Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH
Boron is a mineral and metalloid element with atomic number 5. In nature it never appears in its pure form but is found in compounds like borax or boric acid.
The type of boron we get from food is primarily boric acid which is naturally present only in plants.
Boron intake from diet depends on the part of the world and the quality of the soil. In Europe, daily boron intake from food can be as low as 0.8 mg per day while in the United States, it can be as high as 7 mg per day (>).
The best sources of boron are red grapes, raisins, hazelnuts, dried apricots, fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, organic peanut butter, avocado, beans, peas, and lentils.
Due to severe soil depletion there is much less boron found in foods we consume today. For this reason experts recommend supplementation.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF BORON
Boron is a trace mineral which helps our body to use other minerals such as magnesium and calcium. It helps to keep your bones strong and healthy, helps maintain normal brain function, and affects levels of hormones such as testosterone. Boron initiates oestrogen by helping convert vitamin D into an active state. The oestrogen then improves absorption of calcium.
Studies show that bones of people using boron supplements are much stronger than those who do not take supplemental boron (>).
Like vitamin D, boron prevents bone loss by facilitating calcium into the bones. Boron also protects bones because of its role in maintaining healthy oestrogen levels and function.
Boron helps the body produce and use vitamin D, which is a crucial nutrient for healthy bone formation, in addition to many other things like immune function and cognitive processes.
According to one experiment, when rats were fed a diet very low in boron, they developed osteoporosis. On the other hand, rats on a diet enriched with supplemental boron showed improvements in bone mass, thickness, and volume, as ell as higher levels of estradiol (hormone linked with bone health) (>).
Research shows people with boron deficiency in synovial fluid experience higher rates of arthritis. Boron is believed to be one of the best natural remedies for those who suffer from arthritis > Farmers noticed that if their animals graze on a boron depleted soils they have weaker bones, more joint problems, less muscle mass, and age faster than animals raised on boron-rich soils.
According to some studies, in areas of the world where boron intake is low (around one milligram or less/day) the incidence of arthritis is much higher than in areas where boron intake is higher (three to 10 milligrams/day). In areas of the world where boron intake is 1 milligram or less per day, arthritis rates range from 20 to 70% while in parts of the world where daily boron intake is 3 to 10 milligrams, arthritis rates range from 0 – 10% (>).
HELPS PASS KIDNEY STONES
Large kidney stones often cause severe pain. Combined with antioxidants, herbs, proper hydration, and diet, 10mg per day of boron helps excrete kidney stones (>, >, >) and reduce the pain associated with passing stones (>).
TESTOSTERONE, ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE & MUSCLE MASS
There must be a good reason why boron appears in many supplements for athletes. Boron is popular among athletes and bodybuilders due to its ability to increase the production of testosterone and because it help their bodies to use it more efficiently. Since boron helps promote testosterone production, it leads to higher energy levels. Boron is also beneficial for building muscle mass, recovering from exercise, preventing muscle aches, and keeping bones strong.
Certain vitamins and minerals are better absorbed and utilized by the body when boron levels are higher, which is important for building muscles, burning fat and recovering muscle-tissue tears following exercise.
Boron boosts athletic performance by making muscles, bones and joints stronger and keeping them free from pain. It also help athletes by stimulating the brain to react and think quicker, and by improving hand-eye coordination.
BRAIN HEALTH & COGNITION
Boron helps improve brain function and concentration, focus and the ability to learn (>).
Boron helps balance levels of sex hormones including oestrogen and testosterone. In this way boron helps relieve symptoms of menopause, andropause, PMS, and supports fertility. In animal studies, boron depletion is linked with infertility and birth defects (>).
In two studies, when menopausal women were fed a diet rich in boron, they experienced reduced calcium and magnesium loss with urine and increased levels of oestrogen (within a healthy range) and testosterone (>).
Low testosterone is much more serious in men than in women, because men need much higher levels of this hormone. Boron helps to reduce signs of low testosterone levels such as weakness, fatigue, depression, sexual dysfunction, decreased muscle mass, anaemia, bone weakness, hair loss, insomnia and other problems.
PINEAL GLAND CALCIFICATION
Boron deficiency contributes to calcification of pineal gland (>). Boron is distributed throughout the body with the highest concentration in the parathyroid glands, followed by bones and dental enamel. It is essential for healthy bone and joint function, regulating the absorption and metabolism of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus through its influence on the parathyroid glands. With this boron is for the parathyroids what iodine is for the thyroid. Boron deficiency causes the parathyroids to become overactive, releasing too much parathyroid hormone which raises the blood level of calcium by releasing calcium from bones and teeth. This then leads to osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis, osteoporosis and tooth decay. With advancing age high blood levels of calcium lead to calcification of soft tissues causing muscle contractions and stiffness; calcification of endocrine glands, especially the pineal gland and the ovaries; arteriosclerosis, kidney stones, and calcification of the kidneys ultimately leading to kidney failure. Boron deficiency combined with magnesium deficiency is especially damaging to the bones and teeth.
