Last updated April 23, 2021 by Lisa Richards, CNC   Reviewed by Katie Stone, ND.

Molybdenum: An Essential Trace Mineral

Molybdenum can reduce Candida symptoms and prevent a Die-off reaction

Molybdenum is an essential trace mineral. It is found naturally in the human body, in small quantities, and also in certain foods. It is an excellent supplement to protect your body from the effects of Candida overgrowth.

Molybdenum is particularly useful for reducing the symptoms of Candida overgrowth and for avoiding Candida Die-off. It helps to process and expel toxins like acetaldehyde that are produced by Candida albicans as a byproduct of its metabolism.

Molybdenum has other health benefits too. It reduces the risk of certain cancers, supports improved circulation, enables your body to process the sulfites found in many foods, and may even prevent tooth decay!

Molybdenum deficiency is unusual among healthy people, as there are many food sources. However, deficiencies can arise in certain situations like alcoholism or chronic fungal overgrowth. In these cases, and particularly when combined with a poor diet, it can be beneficial to supplement with molybdenum.

How Does Molybdenum Help With Candida?

To understand how molybdenum can help with Candida, you need to understand that Candida albicans is constantly releasing endotoxins into your system. The Candida yeast lives on sugars in your gut. When it uses these sugars (e.g. to build its cell walls or create biofilms), one of the byproducts that it releases is a neurotoxin named acetaldehyde. This is just one of the toxins that Candida releases, but it happens to be the most important. (1)

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Acetaldehyde has a whole host of detrimental effects on your health and wellbeing. It can impair your brain function and even kill brain cells. Your endocrine, immune and respiratory systems can all be affected, and it also damages the membranes of your red blood cells, reducing their ability to carry oxygen round the body. (2, 3, 4)

Acetaldehyde is not just produced by Candida albicans. It is also a product of ethanol metabolism, and therefore tends to be present in large amounts among those who drink alcohol regularly. In fact, acetaldehyde is one of the major reasons why you wake up hungover after a night of drinking.

You can see how excess acetaldehyde can be linked to Candida symptoms like brain fog and fatigue.

Acetaldehyde stays in your body – it does not get excreted like other toxins. A build up or accumulation of acetaldehyde can lead to joint pain, a feeling of weakness and aches in muscles, in addition to those harmful effects on your brain.

Acetaldehyde is also released during Candida Die-Off, which is when molybdenum is especially useful. If you think you are undergoing Die-Off and you are experiencing the usual fatigue and flu-like symptoms, Molybdenum may be able to help.

Molybdenum helps by converting the acetaldehyde into acetic acid. This harmless acid can then be excreted from the body. Alternatively, the acetic acid can be converted into an enzyme named acetyl coenzyme A, which is an important part of your metabolism.

There are few studies of molybdenum and Candida, but one study found that it reversed flu-like Candida symptoms and resulted in an increase in energy. (5) Anecdotally, molybdenum is used by many Candida sufferers to manage their symptoms.

5 Health Benefits of Molybdenum

1. Molybdenum Relieves and Prevents Sulfite Sensitivity

Sulfites are sulfur-containing molecules commonly used in the food industry to keep food looking fresh. They are typically used as anti-browning agents, antioxidants, and preservatives.

Sulfite sensitivity is becoming more and more common as the human body cannot recognise these agents as real ingredients. Sensitivity may be triggered by foods or drinks high in sulfites, such as soft drinks and juices, beer and wine, dried apricots, processed meats, sauerkraut and maple syrup.

Symptoms of sulfur sensitivity include wheezing, nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, hives and tingling sensations. In severe cases, sulphite sensitivity can result in shock or even loss of consciousness. (6)

Deficiency in molybdenum can increase sulphite sensitivity because sulfite oxidase is less able to convert sulfite to sulfate. This build-up of sulfite can lead to sulfite sensitivity. However, when molybdenum levels are sufficient, sulfur breakdown can occur normally. (7)

2. Molybdenum Balances Uric Acid Levels

Uric acid function is highly important to the body as it acts as a powerful antioxidant, helping to scavenge and neutralise reactive oxygen species (free radicals).

When molybdenum is insufficient, the body’s xanthine oxidase function can be impaired, which can lead to low levels of uric acid in the blood and urine. In turn, low uric acid can develop into serious disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease (HD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Note that uric acid is another metabolite of Candida albicans. So uric acid deficiency is likely to be rare among those with intestinal fungal overgrowth.

