A vital trace mineral that is found in foods and the environment, people may also take boron as a supplement. Boron is thought to be useful for building strong bones and muscles, treating osteoarthritis, increasing levels of testosterone in the blood, and improving cognitive skills and muscle coordination.
Women have used capsules containing boric acid, the most common form of boron, to treat vaginal yeast infections. They place the capsules directly in the vagina. People sometimes apply boric acid to the skin as an astringent or to prevent infections. In addition, it has been used as an eye wash.
Boron supplementation appears to interact with magnesium and reduce the amount of magnesium that is eliminated in the urine. This may result in elevated levels of magnesium in the blood. Among older women, this tends to occur in those who consume small amounts of magnesium. In young women, this happens more often among individuals who rarely exercise. It is not known if this occurs in men. In some people, supplemental boron may reduce blood phosphorus levels.
What food sources provide Boron intake?
|Red kidney beans
What is the recommended intake for Boron?
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, the average man or woman 19 years or older should consume no more than 20 mg of boron per day. All adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 years, including those who are pregnant or breast-feeding, should have no more than 17 mg per day. Higher doses may be unsafe while pregnant or breast-feeding. Higher doses in pregnant women have been linked to birth defects. Children between the ages of 9 and 13 years should have no more than 11 mg per day; children between the ages of four and eight years should have no more than 6 mg per day; and children between one and three years should have no more than 3 mg per day.
For most women, intravaginal boric acid is considered safe to use for up to six months. However, when used during the first four months of pregnancy, it has been associated with an increased risk of birth defects.
Women who have been diagnosed with hormone-sensitive conditions, such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids, should avoid boron supplementation or excess amounts of boron-rich foods. Boron may act like estrogen, which has the potential to exacerbate these conditions. People who have kidney problems should avoid boron supplements. Weakened kidneys may be unable to flush out boron. Excessive amounts could then build up in the heart, kidneys, and brain as well as other parts of the body.
There is no Recommended Dietary Allowance for boron supplementation. This may be a result of the limited research on boron.
What happens with deficiency or excess presence of Boron?
With so many food sources of boron, deficiency is rare and not fully understood. It is believed that boron deficiency would result in the abnormal metabolism of calcium and magnesium. Other boron deficiency symptoms include hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland), sex hormone imbalance, osteoporosis, arthritis, and neural malfunction. Excessive amounts of boron may cause a type of poisoning characterized by skin inflammation and peeling, irritability, tremors, convulsions, weakness, headaches, depression, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Health Benefits of Boron
Here we will discuss about the health benefits of Boron:
- Useful for Dysmenorrhea & Painful Menstrual Cramps
In a study published in 2015 in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, researchers from Iran noted that dysmenorrhea or menstrual cramps is a common condition among women and negatively impacts their quality of life. They wanted to learn if boron, which has anti-inflammatory properties, would reduce the severity and duration of pain associated with this medical problem. The researchers recruited 113 university students; 58 were placed in an intervention group and 55 in a control group. At baseline, the two groups had no significant differences in severity and duration of pain. The students in the intervention group were told to take 10 mg per day of boron from two days before the menstrual flow until the third day of the flow. The members of the control group took capsules that appeared to be the same, but they were actually placebos. The students took these capsules for two consecutive menstrual cycles. Pain severity and duration measurements were taken at baseline and during the two cycles. Following the intervention, the students taking boron had significantly less pain and a significantly shorter duration of pain than the students taking the placebos. The researchers concluded that “supplementation of boron could lower the severity and duration of menstrual pain through anti-inflammatory effects.” And boron appeared to have no side effects.
- Lowers body weight
In a prospective, observational study published in 2013 in the journal Biological Trace Element Research, researchers from Turkey evaluated the levels of boron in the blood of normal, overweight, obese, and morbidly obese subjects. Based on their body mass index, a total of 80 subjects were placed in one of these four groups; each group had 20 subjects. The researchers found a significant inverse relationship between body mass index and blood boron levels. As a result, when compared to the nonobese subjects, the heavier subjects had lower levels of boron in their blood. The researchers commented that while it is evident that boron supplement does not lower the body mass index, “the effect of boron on energy substrate utilization and mineral metabolism in causing reduction in body weight should be regarded as an important step for prevention and medical treatment of obesity.”
In a study published in 2011 in the International Journal of Medical Sciences, researchers from Turkey investigated the use of boric acid to reduce weight in mice. The researchers divided 20 mice into two groups of 10 each. The mice in the intervention group drank water treated with boric acid. On average, the mice in the intervention group received about 0.2 mg/kg per day of boric acid. The mice in the control group drank standard tap water. At the end of five days, the mice were sacrificed, and the researchers determined that the mice drinking the boric acid–treated water experienced “serious body weight reduction.”
