Sunday, January 14, 2018

Molybdenum for Gastroenteritis Nausea and Vomiting, part 1

Molybdenum supplements for nausea and vomiting from gastrointestinal viruses

During the first part of 2016, I authored a medical hypothesis connecting less severe “morning sickness”—nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP)—with high regional intake of foods containing relatively high levels of the essential micronutrient molybdenum.[i]

My sister purchased a bottle of the molybdenum supplement “Moly-B” to have on hand in case she became pregnant. She did not get pregnant, but she and a friend contracted a gastrointestinal virus, and she decided to try the molybdenum for the nausea and vomiting caused by the virus (her husband was already vomiting from it). As a result of taking the molybdenum early in the course of the infection, she and her friend completely avoided any vomiting and passed the virus quickly.

Since my sister’s serendipitous discovery, approximately 70 people (at least that I know of) have  used molybdenum supplements to either completely avoid vomiting from “stomach bugs” or to cut short the duration of vomiting from “stomach bugs” after it had already begun. The effects are clear and dramatic and go far beyond what one would expect from a placebo effect. Molybdenum, if taken during the early stomach cramping stage of a gastrointestinal virus infection, has been to my knowledge uniformly successful at preventing vomiting. Furthermore, molybdenum taken during the vomiting stage has also shown itself effective to shorten the duration of the vomiting stage, although larger doses seem to be required than if molybdenum had been taken earlier.

The dosages people have been taking for this purpose are typically 10-20 times larger than the established RDA for molybdenum, yet still below the established tolerable upper intake level. Moreover, the molybdenum is only used on as “as-needed” basis, not chronically. Two other brands of molybdenum supplements have also been used by people I know, and all three molybdenum supplement brands show approximately the same effectiveness.

How is molybdenum having this effect? Correlation argues best for causation where there is a plausible causative mechanism, and below is a suggestion of how I think molybdenum might be alleviating nausea and vomiting from gastrointestinal viruses.

The Molybdoenzyme Sulfite Oxidase and Sulfite

There are only five known enzymes in the human body that incorporate element #42, molybdenum,[ii] an essential trace mineral in the human diet. The most interesting of these molybdenum enzymes to my research on NVP was sulfite oxidase. Sulfite oxidase catalyzes the conversion of sulfite to sulfate, which is then recycled or excreted from the body. Sulfite is toxic to humans; it was formerly used in salad bars to keep cut produce fresh-looking until it sent many restaurant patrons to the hospital with severe symptoms that included anaphylactic shock, nausea, abdominal pain, seizures, and death.[iii]

Feeding rats in such a way as to make them deficient in molybdenum results in a loss of sulfite oxidase activity.[iv] Supplementing them with molybdenum, on the other hand, increases sulfite oxidase activity up to a plateau.[v] Molybdenum is essential for human health, as was discovered when a man kept on molybdenum-less total parenteral nutrition developed headaches, vomiting, and heart rhythm abnormalities, and then became comatose; his condition was reversed when he was given molybdenum.[vi]

(To be continued in a second post.)


[i] Taylor CE. A novel treatment for “morning sickness”: Nausea of pregnancy could be induced by excess sulfite which molybdenum can help alleviate. Med Hypotheses 2016;95:31-33.
[ii] Mendel RR. Cell biology of molybdenum. Biochim Biophys Acta - Mol Cell Res 2006;1763(7):621-635.
[iii] Yang WH, Purchase EC. Adverse reactions to sulfites. CMAJ 1985;133(9):865-867, 880.
[iv] Cohen HJ, Drew RT, Johnson JL, Rajagopalan KV. Molecular Basis of the Biological Function of Molybdenum. The Relationship between Sulfite Oxidase and the Acute Toxicity of Bisulfite and SO2. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1973;70(12 Pt 1-2):3655-3659.
[v] Wang X, Oberleas D, Yang MT, Yang SP. Molybdenum requirement of female rats. J Nutr 1992;122(4):1036-1041.
[vi] Abumrad NN, Schneider AJ, Steel D, Rogers LS. Amino acid intolerance during prolonged total parenteral nutrition reversed by molybdate therapy. Am J Clin Nutr 1981;34(11):2551-2559.

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