December 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Elements

Keywords: detoxification,  xanthine oxidase, sulphur amino acid metabolism


  • Aldehyde detoxification
  • DNA metabolism
  • Haemoglobin production
  • Iron metabolism
  • Sulphate production
  • Sulphite inactivation
  • Methionine and cysteine metabolism
  • Taurine synthesis
  • Uric acid production

Good food sources

  • Beans (especially butterbeans/lima beans)
  • Buckwheat
  • Lentils
  • Liver and other organ meats
  • Split peas
  • Whole grains

Deficiency signs and symptoms

  • Aggravation of symptoms in sulphite-sensitive asthmatics
  • Associated with cancer of the oesophagus
  • Eye lens dislocation
  • Gouty arthritis
  • Low levels of inorganic sulphate in urine
  • Mental retardation and neurological problems caused by sulphite toxicity and/or inadequate amounts of inorganic sulphate for the formation of sulphated compounds present in the brain
  • Poor growth
  • Sexual impotence
  • Tooth decay
  • Very low levels of uric acid in serum and urine

Preventing deficiency

The use of wholegrain rather than white flour products is as important to prevent molybdenum deficiency as it is for most vitamins and minerals. You should ensure a daily intake of the molybdenum-rich foods listed above.

A high intake of copper or of sulphate (e.g. ferrous sulphate iron supplements or magnesium sulphate—better known as epsom salts) can impede the absorption of molybdenum and increase its excretion.


Molybdenum is required for the three important enzymes xanthine oxidase (needed for purine metabolism), aldehyde oxidase (needed for the conversion of aldehydes to acids), and sulphite oxidase (needed for sulphur amino acid metabolism and the production of inorganic sulphate).

Information compiled by Linda Lazarides
Naturopathic Nutritionist, Author, Educator

Linda Lazarides is Course Director of the School of Modern Naturopathy and author of eight books on health, nutrition and naturopathy.

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