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Molybdenum: A Key Player in Enzymatic Reactions

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Molybdenum is a trace element that is essential for human health. It plays a vital role in many enzymatic reactions in the body, making it a key player in overall health and well-being.

Brief History and Discovery

Molybdenum was discovered in 1778 by a Swedish chemist named Carl Wilhelm Scheele. He found the element in a mineral called molybdenite, which is a naturally occurring sulfide mineral that is found in many parts of the world.

It was not until the early 20th century that the importance of molybdenum for human health was recognized. In 1930, researchers discovered that molybdenum was an essential nutrient for rats. Later, in 1953, it was found to be essential for cattle as well.

Sources

Molybdenum is found in a variety of foods, including legumes, grains, nuts, and leafy vegetables. Some of the best sources of molybdenum include:

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cashews
  • Spinach
  • Kale

Functions in the Body

Molybdenum is a key player in many enzymatic reactions in the body. It is an essential component of several important enzymes, including xanthine oxidase, sulfite oxidase, and aldehyde oxidase.

Xanthine oxidase is involved in the breakdown of purines, which are important components of DNA and RNA. Sulfite oxidase helps to convert sulfite to sulfate, which is an important step in the metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids. Aldehyde oxidase is involved in the breakdown of certain drugs and toxins in the liver.

Molybdenum is also important for the metabolism of iron in the body. It helps to convert iron into a form that can be used by the body, and it is also involved in the transport of iron throughout the body.

Recommended Daily Intake

The recommended daily intake of molybdenum varies depending on age and gender. For adults, the recommended daily intake is 45 micrograms per day. However, pregnant and breastfeeding women may require higher amounts of molybdenum.

It is important to note that consuming too much molybdenum can be harmful. High levels of molybdenum can interfere with the absorption of copper, which can lead to copper deficiency. In addition, high levels of molybdenum can also cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and skin rash.

Recap and Conclusion

In conclusion, molybdenum is an essential trace element that plays a vital role in many enzymatic reactions in the body. It is found in a variety of foods, including legumes, grains, nuts, and leafy vegetables. While the recommended daily intake for adults is 45 micrograms per day, consuming too much molybdenum can be harmful.

Caroline Buckee

Caroline Flannigan is an epidemiologist. She is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and is the Associate Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics.

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