3. Molybdenum Supports Circulation

Molybdenum helps to support circulation by maintaining normal nitric oxide levels in the body. Molybdenum is a vital component of nitrate reductase, the enzyme required for breaking down nitrate. Nitrate is crucial for healthy nitric oxide production in the body. When broken down, nitrate creates nitrogen dioxide, a direct precursor to nitric oxide (8).

Nitric oxide is needed for healthy circulation as it helps to dilate blood vessels. It also helps to regulate cell growth and blood vessels from injury.

4. Molybdenum May Help To Reduce the Risk Of Esophageal and Rectal Cancers

Some populations who have low levels of overall nutrients in their soil tend to have higher rates of esophageal cancer. Because the women in these populations have a higher tendency to develop esophageal and rectal cancer, it has been suggested that molybdenum deficiency may be a causative factor. (9)

5. Molybdenum Helps In Detoxifying Alcohol and other Drugs

Molybdenum is regarded as a crucial component of the body’s detoxification pathways, due to its ability to act as a cofactor for specific enzymes. One of these enzymes is sulfite oxidase – the enzyme needed for breaking down sulphite and turning it sulfate (which the body can use) (10).

Molybdenum is also vital for the proper function of two other important enzymes involved in detoxification, aldehyde oxidase and aldehyde dehydrogenase. Aldehyde dehydrogenase is required for converting acetaldehyde into acetic acid. Acetaldehyde is a harmful by-product of alcohol consumption, and can lead to unpleasant toxicity in the body if levels are too high.

Aldehyde oxidase also plays an important role in metabolizing many pharmaceutical drugs.

Symptoms of Molybdenum Deficiency

Molybdenum deficiency is relatively unusual in healthy individuals. The average daily intake of molybdenum in the US estimated to be around 76 micrograms per day for women and 109 micrograms per day for men, which is slightly higher than the Recommended Dietary Allowance. (11)

There have been a few verified cases of severe molybdenum deficiency, which are mostly linked to adverse health conditions. One case, for example, involved a patient who was receiving artificial nutrition through a feeding tube, but wasn’t being provided with molybdenum. The resulting symptom included an increased heart rate and breathing difficulties, as well as vomiting, disorientation and, later, a coma.

Some cases of long-term molybdenum deficiency have been observed in populations where nutritional deficiencies are common. It has also been reported that deficiency may be linked to an increased risk of esophageal cancer.

How Do You Take Molybdenum?

If you believe you may benefit from a molybdenum supplement, it is usually taken in capsule form. For dosage, you should follow the instructions on the bottle. The glycinate form (molybdenum glycinate) tends to be best absorbed and tolerated.

As part of an anti-Candida protocol, you can start taking liver-supportive supplements like molybdenum and milk thistle as soon as you begin your treatment. It is particularly useful when you make changes to your regimen, like switching to a low-sugar diet, introducing natural antifungals, or taking probiotics. This is when Candida Die-Off is most likely to occur, and it’s when your liver will need Molybdenum the most.

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Food Sources of Molybdenum

As a trace mineral, molybdenum is present in the soil where plants grow. It is absorbed by the plant which is then absorbed by your body when you eat whole foods. Your body needs only a small amount of molybdenum per day, so most healthy diets will contain an adequate amount of molybdenum.

Here are some of the best food sources of molybdenum (note that not all of these will be suitable for the Candida diet):

  • Beans including lima beans, kidney beans, black beans, pintos, garbanzos and navy beans
  • Other legumes such as lentils and dried peas
  • Nuts such as almonds, cashews, chestnuts
  • Soy products such as soy milk, soybeans, tempeh and tofu
  • Dairy products, especially cheese and yogurt
  • Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, romaine lettuce and kale
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Eggs
  • Oats
  • Liver
  • Tomatoes

It’s also important to note that some foods such as soy contain high levels of phytic acid, which binds to molybdenum and can prevent the body from absorbing it. One study found that only 57% of molybdenum from soy was absorbed by the body, as compared to 88% from kale (12).

The Bottom Line

Molybdenum is a trace mineral that is vital to the healthy functioning of your body. Among other things, it is used by enzymes in your liver to break down a neurotoxic carcinogen named acetaldehyde.

You can get molybdenum from numerous food groups, such as beans, nuts and leafy greens. Most people shouldn’t have to fear becoming deficient as long as they eat a healthy, balanced diet.

However, in certain circumstances it is possible to become deficient in molybdenum. These include chronic alcoholism, or an intestinal fungal overgrowth. These can increase your body’s need for molybdenum, and in these circumstances you may benefit from supplementation.

Our preferred molybdenum supplement is Liver Support. It contains molybdenum glycinate, milk thistle extract, and a host of liver-supportive ingredients.

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