Molybdenum: Trace Mineral with Health Benefits

Molybdenum is one of the lesser known trace elements in human nutrition; nevertheless, it is essential for human health. According to Carl C. Pfeiffer, PhD, MD, “Life would not be possible without molybdenum.” 1 In additional to being a necessary catalyst to nitrogen fixation by plants, molybdenum is needed by all mammals and is present in all our tissues. The total body content of the mineral among individuals residing in the U.S. is less than 9 milligrams.2 Average molybdenum levels in kidney and liver peak in the second decade of life and decline slightly afterward. The mineral forms a part of four enzymes in humans that catalyze oxidation–reduction reactions, and amino acid and purine metabolism in the body.

The Importance of Molybdenum in Humans

It is necessary for molybdenum to be complexed by a cofactor in order to gain catalytic activity. The rare genetic disease known as molybdenum cofactor deficiency which results in a decrease in the enzymes sulfite oxidase, xanthine dehydrogenase, aldehyde oxidase, and mitochondrial amidoxime reducing component usually causes death within a few months of birth and has only recently been successfully medically treated.

Because whole grains are the best source of molybdenum in the human diet, deficiencies are common due to grain refinement. In addition to whole grains, foods that contain significant amounts of the mineral are lima and other beans, lentils, sunflower seeds, and liver.

Health benefits of molybdenum have yet to be fully explored. While the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 45 micrograms (mcg) for adults, children 0-6 months need only 2 mcg per day. Nevertheless, molybdenum and several other micronutrients were found to be absent from human milk fortifiers given to small preterm infants.3 Adults receiving total parenteral nutrition are also at risk of deficiency.

Molybdenum has an ability to correct copper overload, which can occur among individuals who consume tap water in homes with copper pipes; among women who use oral contraceptives; in Wilson’s disease; and in other conditions. Excessive copper levels in the body have been linked to anxiety, hypertension, dementia, and other diseases.

The Anti-Cancer Effects of Molybdenum

Since copper is required for angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels, which is utilized in the growth of cancer), the copper-chelating molybdenum compound tetrathiomolybdate has been tested in mouse models of cancer and found to help combat the disease. Tetrathiomolybdate has also shown to be active against inflammation, which is involved in the development of cancer as well as angiogenesis.

In a study involving 40 women with breast cancer who were treated with tetrathiomolybdate, those who were copper depleted experienced a significant reduction in endothelial progenitor cells, which are essential for metastatic progression.4 The ten-month, relapse-free survival rate was 85% among study participants. The researchers involved in the study concluded that tetrathiomolybdate “may promote tumor dormancy and ultimately prevent relapse.”

Molybdenum is believed to have a protective effect against the development of cancer of the esophagus. Areas in which residents have low hair levels of the mineral have a high incidence of the disease.5 A clinical trial that examined the effects of tetrathiomolybdate in 48 patients who had been treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation for esophageal cancer found improvement in overall and disease-free survival compared to historic controls treated at the same facility with a similar regimen minus molybdenum.6 Median overall survival time for those treated with tetrathiomolybdate was 31.5 months compared to 24 months among the historic controls, and their 3 year overall survival probability was 11% higher. According to the authors, inhibition of angiogenesis, which is required for progression to clinically apparent metastatic disease, is an attractive target for adjuvants.

In research involving human T-leukemic cells, a molybdenum complex had a greater cytotoxic effect after 24 hours than the commonly used chemotherapy cisplatin.7 The treatment was found to increase apoptosis (programmed cell death) and expression of the tumor-suppressor protein p53. In another study, molybdenum trioxide nanoplates induced apoptosis in metastatic breast cancer cells.8

Research has revealed other benefits for molybdenum. A study conducted in U.S. Navy recruits suggests that the mineral may help prevent dental caries.9 In China, a greater molybdenum intake was correlated with a lower risk of ischemic heart disease and hypertensive heart disease.10

Most people rely on multinutrient formulas to supply their molybdenum needs rather than stand-alone supplements. Be sure to check the product label before purchase to make sure that it contains this essential mineral.


  1. Pfeiffer CC. Zinc and Other Micronutrients. Keats Publishing, 1978.
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  3. Koo Wet al. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2017 Jun 1:148607117713202.
  4. Jain S et al. Ann Oncol. 2013 Jun;24(6):1491-8.
  5. Ray SS et al. Glob J Health Sci. 2012 Jun 25;4(4):168-75.
  6. Schneider BJ et al. Invest New Drugs. 2013 Apr;31(2):435-42.
  7. Šebestová L et al. Chem Biol Interact. 2015 Dec 5;242:61-70.
  8. Anh TT et al. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2014 Feb 26;6(4):2980-6.
  9. No authors listed. Nutr Rev. 1974 Apr;32(4):120-2.
  10. Guo W et al. Asia Pac J Public Health. 1992-1993;6(4):200-9.

