More and more people are developing sulfur, histamine, and mold sensitivity. Can these issues stem from the increased need for a relatively unknown mineral? Yes, the vital mineral mentioned above is known as molybdenum. Can supplementing with molybdenum improve your health?

What is Molybdenum?

Molybdenum is a mineral that is not found freely in nature. The mineral can be easily sourced from the metal ore molybdenite. It was once used in pencils and is easily confused with graphite. Molybdenum was successfully isolated by the Swedish chemist Peter J. Hjelm in 1781. The mineral is currently used to produce certain metal alloys used primarily in producing military weapons. Molybdenum-containing alloys have increased strength and corrosion-resistive properties. Finally, the mineral is also used as a natural plant fertilizer.1 2

What are Its Dietary Sources?

Molybdenum ingestion absorption is limited from many plant sources by phytic acid. Phytic acid is a storage form of phosphorus and inositol (inositol hexakisphosphate) in plants that are not bio-available through ingestion. Phytic acid is an excellent chelator that binds itself to other minerals found inside plants for storage, making their bio-availability less through ingestion.3 4

Soy contains large amounts of the mineral, but one human study showed that less than half of it is absorbed by the body when ingested, hindered by phytic acid. In comparison, molybdenum found in kale seems at least 85% bio-available to the body per the same study.5

Dietary sources of the mineral that would not be bound by large amounts of phytic acid include:6

  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Cow Liver
  • Chicken Liver
  • Kale
  • Green beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Milk

Why is the Mineral Important for Your Health?

Molybdenum is essential in producing four main enzymes in the body known as molybdoenzymes.

  • Sulfite oxidaseSulfite oxidase is produced by the body to catalyze the transformation of sulfites into sulfates, which are eliminated from the body. Ingested sulfites themselves are recognized as strong food allergens for many people. In some cases, they may stem from minor deficiencies causing less production of sulfite oxidase by the body. Sulfite oxidase is essential for metabolizing all ingested sulfur from our diet, including sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine and cysteine). Finally, sulfite oxidase is necessary for mitochondrial function because it helps transfer produced electrons to the electron transport chain, eventually generating ATP.7 8
  • Xanthine oxidaseXanthine oxidase is produced by the body to catalyze the breakdown of nucleotides to form the primary human antioxidant uric acid. Though uric acid is essential as an antioxidant, too much may crystallize in joints and cause gout. A few case reports have documented that too much molybdenum may cause gout-like symptoms, possibly from the overproduction of xanthine oxidase and uric acid.9 10
  • Aldehyde oxidase & Aldehyde dehydrogenase – Aldehyde oxidase and aldehyde dehydrogenase are produced by the body to breakdown aldehydes that many are known toxic compounds, including formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. Consumption of alcohol requires ample amounts of aldehyde oxidase and aldehyde dehydrogenase to convert acetaldehydes produced from ethanol detoxification by the liver into carboxylic acids that can be used by the body. Mold and yeast also produce a lot of aldehydes that require these enzymes to help detoxify.11 12 13 14 15

Molybdenum is also used to produce lesser molybdoenzymes, including:

  • DMSO Reductase – Some people supplement with DMSO to bypass our natural skin barrier and absorb topically applied supplements directly into the venous system to help fight against cancer or reduce inflammation from arthritis. The mineral helps make the enzymenecessary to break it down into dimethyl sulfide so that it is eliminated from the body.16

Should You Supplement With Molybdenum?

Most people get adequate amounts of molybdenum in their diet. Depending on the region of the world you live in, though (like some parts of China and Iran), the soil might be depleted in molybdenum, and you may need help to get adequate amounts of the mineral from your diet. Lack of proper moly intake from our diet has been linked to an increased risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.17

It may be possible that people suffering from alcoholism, yeast/fungal infections, hydrogen sulfide dysbiosis, or mold toxicity have depleted bodily storages of the mineral. People suffering from these conditions might need molybdenum supplementation to improve their health.