To prevent and reverse pineal gland calcification avoid fluoride, chlorine, calcium carbonate, and hard water and take Vitamin K2 MK-7, Magnesium, Kelp, Chlorella, and at least 3 mg of Boron every day as this mineral can be used to remove accumulated fluoride and heavy metals from the brain. Fluoride not only causes bones to deteriorate, but also the pineal gland to calcify and the thyroid to become underactive. Boron reacts with fluoride ions to form boron fluorides which are then excreted in the urine.
Boron, in the form of boric acid, is often recommended as a natural alternative to the over-the-counter medicines or creams for yeast infections. Applied directly into the vagina Boric acid is regarded as safe and very effective remedy against thrush and to speed up healing of painful infections.
According to the results of a double-blind study, boron was more effective against yeast infections than a commercial yeast infection cream (made from nystatin). 92% of women experienced relief after seven to 10 days of boric acid treatment compared to 64% after using the nystatin cream. In addition, boron produced no unwanted side effects and was home-made and much less expensive (>).
To treat vaginal yeast infections, women can use a 600 mg boric acid suppository once per day.
SKIN HEALTH & WOUND HEALING
Boron helps prevent or treat skin infections. It lowers redness, inflammation, pain and skin irritation.
Boron is important for healing wounds as it increases the production of collagen and other compounds that help repair damage to skin, cartilage, bones, and other tissues (>).
A gel with boron improved healing of diabetic foot ulcers (>).
Boric acid can be used as a natural eye wash which helps kill bacteria.
Animal studies show that low levels of boron can increase risk of diabetes as it supports the metabolism of carbohydrates and the production of insulin which controls blood sugar levels.
Boric acid helps prevent cancer by reducing cellular DNA damage (>).
Borax and boric acid, prevented DNA damage from heavy metals (>, >).
OTHER SOURCES OF BORON
Unfortunately, since due to soil depletion food is mostly deprived of boron it is necessary today to use nutritional supplements containing this mineral. Apart from supplements the best by far source of boron is Boric acid (17% boron) and Borax (11% boron) >
RECOMMENDED DAILY INTAKE
In EU countries the official recommended daily intake for adults is 3mg.
There is no official recommended dietary allowance for boron in the US.
SAFE UPPER LIMIT
In EU the safe upper intake for boron from supplements is 6mg and combined intake from supplements and food is 9.6mg per day for adults.
The National Academy of Sciences suggests the following tolerable upper daily intake level (maximum dose you can take to avoid any harmful effects due to overdosing):
Children 1-3 years: 3mg
Children 4-8 years: 6mg
Children 9-13 years: 10mg
Adolescents 14-18 years: 15mg
Since listed above numbers indicate the maximum (safe) daily dose (which you can take without harmful effects), it is probably still safer to avoid taking such high doses from supplements for a long period of time, unless you intend to use them for a specific therapeutic purposes. Reducing the above suggested doses of boron by half seems to be a wise option. In order to prevent boron deficiency and maintain its healthy levels, an adult person may need about 3-6mg of supplemental boron per day, all the more since you will obtain boron also from food sources
However, for therapeutic purposes (arthritis, osteoporosis, candida, low oestrogen and testosterone, etc.) 10-15mg of supplemental boron per day (divided into two or three doses ) with meals will give better results.
It is probably better to avoid boron supplements if you suffer from kidney problems because kidneys must work hard to remove excess boron from the body.
INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER NUTRIENTS
Boron prevents the breakdown of vitamin D thus increasing the amount of time vitamin D stays in the blood and the total amount of vitamin D available to the body (>). In this way boron taken with vitamin D increases its amount and effectiveness in the body.
SAFETY & TOXICITY
Boron toxicity is likely rare because of nearly 100% of ingested boron is excreted from the body with stool and urine. Most cases of boron toxicity have involved boron compound such as boric acid and borax. These, however, are not found in dietary supplements. Boric acid is much more dangerous to children than to adults.
Although internal use of boron as a supplement is safe, some sources suggest that large doses of boric acid is poisonous if swallowed and should never be taken by mouth (>, >). However, even boric acid, which is poisonous when ingested in large quantities, is considered one of the least toxic insecticide (>, >).
Boron in rare cases may interfere with the thyroid gland function as it seems to compete with iodine in the thyroid, reducing the function of the gland thus stimulating it to grow larger to compensate. Over time, this growth forms a goitre (>).
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