A trace mineral is any mineral that the body requires in small amounts to support numerous functions.  Molybdenum is classified as a metallic element and found widely in nature in nitrogen-fixing bacteria.  It is essential in trace amounts for human, animal and plant health. In humans and animals, it serves mainly as an essential cofactor of enzymes and aids in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.  We need it only in very small amounts which are attained through a healthy diet.

Molybdenum is stored in the body, particularly in the liver, kidneys, glands, and bones. It is also found in the lungs, spleen, skin, and muscles. About 90% of the molybdenum eaten in foods is eliminated by the body through the urine.  Molybdenum contributes to the healthy function of your nervous system and kidneys as well.  It works with vitamin B2 to incorporate iron into hemoglobin, thus supporting the production of red blood cells.  It also plays a role in energy production on a cellular level.  Although the specific functions of molybdenum are not well understood, the American Cancer Society notes that this element may have the potential to counteract the damaging effects of certain cancer drugs on the heart and lungs.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for molybdenum is 45 micrograms for men and women ages 19 and older. The quantity of molybdenum in the foods you eat may vary according to the amount of molybdenum in the soil in which these foods are grown.  It is found in beans, peas, lentils, nuts, leafy green vegetables, liver, brown rice, cereal grains, whole grains and nuts.

Deficiency is very rare in humans.  Signs of deficiency include defects in uric acid production, decreased metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids, increased respiratory or heart rate, night blindness, mouth and gum disorders and impotence in older males.  Epidemiologic evidence also suggests that populations living in areas where the soil has little molybdenum are at a greater risk of esophageal cancers.  Most people get enough through diet and a good multi vitamin.  Some may take it in an additional supplement form for candida (yeast) overgrowth.  While there is no known toxicity level, large amounts can interfere with copper absorption.

Taking vitamins and minerals in their correct balance is vital to the proper functioning of all vitamins.  They work together, which means that the effectiveness of any one nutrient requires, or is enhanced by the presence of certain other nutrients.  Because of this, if you are looking to take supplements for maintenance of optimal health, the recommended approach is to take a multi-vitamin that has the proper balance of all the necessary nutrients your body needs.  It is important to remember that while mineral supplements are useful to plug nutritional gaps that are almost inevitable in modern diets there is no substitute for a good diet.  Instead, use them to complement a healthy diet and lifestyle.