The Importance of Fermented Foods

Renee Lewis

Fermented foods might not sound all that appealing, but they're incredibly important for our overall health. Way back --before we had the luxury of modern refrigeration -- canning, preserving, and fermenting foods were the best ways we had to store food for maximum shelf life. However, with the invention of the refrigerator, we’ve all but lost our traditional practice of fermenting food. After all, if we can keep our food cold and fresh, what’s the use of fermenting it?

Why Eat Fermented Food?

Fermented food is extremely healthy for our gut. Yogurt is a commonly eaten fermented food which is a great example of a food that’s good for gut health. Fermented foods contain massive amounts of probiotics that help keep our digestive systems working and functioning properly. Probiotics are the good bacteria -- and they are crucial to our health and wellbeing. Probiotics help control and regulate the balance of good and bad bacteria in our gut, which maintains a balanced gut microbiome, so that we FEEL our best.

When things go out of balance in our gut, we experience all kinds of negative symptoms ranging from general discomfort, gas, bloating, and nausea to even more serious conditions, if left untreated over time. That’s why it’s important to make sure that we’re consuming a variety of fermented foods on a regular basis. This keeps things in check.

Types of Fermented Foods

There are lots of different types of fermented food. As stated before, yogurt is a good place to start for those that are new to fermented foods. Odds are, you’ve tried yogurt before and you may already enjoy it. A lot of people are generally put off by some of the other fermented food options such as: sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, etc. Start with a good quality, sugar-free yogurt and work your way up to the more beneficial types of fermented foods like homemade sauerkraut. This homemade fermented food is jam-packed with billions of vital probiotics. It’s very simple and easy to make, and it usually lasts for quite some time.

Kefir is another good option. Kefir is a fermented drink made from milk, and is one of the richest sources of probiotics you can find. It has amazing health benefits and has been known to improve conditions such as leaky gut. There are a few different styles of kefir. It can be made from cow’s milk, goat milk, non-dairy milk, or even coconut water. It’s been consumed for many years traditionally and it’s pretty simple to make at home yourself.

Fermented Foods and Digestion

Fermented foods are incredibly important for maintaining a healthy gut. Your gut plays an important role in regulating mood, ensuring a healthy immune system, and of course, processing your food while absorbing vital nutrients. Having an unhealthy, unbalanced gut can wreak havoc on your overall health. If the gut lining is damaged, we have a much harder time absorbing nutrients from our food. After some time, this can lead to nutritional deficiencies and a range of other health issues and immune disorders.

Consuming fermented food is a great way to make sure the lining of the gut stays protected and healthy enough to absorb the essential vitamins and minerals we need to function. Our gut is home to trillions of living bacteria. But don’t worry, the majority of these bacteria are there to help us stay healthy and feel our best.

About: Renee Lewis is a freelance writer specializing in natural health and wellness. Throughout the course of her career she has covered many topic ranging from health and wellness to investing and opening IRA's. She's turned her focus to health and wellness because it reflects the way she chooses to live her own life. She has dedicated her career to helping others achieve their optimum state of health. Follow her on Twitter here or email her to write for your business at For more information visit:



Can We Protect Ourselves from a Toxic Environment?

Polluted food, water pollution, air pollution, noise pollution, electromagnetic pollution — it appears that toxins are everywhere in our environment. These days, one also hears about toxic people and relationships.

The Essentials: Food, Water, and Air

Food is a major area of concern with regard to toxicities. In addition to residues from pesticides and chemical fertilizers used in modern agriculture, prepared foods often contain added sugars, hydrogenated fats, and questionable additives. Even organically grown fruit and vegetables contain their own naturally occurring mildly toxic compounds that have evolved to protect these plants from predators. Researcher Bruce N. Ames, Ph.D., once remarked that pesticide residues present in non-organically grown produce are far less toxic than these ubiquitous plant “pesticides.”

The water that comes out of your tap may also be contaminated. Insufficiently purified water may contain toxic residues and disease-carrying microorganisms. Even seemingly pristine wilderness springs can be contaminated. Pipes can add lead or copper to the water they carry. Lead has no place in the human body and copper, while an essential mineral, can build up in the body to toxic levels. Compounds in some plastic containers can also leach into otherwise pure water.