- Helpful for Osteoarthritis
In a placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind study published in 2011 in the journal Biological Trace Element Research, researchers from Romania wanted to learn if calcium fructoborate, a supplement containing boron, calcium, and fructose, would be useful for people dealing with primary osteoarthritis, a medical problem that occurs when cartilage between the joints breaks down and causes pain, stiffness, and swelling. The initial cohort consisted of 72 subjects, who were divided into four groups. For two weeks, the subjects in three of the groups took varying doses of calcium fructoborate. The subjects in one group took no calcium fructoborate and served as controls. Sixty people completed the study. The researchers determined that compared to the placebo group, all the treatment groups demonstrated reduced markers of inflammation. With less inflammation, there should be reduced pain and stiffness. “The study suggests that short-term (2 weeks) supplementation of calcium fructoborate in patients with osteoarthritis symptoms has approving prognosis on inflammation diseases.”
- Assist Knee discomfort
In a study published in 2014 in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging, researchers from Irvine, California, wanted to learn if calcium fructoborate would be useful for people with self-reported knee discomfort. The cohort of 60 men and women, between the ages of 35 and 65 years, was randomly placed in a group to receive the supplement or a group to receive a placebo. Pain evaluations were conducted at the beginning of the study, after 7 days, and after 14 days. Beginning two weeks before the study and then during the study, participants were not allowed to consume any medications or other supplements. The researchers found that supplementation with calcium fructoborate at a dose of 110 mg twice per day significantly improved knee discomfort. The members of the placebo group did not experience any changes in their pain scores. No one reported any adverse side effects from the treatment. “Overall the result supported significant activity for CFB (calcium fructoborate) in reducing reported discomfort due to joint pain during the two-week course of the study.”
- Treat prostate cancer cells
In a study published in 2014 in the journal Tumour Biology, researchers from Turkey wanted to determine if a compound found in boron would be useful for killing prostate cancer cells in the laboratory setting. As a result, they treated hormone-independent human prostate cancer cells with a boron agent known as disodium pentaborate decahydrate for 24, 48, and 72 hours. The researchers learned that the boron agent disrupted the normal functioning of the actin filaments of the prostate cancer cells. The threadlike actin filaments are an essential component of the building blocks of the cells. In addition, the researchers observed that the boron agent had other cell-killing effects. The researchers concluded that “DPD could be an important agent for its therapeutic potential in the treatment of prostate cancer by inducing apoptosis or cell death.”
- Brain activity
Research shows that low content of boron contributes sluggish brain, trouble learning, poor cognitive development and retaining information. Boron is considered as brain nutrient which assist task performance, better attention, motor control and short term memory. Researchers have compared effects of low intake of boron in healthy adults with higher intake. There is significant increment in proportion of low frequency brain activity and low in proportion of higher frequency activity in group taking boron. Results have shown improvement in task performance on various psychomotor and cognitive tests in group receiving more boron including motor skills, better response times, manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, perception, attention and short or long term memory.
- Treat arthritis
Boron has a crucial role in integration of calcium into joint’s cartilage preventing arthritis pain and joint deterioration. Research shows that people having lower concentrations of boron in bones or synovial fluid experience high rate of arthritis than with higher levels. Other study shows that bones of patients with use of boron supplements are harder to cut than those patients with not supplements. Studies shows that lower intake of boron highly increases chances of arthritis.
- Bones strengthen
Boron is used for preventing bone loss by facilitating calcium which is the main mineral involved in bone mineralization, directly into bones by preventing porous and weak bones from developing. Boron protects bones due to its role in regulating function of estrogen. Moreover, studies show that boron assist body in production or use of Vitamin D, which is essential nutrient for healthy formation of bones along with cognitive processes and immune function. Study has shown that supplements of boron promotes bone formation and also inhibit bone resorption, forming therapeutical protection against osteoporosis in animal studies. When fed bone deprived diet to rats, they experienced bone loss in femurs or lumbar vertebrate, spongy bones and increased osteoporotic conditions. On other hand, rats fed high supplements of boron have improvement in bone thickness, bone mass, bone volume and high estradiol levels.
- Balance hormones
Boron is a mineral which balances sex hormones in both men and women including testosterone and estrogen. Boron helps to provide relief from menopause symptoms and PMS and also for promoting fertility. Animal studies have shown the association between boron depletion and fertility problems or birth defects suggesting boron has a crucial role in healthy reproduction or fetus development.
Studies have shown menopausal women when fed diet with low boron levels and then diet rich in boron, they experienced low level of calcium or magnesium loss through urine and elevated levels of testosterone and estrogen.
- Healthy muscles
Some minerals and vitamins are absorbed better and utilized properly by the body when boron levels are higher which is essential to build muscles, prevent pain, burning fat. Boron enhances healthy production of testosterone which could result in higher energy levels and gain strength fast. Research shows that use of boron includes enhancement of athletic performance as it assist brain to think quickly, demonstrate hand-eye coordination, react better to stimulus in addition to keeping joints and bones stronger and free from pain.
This is the reason why boron is found in protein powders and athletic supplements promising better results though research is still required for confirmation.
- Helpful for yeast infections
Boron is an active ingredient in tablets which is used for treating yeast infections in women. In form of boric acid, Boron is used as an alternative to over counter yeast infection medicines or creams. It is regarded to be safe and effective alternative when inserted into vagina in order to speed healing painful infections. It does not provide any side effects and was self-made or less expensive. It concluded that boric acid is a natural fungistatic and considered to be better, cost effective option than messy vaginal creams.