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Molybdenum: foods, benefits & RDA

Siski Green / 17 August 2021

Molybdenum is used in metabolising foods and helping healthy growth.

Close up of spoons containing grains and pulses
Whole grains and pulses are easily found sources of molybdenum

Molybdenum is an essential mineral that isn’t mentioned as often as some of the others but despite that, it’s part of some essential processes, so important to know about.

What is molybdenum used for?

Molybdenum is used in the metabolising of foods, breaking down proteins and other nutrients, and also works with iron to form strong bones. People who take molybdenum usually do so because they have been diagnosed with a deficiency (a rare occurrence). However, it is also touted as being beneficial in the treatment of certain cancers, including cancer of the oesophagus. To date, there are no large-scale studies to support this.

What’s the best way to take molybdenum?

Molybdenum is found a huge range of foods including dairy products, whole grains, pulses, poultry, rice, liver, kidney, green leafy vegetables, and seafood.

Does molybdenum really work?

Unless you have been diagnosed with a deficiency, taking a supplement is unlikely to make a noticeable difference to your health. Taking molybdenium alongside iron, however, can be useful as it helps with absoprtion.

Where can I get molybdenum?

Molybdenum is available in multivitamins or alongside iron supplements, in healthfood shops and online. You can, of course, simply eat a varied diet to ensure you get the molybdenum you need.

There is no Reference Nutrient Intake for molybdenum, but the American RDA is 45 micrograms.

What are the side effects of taking molybdenum?

There should be no side effects unless you take too much in supplement form. While there is no recommended daily intake for molybdenum in supplement form, aim for a maximum of around 45mcg per day in supplement form (average intake via diet is usually around 76mcg per day for women, and 109 for men). The upper limit, where it may cause harm, is estimated to be 2000mcg per day.

Are there any contraindications when taking molybdenum?

If you are planning to take large amounts, see your GP first as it could be risky. If you stick to taking a maximum of 45mcg per day there should be no contraindications.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.