There’s no doubt that the air we breathe is altered by a number of factors. Automobile exhaust and power plant emissions contain carbon dioxide (CO2) that can reach higher than normal levels in the atmosphere. In addition to CO2, auto exhaust releases hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and other compounds. Sulfur dioxide is also released by industrial sources and has a natural source in volcanic eruptions. Volcanoes, forest fires, dust storms, and hurricanes can increase fine particle air pollution, which is associated with cardiovascular disease and asthma.

Other Environmental Concerns

Exposure to loud noise, such as that emitted by machinery or gunfire, or by listening to loud music through headphones, can result in hearing loss that can in many cases be permanent. Chronic exposure to traffic noise has been associated with immune dysfunction and type 2 diabetes.1,2

Low frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs), a type of radiation that emanates from power lines, have been linked with childhood acute leukemia.3 Higher-frequency radiation such as that which comes from X-rays is far more damaging. This type of radiation is also present in the ultraviolet light that comes from the sun.

Cigarette smoke, flame retardants, household cleaning supplies, prescription and nonprescription drugs, mercury-containing dental fillings, ozone, BPA . . . the list goes on and on. And what about toxic family members, coworkers or political leaders, or so-called toxic thoughts?

While there a few things people can do to reduce environmental toxins, much is beyond our control. One can, however, make changes to the body’s microenvironment to minimize the effects of pollution.

What Can We Do To Protect Ourselves?

Not to be confused with residential drug or alcohol detoxification center programs, “detoxes” or “cleanses” involve short periods during which modified fasting is employed. Cleanses often involve the consumption of fresh-squeezed (preferably organic) juices along with nutritional supplementation to help make up for any deficiencies associated with this regimen. While short term cleanses may give the body a break from the constant onslaught of toxins ingested with modern diets, it is questionable how much of the body’s toxic burden will be reduced. Lipid-soluble compounds can lodge in the body’s fat stores for many years.

More intensive detoxing can involve vigorous exercise and supplementation with niacin to improve blood circulation, as well as saunas to increase the elimination of toxins through the skin via perspiration. The addition of cold-pressed oils may also help. In a study involving mice that were genetically engineered so that they would not make new fatty acids in the liver, the addition of fat to the diet helped burn pre-existing fat deposits.4 Senior researcher Clay F. Semenkovich, M.D., from Washington University School of Medicine, suggested that people who want to lose fat stored in peripheral tissues could consume small amounts of fats, such as fish oils, that might activate fat-burning pathways through the liver. Reduction of stored fats could help increase the loss of fat-soluble toxins.

A human trial conducted by researchers at Columbia University in collaboration with several other institutions found an association between B vitamin supplementation and protection against fine particulate matter’s effect on the immune and cardiovascular system. This study showed that a two-hour exposure to concentrated ambient PM2.5 had a substantial impact on heart rate, heart rate variability, and white blood counts. “We demonstrated that these effects are nearly abolished with four-week B-vitamin supplementation", concluded Andrea Baccarelli, M.D., Ph.D., who coauthored the report of the findings.5

B vitamins have been shown to reduce the effects of fine particulate matter on the human epigenome, which helps determine the genes that are active and inactive in a cell. In a study on healthy adults, a two-hour exposure to concentrated ambient PM2.5 affected the epigenetic landscape of circulating CD4+ T helper cells. It was possible to prevent these effects with B-vitamin supplementation (i.e., folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12).”6

Alpha tocopherol (vitamin E) is another vitamin that could help protect the body from the effects of air pollution. In a study involving 5,519 participants, alpha-tocopherol and a vitamin C metabolite known as threonate were among 8 metabolites that were significantly decreased in association with exposure to small particulate matter and low forced expiratory volume, a measure of lung function.7 The strongest association with particles smaller than 2.5 microns and low forced expiratory volume was observed with alpha-tocopherol, which suggests that the mechanism utilized by particulate matter to damage the lungs could be oxidative attack, which vitamin E helps protect against.

A controlled trial conducted in a heavily industrialized region of China found that a beverage that contained freeze-dried broccoli sprout powder experienced a 61% increase in urinary excretion of conjugates of the carcinogen benzene and a 23% increase in the excretion of the lung irritant acrolein increased over a 12-week period. The study revealed a simple and safe means that can be taken by individuals to reduce the levels of some chemicals associated with air pollution.8

For those exposed to noise pollution, the herb rhodiola may help. A study in which rats were exposed to noise levels greater than 95 decibels found adverse liver effects among control animals, while these changes did not occur in the livers of animals treated with rhodiola.9 Rhodiola may also help people handle the effects of mental stressors.

