Molybdenum does not occur naturally as a free metal and was only relatively recently isolated as a separate chemical element. More work has been done on identifying the results of deficiencies than on its positive effects; aspects of deficiency focus on high levels of urate and sulphite, with the potential for consequent neurological damage. However, in China, studies have linked molybdenum soil content with longevity.
It is a trace element with low concentrations in the human body, which are mostly found in the liver and kidneys, although some is present in tooth enamel where it might be helpful in preventing tooth decay.
Dietary intake of molybdenum tends to average around 90μg/day, which is well above recommendation. The richest sources of the mineral are legumes (peas, beans and lentils), followed by nuts and grains, while fruit, vegetables and meat are generally poor sources. Molybdenum content of plants varies considerably depending on environmental factors, particularly the soil content.
Molybdenum is required for the proper functioning of at least three important enzymes in the body and research has suggested that it could be instrumental in the treatment of Candida albicans. It can be found in nutritional supplements in compounds with ammonium or sodium.