When you drink alcohol, and your face flushes excessively (usually from a lack of aldehyde dehydrogenase needed to metabolize alcohol,) or you have developed allergies to sulfur or sulfite-containing foods and beverages, you might have depleted bodily storages of the mineral and may need to supplement.18 19

Finally, molybdenum supplementation might help improve your health if you suffer from histamine intolerance, multiple chemical sensitivity, or mast cell activation syndrome.

The Different Supplemental Forms and My Recommendations

  • Ammonium molybdate/potassium molybdate/sodium molybdate – Not the best-absorbed forms of molybdenum should be avoided if possible.
  • Molybdenum yeastA “natural” form of molybdenum claimed to be easily assimilated by the body. What would possibly be wrong with recommending the chelation, you may ask? Molybdenum yeast is found in most of your “natural” vitamins, including New Chapter, Garden of Life, and Megafood. The main problem I have with this form of the mineral is that you have to ingest a lot of brewer’s yeast (that some people are sensitive to) in the whole supplement only to get a tiny amount of molybdenum. There are just a lot better options for supplementation out there.
  • Molybdenum aspartate – Excess aspartic acid may be neurotoxic.20 Avoid if possible.
  • Molybdenum citrate – Molybdenum citrate is a mineral chelated with citric acid. Molybdenum citrate has average absorption and slightly increases stomach acid levels. Some people with mold toxicity, histamine intolerance, and mast cell activation disorder react negatively to citrate mineral chelations.
  • Molybdenum picolinate – Molybdenum picolinate is a moly supplement  chelated with picolinic acid. Picolinic acid is a compound that is an isomer of niacin and is a carbolite of the amino acid tryptophan. Molybdenum picolinate has superior absorption.
  • Molybdenum glycinate – Highly absorbable form of molybdenum. The bounded glycine promotes healthy sleep when taken a hour before bed and provides a calm feeling as an inhibitory amino acid neurotransmitter. Do not supplement if you are suffering from hydrogen sulfide dysbiosis. Recommend form of molybdenum if you are suffering from mold sensitivity, histamine intolerance, multiple chemical sensitivity, and mast cell activation disorder.
  • M0-Zyme Forte is my recommended molybdenum supplement for people with hydrogen sulfide dysbiosis. M0-Zyme Forte is well absorbed and tolerated by many numerous people I have coached with hydrogen sulfide dysbiosis and has improved their health.

Molybdenum Toxicity and Supplemental Recommendations

Toxicity rarely occurs from the diet. Toxicity can occur, however, if too much molybdenum is supplemented.21

Gout-like symptoms from elevated uric acid levels may occur if one takes a relatively high dose of 10-15 milligrams of the mineral daily. Anemia may also occur from long-term ingestion of large amounts of supplemental molybdenum because of its iron binding capabilities. Blood and urinary uric acid levels seem not to be increased if supplementing less than 1.5 milligrams daily.22

Symptoms of acute toxicity include decreased appetite, listlessness, weakness, fatigue, anorexia, headache, arthritis, myalgia, chest pain, nonproductive cough, and diarrhea. Symptoms of severe toxicity include psychosis, seizures, anxiety, severe depression, changes in mood, headaches, coma, and death.23

One of the most widespread cautionary tales of supplementing with molybdenum is possible psychosis toxicity. Psychosis toxicity occurred in one gentleman who supplemented a milligram of the mineral daily for eighteen days in a widely known case report. It is possible that the man in the case study could not clear the mineral properly from his system because he had a very high amount per milliliter of blood. In addition, the amount that he was consuming from the supplement might have been much higher than what was on the label because of a manufacturing error. Either way, this is one case compared to millions of people that ingest molybdenum supplements or amounts in their supplements daily, and it appears to be a single event.24

To prevent molybdenum toxicity, I recommend taking one milligram of the mineral every other day or at least every day if needed. Molybdenum supplementation may interfere with copper metabolism by reducing ceruloplasmin, so use caution if you have copper metabolism issues. Supplementation of magnesium while taking the mineral may increase ceruloplasmin activity enough to offset this issue. The inhibition of ceruloplasmin may only occur in females; more studies are needed to determine the relationship between molybdenum and ceruloplasmin.25 26