Molybdenum absorption and utilization in humans from soy and kale intrinsically labeled with stable isotopes of molybdenum

Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Jun;69(6):1217-23. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/69.6.1217.


Background: Stable-isotope studies of molybdenum metabolism have been conducted in which molybdenum was added to the diet and was assumed to be absorbed and utilized similarly to the molybdenum in foods.

Objective: Our objective was to establish whether the molybdenum in foods is metabolized similarly to molybdenum added to the diet.

Design: We first studied whether sufficient amounts of molybdenum stable isotopes could be incorporated into wheat, kale, and soy for use in a human study. Enough molybdenum could be incorporated into soy and kale to study molybdenum absorption and excretion. Two studies were then conducted, one in women and one in men. In the first study, each meal contained approximately 100 microg Mo from soy, kale, and extrinsic molybdenum. In the second study, soy and extrinsic molybdenum were compared; the meal contained approximately 300 microg Mo.

Results: In the first study, molybdenum was absorbed equally well from kale and an extrinsic source. However, the molybdenum in soy was less well absorbed than the molybdenum in kale or that added to the diet. In the second study, absorption of molybdenum from soy was less than from the extrinsic label. Urinary excretion of soy molybdenum was also lower than urinary excretion of the extrinsic label, but excretion as a percentage of the absorbed dose was not significantly different between treatments.

Conclusions: The molybdenum in soy is less available than molybdenum added to the diet, but the molybdenum in kale is as available as molybdenum added to the diet. Once absorbed, excretion is not significantly different for soy, kale, and extrinsic molybdenum.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biological Availability
  • Brassica / metabolism*
  • Diet*
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Isotopes
  • Male
  • Molybdenum / administration & dosage
  • Molybdenum / pharmacokinetics*
  • Molybdenum / urine
  • Soybeans / metabolism*


  • Isotopes
  • Molybdenum