The Bottom Line

From the above data, you have probably gathered that toxins cannot be avoided altogether. Though modern civilization is a significant contributor, many pollutants also have natural sources. Although one can attempt to implement environmental modifications, the best course of action is to strengthen and protect oneself to resist the potential adverse effects of our environment.


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  7. Menni C et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2015 May 15;191(10):1203-7
  8. Egner PA et al. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014 Aug;7(8):813-823.
  9. Zhu BW et al. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2003 Sep;67(9):1930-6.

Healthy Living After 40: Tips for Hormone Balance & Weight Management

Carrie Forrest

Turning 40 years old doesn’t have the same negative connotation it had when I was growing up. Or, maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part as I settle into my fourth decade! Still, turning 40 can be a transition for both men and women as our metabolism starts to slow down and our hormones begin to shift. Stressors from jobs, relationships, raising kids, and managing finances can also cause changes in how we sleep and perform.

Therefore, here is how we can stay feeling healthy and strong when we’re 40 and beyond!

8 tips for managing hormone balance and weight management 

1. Be aware of which stressors are taking a toll and learn how to manage stress better. Now is the time to get a handle on stress, so it doesn’t contribute to chronic health conditions. Life will almost certainly have its challenges, but learning how to manage the associated stress is vitally important. Learn about nutrients in the Life Extension® Protocol for Stress Management.

2. Choose a variety of real, whole foods to support healthy digestion and hormone balance. You don’t have to cut out all processed foods, but try to make most of your diet filled with a variety of real foods -- with an emphasis on eating vegetables. The diversity will support a healthy gut microbiome and more plant fiber will ensure that hormones get excreted to maintain proper balance in the body. Check out my clean eating recipe index.

3. Make sure you’re getting 8 hours of sleep. We’re learning more about the dangers of sleep deprivation and its impact on weight control. Studies show that getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep is absolutely essential to everything from immunity to weight management. If you aren’t sleeping well, consider nutrients that support a normal sleep cycle.

4. Surround yourself with people who make you feel your best. There’s no better time to let go of relationships that are toxic. This can include family members or people who you’ve known for decades. Change and growth is natural, but it’s up to you to decide when you’re ready to move on from a relationship. A good indicator if a relationship is healthy for you is to ask yourself if you generally feel good after talking or spending time with an individual. If you can’t say yes, then it’s time to reconsider that relationship.

5. Take care of your thyroid and adrenal glands, especially if you’re always feeling run-down. There are supplements to help with fatigue, and many doctors or alternative health practitioners have protocols that actually support the thyroid and adrenal glands. Managing stress and getting enough sleep are two key lifestyle factors that can help.

6. Choose “clean,” unprocessed foods. For some, too much calorie restriction can lead to frustration, versus putting an emphasis on eating more foods that energize and nourish. A sample ideal meal includes filling half of a dinner plate with cooked vegetables, one quarter of the plate with a complex carbohydrate, and one quarter of the plate with a quality protein source.

7. Watch out for food allergies and sensitivities. These can manifest as skin issues or a change in bowel habits. A functional health practitioner or nutritionist can help you with an elimination diet or food sensitivity test to help determine which foods aren’t working for you. The top 8 allergens include: soy, eggs, shellfish, dairy, gluten, nuts, peanuts, and fish.

8. Join a Clean Eating Challenge! I host a 3-week challenge that helps introduce people to a clean eating approach, or to recommit to a real food diet. It’s less about calorie restriction and more about choosing healthy, whole foods that work for you. Read more and join here.

About: Carrie Forrest holds master’s degrees in business and in public health nutrition. She is the creator of the popular blog, Clean Eating Kitchen to inspire healthy eating with her delicious gluten- and dairy-free recipes and tips. She is also host of the Clean Eating for Women podcast, available on Apple podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever podcasts are found.


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  5. Singh R, Salem A, Nanavati J, Mullin GE. The Role of Diet in the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Systematic Review. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2018 Mar;47(1):107-137. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2017.10.003. Review. PubMed PMID: 29413008.

The Impact of Falling Down and How to Prevent Falls

In 1973, Erica Jong’s ground-breaking novel Fear of Flying, which documented a 29-year-old woman’s journey of self-discovery, became a national bestseller. Fast-forward to the present day, and a likelier concern for the book’s aging heroine might be her fear of falling.

The Physical and Psychological Impact of Falls

Falls come at a significant cost to the individual and society. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the number one cause of injuries and injury-related mortality among older men and women. One out of four people aged 65 and over in the US fall every year, and 2.8 million older individuals are treated each year in emergency facilities for fall-related injuries.

Approximately 800,000 of these falls result in hospitalization. Traumatic brain injury, which is most commonly the result of falling, is a major cause of disability among older individuals.

