Boron

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Boron is a mineral that exists naturally in seawater and weathered volcanic rock. Boron also enters the atmosphere through coal and oil power generation and the manufacture of glass products. Long term exposure to boron through fuel and glass manufacture can have harmful side effects. Studies reveal boron supplementation is often utilized to treat medical conditions as well as boron deficiency.

Other Forms of Boron

Research explains boron is known by a number of other names. Studies show the most common form of boron is boric acid. Additional names are listed here in alphabetical order:

  • Acide Borique
  • Anhydride Borique
  • Borate
  • Borate de Sodium
  • Borates
  • Bore
  • Boric Acid
  • Boric Anhydride
  • Boric Tartrate
  • Boro
  • Numéro Atomique 5
  • Sodium Borate

Elemental boron is denoted on the periodic table by the symbol B and an atomic number 5.

Health Benefits of Boron

As previously mentioned, the most frequently used form of boron is boric acid, and research further reveals boric acid is used for numerous healthcare applications including: as a preventative against incurring infection, as an eyewash, to treat menstrual pain in younger women and to treat yeast infections (candidiasis) in women through the use of boric acid vaginal suppositories. In fact, boric acid has been shown to successfully treat yeast infections that have proven resistant to other forms of treatment.

The same research suggests that boron may be effective in treating additional health concerns as well. By applying a boron compound with gel four times per day to the affected skin of patients with breast cancer undergoing radiation treatments, the prevalent side effect of skin rash may be negated. Other health benefits linked with using boron included reducing pain associated with arthritis and improved mental cognition and fine motor skills in older individuals.

Boron and Wound Healing

Studies1 undertaken over the last 30 years have observed that boron has the power to substantially advance the healing of wounds. Research demonstrates that when a 3 percent solution of boric acid is applied to deep wounds, patients require two-thirds less time in intensive care.

Boron and Healthy Bones

A study published in "Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal"1 emphasizes that the medical community has long been aware that boron is vitally important for healthy bones. Boron plays an important role in bone formation; therefore, boron deficiency negatively affects bone development and hampers regeneration. Boron impacts steroid hormone production, an essential function that acts to prevent the loss of calcium and avert bone demineralization. Proper amounts of boron are particularly vital for peri- and postmenopausal women as supplementation with boron has consistently been proven to significantly reduce the excretion of calcium and magnesium through urinary output while elevating calcium absorption and serum levels of estradiol.

This same study1 examined boron's specific role in bone formation as it relates to key hormones including estrogen and testosterone. The research found that boron promotes mineralization of osteoblasts (cells instrumental for bone formation) by regulating gene expression in regards to tissue mineralization as well as key hormone actions, including testosterone, 17β-estradiol and vitamin D. Researchers concluded boron apparently elevates estrogen levels in post-menopausal women and in men who are healthy.

Boron and Hormone Health

Boron supplementation has proven beneficial for women and men for increasing hormonal steroid production. An investigation1 conducted in 1987 observed that postmenopausal women who had been on a diet lacking in boron, experienced substantial elevations in both their testosterone and serum estradiol (E2) levels once boron supplementation was initiated. These hormonal increases were particularly pronounced in women whose diets were deficient in magnesium. In fact, E2 levels for this group of women nearly doubled, rising from a mean of 21.1 pg/mL to 41.4 pg/mL. Testosterone levels rose even more significantly, escalating from a mean of 0.31 ng/mL to 0.83 ng/mL.

Research1 has observed a similar elevation in E2 serum levels in male subjects following four weeks of boron supplementation. Following just one week of supplementation with boron at 6 mg/d, researchers noted a substantial rise in free testosterone among the study participants — increasing from a mean of 11.83 pg/mL to 15.18 pg/mL. Substantial declines in E2 were also observed, decreasing from 42.33 pg/mL to 25.81 pg/mL.

Scientists1 emphasize the important fact that boron supplementation caused the men’s E2 levels to significantly drop as this is indicative of a greater rate of total testosterone (T) conversion to free testosterone (FT). Experts agree, an increase in unbound FT through boron supplementation has the potential for substantial benefits, especially for older men, who typically experience an increase in sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels and a decrease in levels of FT.

How to Use Boron

Research shows 10 mg of boron can be taken each day for premenstrual and menstrual pain for two days prior to the onset of a woman's cycle through three days after the cycle has ended.

A research study2 of yeast infections treated with boric acid capsules/suppositories found that they should be administered in dosages of 600 mg given once or twice a day.

Boron compounds such as gels and eye washes should be used as directed.

Studies show forms of boron such as boric acid and sodium borates are used as antiseptics and bacteriostats in numerous home health products from diaper powders to mouthwashes and burn treatments.

Research demonstrates boron is also used as a body-building supplement available in concentrations ranging from 1.5-10 mg/serving.

Daily Recommended Allowance

While there is no recognized recommended daily allowance for boron, research reveals that a normal diet will yield an intake of approximately 10-20 mg of boron per day, primarily coming from eating fruits and vegetables.

The same study noted that adults and women who are pregnant or nursing should not exceed the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), of 20 mg/day to avoid adverse effects.

  • Adults and pregnant women should not exceed 20mg/day
  • Children 9 -13 should not exceed 11 mg/day
  • Children 4 - 8 should not exceed 6 mg/day and
  • Children 1 - 3 should not exceed 3 mg/day.

A safe UL for infants has not yet been established.

Symptoms of Boron Deficiency

Research suggests diets consisting of just 0.25 mg of boron/2000 kcal/day are considered deficient.

A literature study comparing the results of 3 research studies investigating the effects of diets low in boron found that participants with boron deficiency consistently scored lower in a variety of psychomotor and cognitive tasks. Active participants were asked to complete measured skills such as eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity as well as short-term and long-term memory retention. The study results suggest an individual with a diet low in boron may exhibit symptoms of diminished cognitive performance and slowed brain function.

Who is at Risk for Boron Deficiency

Individuals who do not eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans and nuts. Older adults and peri and postmenopausal women need to be particularly aware of their boron intake to safeguard their bone and joint health.

Food Sources of Boron

Boron can be obtained naturally through a diet rich in fruits and tubers.

  • Avocados
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Bananas
  • Red Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Red Apples

Citations and Sources

1.
Pizzorno L. Nothing Boring About Boron. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2015;14(4):35-48. [PMC]
2.
Prutting S, Cerveny J. Boric acid vaginal suppositories: a brief review. Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol. 1998;6(4):191-194. [PMC]