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Molybdenum

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Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Ammonium molybdate, ammonium tetrathiomolybdate, ATN-224, chelated molybdenum, choline tetrathiomolybdate, dithiomolybdate, heptamolybdate, ionic molybdenum, metallic molybdenum, Mo, Mo99, molybdate, molibdeno (Spanish), molybdene, molybdenum citrate, molybdenum picolinate, molybdenum-99, molybdopterine, Molypen, MoO2S2, polyoxomolybdate, sodium molybdate, technetium-99, tetrathiomolybdate, thiomolybdate, TM.

Background
  • Molybdenum is a transition metal, and it is required by most organisms, including humans. Molybdenum is found in the earth's crust, soil, and plants, and higher levels are found in the soil of certain areas, such as Australia and New Zealand. In plants, molybdenum is found in higher concentrations in those having symbiotic relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, such as legumes and leafy vegetables. Molybdenum is also found in animal livers and dairy products. Recommended dietary allowances, tolerable upper intake levels, and adequate intake levels have been established for molybdenum for children, adults, and pregnant or lactating women.
  • In the human body, molybdenum is considered an essential trace element and plays an important role as a cofactor for several enzymes. Molybdenum deficiency results in decreased activity of these enzymes. Molybdenum and related compounds (thiomolybdate products) have been studied for use in cancer, macular degeneration, cataract prevention, cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), symptomatic Wilson's disease (an inherited disorder resulting in too much copper), hypertension, and stroke. Further research is needed.
  • Adverse effects associated with high doses of molybdenum include decreased copper levels in the body, decreased blood cell production, goutlike symptoms, and central nervous system effects. Also, molybdenum contamination of supplements, foods, and drugs may need to be monitored, due to the possibility of toxic effects at high levels.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Wilson's disease is a genetic disease that results in increased copper levels in the body, leading to copper toxicity. Tetrathiomolybdate (TM), a form of molybdenum, has been studied for use in diseases involving copper metabolism, such as Wilson's disease. At this time, evidence in support of TM for Wilson's disease is inconclusive. Further research is warranted.

B


The use of vitamins and minerals to prevent cancer is of interest. Molybdenum has been reported to alter the incidence of esophageal and gastric cancer in several studies. However, many of the studies have been conducted in select populations with a high incidence of these cancers, as well as micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiencies. Well-designed trials using molybdenum alone are needed before a conclusion may be made.

C


Tetrathiomolybdate (TM), a form of molybdenum, has been studied for use in cancer. At this time, evidence in support of TM for cancer is inconclusive. Further research is warranted.

C


There is limited information available with respect to molybdenum intake and cataract prevention. Further research is needed.

C


Copper accumulation may occur in patients with liver dysfunctions. Molybdenum intake may decrease copper levels and prevent copper accumulation. Further studies are needed.

C


Early research suggests that dental caries may be prevented with molybdenum ions. More studies are needed in this area.

C


Molybdenum may play a role in blood pressure regulation. However, high-quality research on the effects of molybdenum on blood pressure in humans is lacking. More studies are needed.

C


There is limited information available with respect to molybdenum intake and macular degeneration. Further trials are warranted.

C


Decreasing mortality with the use of vitamins and supplements is a commonly studied topic. However, data are limited with respect to molybdenum. More research is needed in this area.

C


Molybdenum may play a role in blood pressure regulation, which may affect stroke risk. However, information on the effects of molybdenum on stroke risk in humans is lacking. Further studies are warranted.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Acne, allergies, Alzheimer's disease, anemia, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, asthma, autoimmune disorders, Bell's palsy, burns, chemical sensitivities (sulfite sensitivity), dental procedures (implants), detoxification, diabetes, doxorubicin cardiotoxicity, eczema, gout, growth, impotence, insomnia, lupus, Lyme disease, Menkes' kinky-hair disease, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis prevention, parasitic infections, poisoning (copper), pulmonary fibrosis, retinopathy, yeast infection.

Dosing

Adults (over 18 years old)