In addition to their physical impact, falls can have significant psychological effects. Many people who have experienced a fall develop a strong fear of falling again. This can lead to reduced activity levels and can cause people to hesitate to venture from their homes. Less activity leads to less strength and worsened balance, which increase the risk of another fall. By seeking to reduce their risk of falling by limiting their activities, fall victims can actually bring about the event they fear, resulting in a vicious cycle of diminished activity levels and additional falls.

Populations at Risk of Falling

Advanced age, decreased physical strength, having fallen during the previous year, and pain were associated with a fear of falling in a study of individuals aged 60 to 92 years.1 In this study, 26.9% of the men and 43.3% of the women reported a fear of falling. As the authors report, the prevalence of being afraid of falling among community dwellers is 29% in the USA, ~58% in Japan, and ~77% in Korea. The authors also note that a fear of falling is associated with comorbidities such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Why do older people fall more often than younger adults? According to the CDC, muscle weakness (sarcopenia), impaired balance, challenges with walking, poor vision, home hazards, prescription and over-the-counter medication side effects, foot disorders and poor footwear, decreased vitamin D levels, and other factors can all increase the risk of falls. Osteoporosis has been linked to falling, when fracture of a weak, brittle bone is the cause, rather than the effect of a fall.

While many medications are essential for the treatment of a variety of conditions, a number of prescription drugs have been associated with the risk of falls. Opioids, sedatives, hypnotics, tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors have been associated with an increased risk of falls. There is evidence that drugs used to treat high blood pressure, including calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, and angiotensin system blockers may also increase the risk of falls. If these drugs are deemed necessary, care should be taken to minimize other fall risks.

Reducing the Risk of Falling

Supplementation with a protein-enriched diet, calcium, and vitamin D was associated with less than half the risk of falling in comparison with usual care in a study that included a group of malnourished older adults.2 Consuming an optimal amount of protein on a daily basis is critical for the maintenance of muscles that strengthen and stabilize the body.

A review and meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that calcium and vitamin D supplementation combined with clinic-level quality improvement strategies and multifactorial assessment and treatment was associated with an 88% lower risk of injurious falls compared with usual care.3 Combined osteoporosis treatment, which included bisphosphonate, calcium supplementation, and vitamin D supplementation, was associated with a 78% lower risk of fractures.

How Vitamin D Protects Against Falls

In a review of vitamin D’s effects on strength, frailty, and falls, M. Halfon and colleagues observe that vitamin D supplementation is associated with improved muscle strength and gait and that, despite the interpretation of some meta-analyses, a lower risk of falls has been attributed to supplementing with vitamin D due to direct effects on muscle cells.4 They add that insufficient vitamin D levels have also been associated with frailty, which increases fall risk. Vitamin D supplementation has also been associated with improved postural balance.5 It has additionally been suggested that vitamin D’s protection against falling could also be the result of a cognitive benefit associated with the vitamin. People who are cognitively impaired can experience impaired foresight, planning, and reactions, which may lead to falls.

Due to the high level of vitamin D deficiency among older individuals, routine treatment with vitamin D supplements has been recommended to prevent falls and associated disability and mortality. A consensus statement from the American Geriatrics Society concluded, based on clinical trials of older community-dwelling and institutionalized persons and meta-analyses, that a serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration of 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) should be a minimum goal to achieve in older adults, particularly in frail adults, who are at higher risk of falls, injuries, and fractures. The workgroup concluded that the goal to reduce fall injuries related to low vitamin D status could be achieved safely, and would not require practitioners to measure serum 25(OH)D concentrations in older adults in the absence of underlying conditions that increase the risk of hypercalcemia, such as advanced renal disease, certain malignancies, or sarcoidosis.

“Vitamin D supplementation is emerging as an easy, safe and well-tolerated fall reduction/prevention strategy due to the beneficial effects on the musculoskeletal system with improvements in strength, function and navigational abilities,” write F. D. Shuler and colleagues. The authors conclude that, based on data from meta-analyses, a maximal fall reduction benefit in seniors could be achieved when correcting vitamin D deficiencies and when performing calcium supplementation.6

The Bottom Line

Exercise remains one of the most important therapies for fall prevention, as well as protection against a number of other diseases and age-related conditions. However, some individuals are unable or unwilling to devote the time and energy to this important facet of health. Supplementation with proteins, calcium, and vitamin D is a simple and inexpensive way for older men and women to maintain optimal health and help conquer their fear of falling.


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  6. Shuler FD et al. W V Med J. 2014 May-Jun;110(3):10-2.

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