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Molybdenum (Mo), Blood

Molybdenum is a very hard white-silver metal, but it is softer and denser than tungsten. It has one of the highest melting points of all pure elements.

Molybdenum applications

Molybdenum is a valuable alloying agent, as it contributes to hardness and improves the strength of steel at high temperatures. It is used in alloys, electrodes, and catalysts. Molybdenum is used in electrodes and glassware, nuclear power applications, rocket and aircraft parts, and as a catalyst in refining oil. It still has applications as a material in electronic and electrical devices. Molybdenum is an essential trace element in plant nutrition. Some arid soils may lack this element.

Molybdenum in the environment

Molybdenum differs from other soil micronutrients in that it is less soluble in acidic and more soluble in alkaline soils. Hence, its availability to plants depends on soil pH and drainage conditions. Some plants can absorb up to 500 ppm of molybdenum in alkaline soils.

Impact of molybdenum on human health

Based on animal experiments, molybdenum and its compounds appear highly toxic. In chronic exposure to molybdenum, evidence of liver dysfunction with hyperbilirubinemia has been reported, as arthritis with knee, hand, and foot pain, with arthritic deformities, erythema, and edema.

Molybdenum is essential for all types of organisms. Although, as with other trace elements, small quantities are essential, high doses can be highly toxic. Animal experiments have shown that excessive intake of molybdenum causes fetal deformities, diarrhea, growth retardation, infertility, low birth weight, and gout. It can also affect the lungs, kidneys, and liver. Tungsten is a competitive molybdenum Inhibitor. Dietary intake of tungsten reduces the concentration of molybdenum in the tissues.

The average daily molybdenum intake varies between 0.12 and 0.24 mg, depending on its food content. Dietary sources of molybdenum include beans, peas, red meats, eggs, sunflower seeds, wheat flour, lentils, cucumbers, and whole grains. It is a trace element essential in the oxidation systems of xanthine, aldehydes, and sulfites (metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids). Molybdenum also participates in the mitochondrial enzyme amidoxime reductase. Xanthine oxidase catalyzes the oxidative hydroxylation of purines and pyrimidines to uric acid, aldehyde oxidase oxidizes purines, pyrimidines and pteridines and participates in the metabolism of nicotinic acid. The activity of xanthine oxidase is directly proportional to the amount of molybdenum in the body. However, the exceptionally high concentration of molybdenum reverses the trend and can act as an inhibitor of purine catabolism and other processes. Molybdenum concentration also affects protein synthesis, metabolism, and growth. Deficiency or absence of sulfur oxidase results in neurological symptoms and premature death. People with severe molybdenum deficiency and malfunction of the sulfur oxidase enzyme are prone to toxic reactions to sulfites found in many foods. Reduced molybdenum intake through food can lead to decreased urinary molybdenum excretion, low serum uric acid, and excess urinary xanthine excretion. Molybdenum deficiency has been reported in genetic metabolism defects and patients receiving total parenteral nutrition. Although most consider molybdenum deficiency uncommon, an Austrian study of 1750 patients found that 41.5% had molybdenum deficiency.

The human body contains about 0.07 mg of molybdenum per kilogram of body weight, with higher concentrations in the liver and kidneys and lower concentrations in the vertebrae. Molybdenum is present in tooth enamel and can help prevent it from being worn. Molybdenum dietary deficiency is associated with increased rates of esophageal cancer.

Molybdenum deficiency has also been reported as a consequence of long-term total parenteral nutrition (complete intravenous feeding), resulting in high levels of sulfur and the congenital lack of the molybdenum cofactor. However, the neurological consequences are less significant than congenital cofactor deficiency cases.

High levels of molybdenum in the body interfere with copper intake, ultimately leading to copper deficiency. Molybdenum also interferes with copper's binding to plasma proteins and increases the amount of copper excreted in the urine.

How can one determine if one has been exposed to molybdenum?

The organism's ability to absorb molybdenum is best evaluated by measuring its levels in whole blood. We can measure molybdenum levels in blood and most biological materials.

Determination of metals is done by ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma Mass Spectrometry), a method that enables the simultaneous detection of many metals. Its sensitivity and accuracy are significantly better than conventional atomic absorption, with the ability to measure metals at concentrations up to 1 in 1015 (1 in 1 quadrillion, ppq)!



Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most critical parameter for diagnosing and monitoring all pathological conditions. 70% and 80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased."

Laboratory test results should not be interpreted solely based on the numerical result of a single analysis. They should be interpreted based on each case, family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your physician should explain the importance of your test results.

At Diagnostiki Athinon, we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and contact your doctor to ensure you receive the best possible medical care.

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