Molybdenum is required for processing (metabolizing) nitrogen, activating certain enzymes, and enabling cells to function normally. Molybdenum also helps break down sulfites (which occur in foods naturally and are added as preservatives).
Molybdenum deficiency is rare. It may result from genetic disorders or inadequate consumption. Symptoms seem to vary. They may include mental retardation, seizures, increased heart and breathing rates, headache, nausea, vomiting, and coma.
Molybdenum excess is even more rare. It may cause swollen, painful joints and abnormalities of the digestive tract, liver, and kidneys.
Last full review/revision August 2008 by Larry E. Johnson, MD, PhD