Key Concepts

  • AI – 45 mcg/day
  • UL – 2 mg/day
  • Food Sources – Lentils, peas, whole grains, nuts

Adequate Intake (AI)

The adequate intake for molybdenum is 45 mcg/day. The average intake for women in the U.S. is 76 mcg/day. The average intake for men in the U.S. is 110 mcg/day.


Molybdenum is a component of molybdoenzymes which are involved in nitrogen metabolism. Molybdenum cofactor (MOCO) is present in the active site of molybdoenzymes. Molybdoenzymes allow for the conversion of nitrate to ammonium. Molybdenum is also a component of xanthine oxidase and sulfate oxidase. Sulfate oxidase is important in cysteine and methionine metabolism.


There are no known side effects of a nutritional deficiency of molybdenum.

Very rare inborn metabolic disorders involving molybdenum can lead to cerebral atrophy and intractable seizures.

Toxicity/Excess/Upper Limit Intake Level (UL)

The upper limit intake level for molybdenum is 2 mg/day. There is currently little evidence of toxicity although excess intakes of molybdenum may cause seizures, hallucinations, and gout-like symptoms. Molybdenum is used periodically in some environmental pollutants.

Food Sources

Legumes (beans, lentils, and peas) are the best sources of molybdenum. Grain products and nuts are considered good sources, while animal products, fruit, and many vegetables are generally low in molybdenum. The molybdenum content of foods is heavily dependent on soil molybdenum content and other environmental conditions.




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