Molybdenum is a trace element that is essential for almost all life forms. Although you may not have heard of it, this mineral does quite a lot for the maintenance of our health. Molybdenum is essential for the activity of enzymes and increases the speed of chemical reactions in the body. Cellular respiration and the utilization of oxygen are dependent on molybdenum to function normally. Prevention of DNA and RNA missteps in reproduction, as well as the maintenance of cell membranes, depend on molybdenum.
Can Molybdenum Prevent Cancer?
Molybdenum can also harness free radicals; the destructive molecules that can damage our cells. This capability makes it a potent antioxidant with potential to prevent cancer [I]. While further research is still needed on the connection between molybdenum and cancer, we do know other ways that molybdenum can disrupt its path. For instance, cancer is famous for hijacking the blood vessels of the body in order to grow. However, new tissues, including cancerous tumors, need copper for the creation of blood vessels. Molybdenum is known to deplete copper in the body and therefore, could potentially protect the tissues from cancer by blocking this action.
Another way that molybdenum may help in the prevention of cancer is that it acts to detoxify certain substances that create an environment in which cancer can grow. For example, the waste products of candida (a fungal overgrowth), fragrances found in lotions and perfumes, and drinking alcohol are all processed into acetaldehyde. This is known to create an environment that wreaks havoc in the body. Molybdenum cleans up this interior mess via an enzyme to break down these toxic substances into something the body can eliminate. This makes molybdenum essential in the role of detoxification, which perhaps, in itself, is a great way to decrease the risk of cancer.
Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
Men 45 mcg/day
Women 45 mcg/day
Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding 50 mcg/day
Upper Level Dosage (UL) 2000 mcg/day
Food Sources of Molybdenum
Animal sources: Liver and organ meats
Plant sources: Legumes and whole grains
15 grams of mung beans—61 mcg
15 grams cowpeas—57 mcg
10 grams oats—11 mcg
10 grams buckwheat—8 mcg
Data on food content of molybdenum is somewhat scarce. Legumes appear to be your best source of this nutrient, followed by liver and organ meats.
Whip up a batch of this Easy Creamy Hummus for some free radical destruction!
[I] Higdon, Jane. “Micronutrient Information Center: Molybdenum.” Linus Pauling Institute, 2001. Web. May. 2016. <http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/molybdenum>.