Low Molybdenum (Mo) in hair is a possible indication of Mo deficiency. Hair is very rarely contaminated with exogenous Mo.
Mo is an essential trace element that is an activator of specific enzymes such as: xanthine oxidase (catalyzes formation of uric acid), sulfite oxidase (catalyzes oxidation of sulfite to sulfate), and aldehyde dehydrogenase (catalyzes oxidation of aldehydes). Possible effects or symptoms consistent with Mo deficiency are: subnormal uric acid in blood and urine, sensitivity or reactivity to sulfites, protein intolerance (specifically to sulfur-bearing amino acids), and sensitivity or reactivity to aldehydes.
True Mo deficiency is uncommon but may result from: a poor-quality diet, gastrointestinal dysfunctions, or tungsten exposure. Tungsten (from ”TIG” welding) can be a powerful antagonist of Mo retention in the body. Copper overload can also reduce Mo retention.
Because normal blood and blood cell Mo levels are very low (a few parts per billion), blood measurement is not an appropriate tissue for confirmation of subnormal molybdenum.
Confirmatory tests for Mo deficiency include measurement of urine sulfite concentration (increased in Mo deficiency), measurement of blood/urine uric acid level (decreased in Mo deficiency), and measurement of urinary Mo content.
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