Boron is a mineral that shows great potential for a number of health benefits. From increased vitamin D and magnesium retention to accelerated bone strength, and the healing of wounds, along with anti-inflammatory benefits.
“The trace mineral boron is a micronutrient with diverse and vitally important roles in metabolism that render it necessary for plant, animal, and human health, and, possibly, as recent research suggests, for the evolution of life on Earth”. (01)
While the research surrounding boron in human studies is limited. The results do show positive signs for those who are concerned with strength, vitality, and mental well-being. As it not only provides all of the above-mentioned benefits, but it can also increase the production of our hormones.
To clarify this; testosterone is increased for men. And for women, estradiol is also increased – which is the main female sex hormone.
Furthermore, boron can also aid in the stimulation of fast brain waves – helping us to think sharper and faster.
Here’s a list of the many benefits associated with the use of boron:
- The growth and maintenance of bone
- Greatly improves wound healing
- Improves hormone levels
- Boosts magnesium absorption
- Reduces levels of inflammatory biomarkers
- Raises levels of antioxidant enzymes
- Protects against pesticide-induced oxidative stress
- Improves the brains electrical activity
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A study which gave 3 mg of boron per day to women (in two 28 day trials) who were low in magnesium (a mineral linked to calcium absorption – creating strong bones). Showed that boron reduced calcium loss through urination.
Therefore, this highlights that boron is able to retain calcium in our bodies. Thus preventing the loss of calcium through urination, retaining a strong skeletal system.
This is especially important if calcium or magnesium levels are low. These two minerals are easily lost through sweat and urine.
To clarify this point; if you exercise on a regular basis, or live in a warmer climate. Then you may be at risk of calcium loss (creating weaker bones). This is of course, if your diet does not contain adequate amounts of minerals such as Mg. Or boron, which slows down the loss of other minerals.
Boron supplementation has repeatedly been shown to markedly reduce urinary excretion of both calcium and magnesium. And to increase serum levels of estradiol and calcium absorption in peri- and postmenopausal women. (02)
Heals Wounds and Strengthens Connective Tissue
Boron has also been shown to improve wound healing. Since 1990, boron has been highlighted to increase the rate of healing in deep wounds.
“Application of 3% boric acid solution to deep wounds reduced the time required in intensive care by two-thirds”. (03)
Boron is able to heal wounds due to the way it interacts with “fibroblasts elastase, trypsin-like enzymes, collagenase, and alkaline phosphatase”. (04)
To highlight this point; fibroblasts elastase as the extracellular matrix, along with collagen, are the most abundant cells in animal connective tissue – making them crucial for wound healing.
Therefore, if we’re able to increase the rate at which these elements function, our wounds will heal at a much faster rate. All thanks to increasing the levels of boron in our diet from foods, or via supplementation.
But… does this only apply to external wounds?
Certainly not, collagen is responsible for creating strong tendons and ligaments, along with a robust bone formation. (05)
Protein Release and Muscle Growth
Boron is also responsible for regulating the messenger of RNA (mRNA), which is a family of molecules that convey genetic information.
This family of molecules specifically (amino acids for gene expression). Such as the ones being made into proteins, thus repairing, and building our bodies.
The proteins being signaled by RNA are not only responsible for wound healing as previously mentioned. They are also important for the “mineralized tissue-associated proteins, collagen type 1 (COL1), osteopontin (OPN), bone sialoprotein (BSP), and osteocalcin (OCN)”. (06)
Improves Sex Hormones
Boron has been shown to increase testosterone and serum of estradiol (E2) in postmenopausal women on a low boron diet. (07)
Not only that, those women who were low in magnesium, boron showed to increase estradiol levels – highlighting boron’s ability to retain important minerals needed for an adequate hormonal balance.
As for men, one study showed that after only 1 weeks supplementation of boron (6 mg a day), a “significant increase” in free testosterone was noted – from 11.83 pg/mL to 15.18 pg/mL. (08)
Furthermore, inflammatory biomarkers linked to tumour growth were reduced thanks to boron supplementation – from 1.55 pg/mL to 0.87 pg/mL.
Finally, dihydrotestosterone, which is the acting form of the male hormone testosterone, along with vitamin D levels increased slightly, but at the same time, cortisol also increased.
Another positive to boron supplementation is the reduction of plasma E2 – which is the major female sex hormone. Therefore, if men can lower E2 and raise free testosterone levels, the stronger and healthier men will become.
Vitamin & Mineral Retention
In some cases, boron has been shown to help elevate vitamin D status in those with low Vit-D levels by 39%.
A study (09) which took middle-aged men and women, who were placed on a low boron diet. Along with low magnesium and copper for 63 days. After boron supplementation, all three, Vit-D, magnesium, and copper levels increased.
How can boron increase vitamin D levels?
Boron increases the “biological half-life” and bioavailability of vitamin D. [The half-life of something is the measure of how long it takes to reduce down to half of its original amount].
Yet another benefit to supplementing with boron is the retention of magnesium, along with its accelerated delivery into the bone to form calcium.
Magnesium contains a whole host of benefits from muscle recovery, relaxation, and stress relief. Along with glycolysis – the delivery and use of glucose as an energy source via the mitochondria.
Therefore, by increasing the rate at which we can improve magnesium bioavailability and retention, the stronger our skeletal system will become.
Furthermore, “magnesium is required in osteoblasts and osteoclasts and in all living cells, within which magnesium is fundamental for adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and serves as the cofactor of more than 300 enzymes involved in lipid, protein, and nucleic acid synthesis.” (10)
Anti Inflammatory Effects
Boron has been shown to reduce plasma levels of TNF-α. Which is a cell that signals for the growth and formation of tumours using certain proteins. Thus highlighting the positive effects that boron has in reducing the risk of developing tumours.