  • The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of molybdenum is 45 micrograms daily, and the tolerable upper intake level (UL) is two milligrams daily. The RDA of molybdenum during pregnancy and lactation is 50 micrograms daily. The UL during pregnancy and lactation is two milligrams daily.
  • For cancer treatment, the following doses have been taken by mouth: 40 milligrams of tetrathiomolybdate (TM) three times daily with meals along with 60 milligrams at bedtime (for a total of four daily doses); 20 milligrams three times daily with meals plus an escalating dose (30 milligrams, 45 milligrams, or 60 milligrams in three divided doses); and 150 milligrams of ATN-224 daily for two weeks, then reduced to 90 milligrams daily in a 28-day cycle.
  • For cirrhosis (primary biliary), 20 milligrams of tetrathiomolybdate (TM) has been taken by mouth three times daily with meals along with 60 milligrams at bedtime without food, daily for the first week. This has been increased to 40 milligrams three times daily with meals and 60 milligrams at bedtime without food, adjusted as needed, for 4-24 months.
  • For macular degeneration, 20 milligrams of tetrathiomolybdate (TM) has been taken by mouth three times daily (with meals) plus 60 milligrams at night, adjusted as needed, for up to 12 months.
  • For Wilson's disease (symptomatic), 100-410 milligrams of tetrathiomolybdate (TM) has been taken by mouth daily to achieve an appropriate copper level.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • The adequate intake (AI) for infants 0-6 months old is two micrograms of molybdenum daily or 0.3 micrograms per kilogram daily. The AI for infants 7-12 months old is three micrograms of molybdenum daily or 0.3 micrograms per kilogram daily. The RDA for children 1-3 years of age is 17 micrograms; for those 4-8 years of age, it is 22 micrograms; for those 9-13 years of age, it is 34 micrograms; and for those 14-18 years of age, it is 43 micrograms. The molybdenum UL for infants aged 0-12 months has not been reported. The UL for children 1-3 years old is 0.3 milligrams; for those 4-8 years old, it is 0.6 milligrams; for those 9-13 years old, it is 1.1 milligrams daily; and for those 14-18 years old, it is 1.7 milligrams daily. The RDA of molybdenum for pregnancy and lactation in 14-18 year-olds is 50 micrograms. The molybdenum UL for pregnancy and lactation is 1.7 milligrams in 14-18 year-olds.
  • For preterm infants, 4-6 micrograms of molybdenum per kilogram, taken by mouth daily, has been proposed as an adequate dose in low-birthweight infants. One microgram of molybdenum per kilogram taken by intravenous route (through the veins) has been proposed as an adequate daily dose.
  • For Wilson's disease (symptomatic), 100-410 milligrams of tetrathiomolybdate (TM) has been taken by mouth daily to achieve an appropriate copper level.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

    Avoid molybdenum with known allergy/hypersensitivity to constituents in molybdenum- containing products. Also, metal sensitivity to molybdenum has been reported.

      Side Effects and Warnings

      • Side effects of molybdenum supplementation include gastrointestinal upset, sulfur burps, blood abnormalities, infertility, and gouty symptoms. Pneumoconiosis, headaches, fatigue, and mild irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin have also been reported following exposure to molybdenum. Other side effects include an increase in triglycerides (blood lipids); decreased estrogen and testosterone levels; increased glucose, insulin, and lactate levels; decreased thyroxine levels; elevated liver enzyme levels and bilirubin concentrations; diarrhea; nausea; liver and pancreas fibrosis and necrosis; hematuria (blood in the urine); reduced production of blood cells; thrombosis; decreased levels of other minerals in the body; psychosis; depression; learning effects; arthritis symptoms; protein abnormalities; and tuberculosis symptoms.
      • Molybdenum and thiomolybdates have been reported to cause copper deficiency, and many of the adverse effects of molybdenum may be due to copper depletion. Caution is warranted in individuals with copper deficiency, those at risk of copper deficiency, or patients with metabolic disorders that decrease copper.
      • Molybdenum may increase blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
      • Molybdenum may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that lower blood pressure.
      • Use cautiously in patients with phenylketonuria who require a semisynthetic, phenylalanine-restricted diet; those with gout, lipid disorders, or kidney disorders; or premature infants, unless under the care of a physician.
      • Use cautiously at high doses with sulfur-containing agents, due to possible increases in copper-chelating effects.
      • Avoid in doses exceeding the tolerable upper intake level, as toxicity and severe side effects have been reported.
      • Avoid in patients with allergies or hypersensitivity to molybdenum or its constituents.
      • Avoid use of tetrathiomolybdate (TM), a form of molybdenum, unless under the care of a physician, due to the possibility of severe side effects.

      Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

      • Not recommended above levels commonly found in micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) supplements, unless otherwise directed by a physician, due to lack of sufficient human data.

      Interactions

      Interactions with Drugs

      • Molybdenum-containing enzymes may affect the metabolism of various drugs.
      • Molybdenum may lower blood pressure and should be used cautiously with other drugs that alter blood pressure. Also, caution is advised in patients taking drugs that affect the heart, as this combination may alter the effects of the drug or cause unwanted side effects.
      • Molybdenum may increase blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare provider. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
      • Molybdenum may also interact with 2,2'-bipyridyl, anticancer agents, cholesterol-lowering agents, corticosteroids, doxorubicin, EDTA, fluoride, monensin, sulfur compounds, and tamoxifen.

      Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

      • Molybdenum-containing enzymes may affect the metabolism of various herbs and supplements.
      • Molybdenum may increase blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
      • Molybdenum may lower blood pressure and should be used cautiously with other herbs and supplements that alter blood pressure. Also, caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that affect the heart, as this combination may alter the effects of the herb or cause unwanted side effects.
      • Molybdenum may also interact with anticancer agents, antioxidants, arginine, ascorbic acid, boron, calcium, cholesterol-lowering agents, citrate, copper, crude protein, flavonoids, fluoride, germanium, glutathione, iron, magnesium, manganese, molasses, sulfur compounds, tungsten, and vanadium.

