with increased blood levels of molybdenum, uric acid, and xanthine oxidase.

Do not take molybdenum supplements if you have biliary obstruction (gallstones) or kidney problems.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult a physician before taking any mineral supplements.

Molybdenum supplements can result in a copper deficiency because molybdenum drives copper from tissue stores.

Additional information

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