Although molybdenum and zinc are trace minerals, meaning that they are required in minute quantities, a little goes a long way with these important nutrients. You can obtain almost all the zinc you need in a 3-ounce serving of beef, yet zinc participates in more than 300 enzyme reactions and affects every system in your body. Similarly, your daily requirement for molybdenum, found in grains, beans and legumes, is a mere 45 micrograms. Both molybdenum and zinc offer a wealth of potential health benefits.
Molybdenum and Antioxidants
Your daily dose of molybdenum helps keep you free and clear of toxin buildup by helping your body use methionine and cysteine. These two amino acids contribute to the structure of the antioxidant glutathione, one of the most important antioxidants your liver uses to help detoxify your body. In a laboratory animal study published in the July 2012 issue of the "Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition," scientists found that a molybdenum deficiency led to decreased levels of certain enzymes and antioxidants and resulted in impaired detoxification of certain drugs.
Molybdenum and Metabolism
Molybdenum exerts an insulin-like effect that helps with carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, according to Stefan A. Hulea, author of the book "An Introduction to Vitamins, Minerals and Oxidative Stress: The Role of Micronutrients and Reactive Oxygen Species in Normal and Pathological Processes." Molybdenum also competes with copper, notes Hulea, an effect that a study published in the 2009 issue of "Endocrine Journal" found may improve blood sugar levels. In the study of diabetic laboratory animals, scientists noted that when they decreased the animals' copper levels glucose tolerance improved and insulin resistance decreased, implying that elevated copper levels may impair blood sugar metabolism and increase risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Zinc and Bone Health
Zinc plays an indirect role in bone health by increasing absorption of other minerals, notably calcium, according to Dr. Anthony G. Payne, co-author of the book "Health Benefits of Vitamin K2: A Revolutionary Natural Treatment for Heart Disease and Bone Loss." A study published in the 2012 issue of the journal "Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin" found that zinc supplementation improved oral health by increasing the strength of the jaw bone and preventing periodontal disease.
Zinc and Immune Function
Zinc may shorten your next head cold by as much as one day, according to Harvard Health. Taking zinc lozenges, but not tablets, within 24 hours of the first symptoms can decrease symptom severity and duration of your cold. However, you may have to take high doses, according to a 2011 study published in "The Open Respiratory Medicine Journal." Taking 75 milligrams or more in divided doses over the course of a day can reduce the duration of your cold by as much as 20 percent.
Molybdenum, Zinc and Cancer
Insufficient levels of molybdenum and zinc may increase esophageal cancer risk, according to a study published in the June 2012 issue of the "Global Journal of Health Sciences." Scientists tested hair samples from participants living in areas of South Africa and India and soil samples from the same areas. Results showed lower mineral levels in the soil were associated with higher levels of esophageal cancer in the South African group.
- Linus Pauling Institute: Molybdenum
- Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition: Alteration of Drug Metabolizing Enzymes in Sulphite Oxidase Deficiency
- Global Journal of Health Science: The Levels of Zinc and Molybdenum in Hair and Food Grain in Areas of High and Low Incidence of Esophageal Cancer: A Comparative Study
- The Open Respiratory Medicine Journal: Zinc Lozenges May Shorten the Duration of Colds: A Systematic Review
- Endocrine Journal: Role of Copper Ion in the Pathogenesis of Type 2 Diabetes
- Health Benefits of Vitamin K2: A Revolutionary Natural Treatment for Heart Disease and Bone Loss; Larry M. Howard and Anthony G. Payn
- Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin: Possibility of Alveolar Bone Promoting Enhancement by Using Lipophilic and/or Hydrophilic Zinc Related Compounds in Zinc-Deficient Osteoporosis Rats
- Nutrients, Dietary Supplements, and Nutriceuticals: Cost Analysis Versus Clinical Benefits; Ronald Ross Watson, Joe K Gerald, Victor R. Preedy
- Office of Dietary Supplements National Institutes of Health: Zinc
- An Introduction to Vitamins, Minerals and Oxidative Stress: The Role of Micronutrients and Reactive Oxygen Species in Normal and Pathological Processes; Stefan A. Hulea
Tracey Roizman, DC is a writer and speaker on natural and preventive health care and a practicing chiropractor. She also holds a B.S. in nutritional biochemistry.