“One week of boron supplementation 10 mg/d resulted in a 20% decrease in the plasma concentration of TNF-α, from 12.32 to 9.97 pg/mL, and in remarkable decreases (approximately 50%) in plasma concentration of hs-CRP, from 1460 to 795 ng/mL, and of IL-6, from 1.55 to 0.87 pg/mL”. (11)
This may be important for athletes, due to the nature of certain training methods, where inflammation may increase on a regular basis.
Therefore, if we can maintain low inflammation levels with the help of boron, for example, we can continue to train on a regular basis, further cutting down our recovery time between sessions.
Reduces Oxidative Stress
Certain food manufacturing process use malathion, which is a type of pesticide that causes oxidative stress.
In recent years, the number of farms which use pesticide has grown. And while steps have been taken to reduce the cross-over into the final food product, unfortunately, we cannot avoid ingesting all pesticides.
That’s where boron can help:
Boron has been shown to reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress, both in the liver, kidneys, and brain tissue from pesticides.
“Administration of boron 5, 10, and 20 mg/kg/d reversed malathion-induced oxidative stress. Boron decreased malathion-induced oxidative stress, enhanced antioxidant defense mechanisms, and regenerated damaged liver, kidney, and brain tissues in rats”. (12)
Improves Brain Activity
There are particular brain frequencies we use on a daily basis, some of which are low, while others are high brain frequencies. The use of low brain frequency is linked to poor mental performance.
Boron has shown to increase the amount of high brain frequency we use. As little as a 0.3 mg decrease in boron per day can cause unwanted side effects linking to poorer mental performance.
“In humans, boron deprivation (<0.3 mg/d) resulted in poorer performance on tasks of motor speed and dexterity, attention, and short-term memory”. (13)
Boron Side Effects
No serious side effects have been noted thus far with boron supplementation. However, if taking large amounts of boron in the form of boric acid, it could result in more serious side effects. Such as complications with the intestines, liver, kidneys, promoting nausea and vomiting.
However, as born is found naturally within the foods we eat. Such as avocados, and green vegetables, it’s safe to assume that boron is healthy for daily consumption.
As for supplements, using on average 4 mg per day is widely accepted as a healthy dose of boron. Some studies highlight that up to 6 mg per day show great results for balancing and improving hormone levels. (o8)
Boron In Foods
Here’s a list of the most common sources of boron in foods: (14)
- Raisins, 4.51 mg of Boron/ 100 g
- Almonds, 2.82 mg of Boron/ 100 g
- Hazelnuts, 2.77 mg of Boron/ 100 g
- Dried Apricots, 2.11 mg of Boron/ 100 g
- Peanut Butter, 1.92 mg of Boron/ 100
- Brazil Nuts, 1.72 mg of Boron/ 100 g
As there is no RDA set out for the use of boron, we do not yet know the adequate dosage for optimal results where sports and basic daily needs are concerned.
Furthermore, as boron is a mineral, it will be quickly lost through excess sweating, urination, or breathing – if taking part in exercise for example.
The point I am making with the above statement is…
You may need to increase the levels of vitamins and minerals in your diet according to your activity levels. A sedentary person would not consume the same amount of calories as a 5-day-per week gym goer, or a manual labourer for example.
So, how much boron should you be taking? Positive results have been noticed with supplementation of 6 mg per day. (08). If your diet is lacking in this mineral, by staying close to this dosage amount (3-6 mg p/d), you should see and feel great results in a matter of days.
While I’ve highlighted many of boron’s benefits, there’s still research surrounding boron that shows mixed results. However, while more tests need to be done to show the full picture of boron, we can safely assume that it contains many healing benefits.
Why? As it’s a natural mineral found within the foods we eat, in the earth’s crust, and within the body.
From increasing testosterone levels for men to improving female sex hormones, along with retaining more magnesium and vitamin D, boron shows very promising signs of importance for our strength, recovery, and vitality.
Furthermore, boron can also improve brain functions. Stimulating fast brain waves, as opposed to slow brain waves (boron deficient).
And last but not least, boron also promotes an anti-inflammatory effect. Which is great for athletes who train frequently, as inflammation can build up preventing adequate recovery.
Also, if we experience too much inflammation over long periods of time, this could also cause more serious illnesses such as the development of tumours – hence the importance of minerals such as boron.
To sum it all up, boron shows significant promise for improved mental health, bone formation, magnesium retention, reduced inflammation and protein release to mane a few.
For the amount of boron, you should be consuming per day? Positive results have been seen with 2-6 mg per day. To put this into perspective, that’s 1-5 avocados per day.
For any questions surrounding boron, or any other nutritional supplement, feel free to contact me or leave your comments in the section below.
(01) Nothing Boring About Boron. (source)
(02) Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women. (source)
(03) Treatment of deep wounds with loss of tissue. Value of a 3 per cent boric acid solution. (source)
(04) Mechanisms implicated in the effects of boron on wound healing. (source)
(05) Top 6 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements. (source)
(06) Boron regulates mineralized tissue-associated proteins in osteoblasts (MC3T3-E1). (source)
(07) Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines. (source)
(08) Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines. (source)
(09) Calcium fructoborate: plant-based dietary boron for human nutrition. (source)
(10) Decreased conversion of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 to 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 following cholecalciferol therapy in patients with CKD.(source)
(11) Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines. (source)
(12) Boron attenuates malathion-induced oxidative stress and acetylcholinesterase inhibition in rats. (source)
(13) The importance of boron nutrition for brain and psychological function. (source)
(14) The Top Boron-Rich Food Sources. (source)