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Molybdenum: natural sources and availability


Molybdenum is essential, meaning that life cannot be sustained without it – but where can you find it, and how do you know how much you need?

Molybdenum is naturally occurring and is found combined with other elements all around us in rocks, soil and rivers. Conveniently, it is also found in many foods including lentils, nuts and wholegrains, cows’ milk, and vegetables such as cauliflower, spinach and kale. The amounts within foods vary depending on the molybdenum content of the soil.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for molybdenum is 45 micrograms per day for an adult.  Although molybdenum is found in over-the-counter food supplements, a normal diet will supply the amount needed. And thanks to a mechanism called homeostasis, the body excretes any excess molybdenum, preventing accumulation and keeping levels within an optimal range.

Like other elements, molybdenum can be harmful in excessive concentrations, but is not harmful at the levels you would find in household items and everyday products. The level needed to pose a risk is actually much greater than for many other elements – molybdenum is not one of those so-called ‘heavy metals’, which are recognized as toxic.

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