      Attribution
      • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

      Bibliography
      1. Askari F, Innis D, Dick RB, Hou G, Marrero J, Greenson J, Brewer GJ. Treatment of primary biliary cirrhosis with tetrathiomolybdate: results of a double-blind trial. Transl Res. 2010 Mar;155(3):123-30.
      2. Blot WJ, Li JY, Taylor PR, Guo W, Dawsey S, Wang GQ, Yang CS, Zheng SF, Gail M, Li GY, et al. Nutrition intervention trials in Linxian, China: supplementation with specific vitamin/mineral combinations, cancer incidence, and disease-specific mortality in the general population. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1993 Sep 15;85(18):1483-92.
      3. Brewer GJ, Johnson V, Dick RD, Kluin KJ, Fink JK, Brunberg JA. Treatment of Wilson disease with ammonium tetrathiomolybdate. II. Initial therapy in 33 neurologically affected patients and follow-up with zinc therapy. Arch Neurol. 1996 Oct;53(10):1017-25.
      4. Brewer GJ, Dick RD, Grover DK, LeClaire V, Tseng M, Wicha M, Pienta K, Redman BG, Jahan T, Sondak VK, Strawderman M, LeCarpentier G, Merajver SD. Treatment of metastatic cancer with tetrathiomolybdate, an anticopper, antiangiogenic agent: Phase I study. Clin Cancer Res. 2000 Jan;6(1):1-10.
      5. Brewer GJ, Hedera P, Kluin KJ, Carlson M, Askari F, Dick RB, Sitterly J, Fink JK. Treatment of Wilson disease with ammonium tetrathiomolybdate: III. Initial therapy in a total of 55 neurologically affected patients and follow-up with zinc therapy. Arch Neurol. 2003 Mar;60(3):379-85.
      6. Brewer GJ, Askari F, Lorincz MT, Carlson M, Schilsky M, Kluin KJ, Hedera P, Moretti P, Fink JK, Tankanow R, Dick RB, Sitterly J. Treatment of Wilson disease with ammonium tetrathiomolybdate: IV. Comparison of tetrathiomolybdate and trientine in a double-blind study of treatment of the neurologic presentation of Wilson disease. Arch Neurol. 2006 Apr;63(4):521-7.
      7. Coulter ID, Hardy ML, Morton SC, Hilton LG, Tu W, Valentine D, Shekelle PG. Antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin e for the prevention and treatment of cancer. J Gen Intern Med. 2006 Jul;21(7):735-44.
      8. Henry NL, Dunn R, Merjaver S, Pan Q, Pienta KJ, Brewer G, Smith DC. Phase II trial of copper depletion with tetrathiomolybdate as an antiangiogenesis strategy in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer. Oncology. 2006;71(3-4):168-75.
      9. Li B, Taylor PR, Li JY, Dawsey SM, Wang W, Tangrea JA, Liu BQ, Ershow AG, Zheng SF, Fraumeni JF Jr, et al. Linxian nutrition intervention trials. Design, methods, participant characteristics, and compliance. Ann Epidemiol. 1993 Nov;3(6):577-85.
      10. Lowndes SA, Adams A, Timms A, Fisher N, Smythe J, Watt SM, Joel S, Donate F, Hayward C, Reich S, Middleton M, Mazar A, Harris AL. Phase I study of copper-binding agent ATN-224 in patients with advanced solid tumors. Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Nov 15;14(22):7526-34.
      11. Meeker, J. D., Rossano, M. G., Protas, B., Diamond, M. P., Puscheck, E., Daly, D., Paneth, N., and Wirth, J. J. Cadmium, lead, and other metals in relation to semen quality: human evidence for molybdenum as a male reproductive toxicant. Environ.Health Perspect. 2008;116(11):1473-1479.
      12. Pass HI, Brewer GJ, Dick R, Carbone M, Merajver S. A phase II trial of tetrathiomolybdate after surgery for malignant mesothelioma: final results. Ann Thorac Surg. 2008 Aug;86(2):383-9.
      13. Redman BG, Esper P, Pan Q, Dunn RL, Hussain HK, Chenevert T, Brewer GJ, Merajver SD. Phase II trial of tetrathiomolybdate in patients with advanced kidney cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2003 May;9(5):1666-72.
      14. Sperduto RD, Hu TS, Milton RC, Zhao JL, Everett DF, Cheng QF, Blot WJ, Bing L, Taylor PR, Li JY, et al. The Linxian cataract studies. Two nutrition intervention trials. Arch Ophthalmol. 1993 Sep;111(9):1246-53.
      15. Vine AK, Brewer GJ. Tetrathiomolybdate as an antiangiogenesis therapy for subfoveal choroidal neovascularization secondary to age-related macular degeneration. Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 2002;100:73-6; discussion 76-7.

      Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


      The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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