Boron is a mineral needed in trace amounts. It is found predominantly in fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears carrots, grapes and dark green leafy vegetables. It is also found in raw nuts, whole grains, tubers, and drinking water. The level of boron in plant foods depends upon adequate levels of boron in the soil. There is no established Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) for Boron however an acceptable range of intake is 1-13 mg boron/day for adults according to The World Health Organisation.
Boron is needed for healthy bones, muscle growth and joint function. It is also necessary for the metabolism of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Boron has also been shown to improve wound healing, reduce inflammation, raise levels of antioxidant enzymes and improve cognitive function. Boron also plays a role in how the body utilizes energy from fats and sugars.
Low levels of Boron have been associated with poor immune function, increased risk of mortality, osteoporosis, and cognitive deterioration. In postmenopausal women, boron deprivation leads to higher losses of calcium and magnesium and depressed serum concentrations of oestrogen and testosterone.
Bone Health -Boron has predominantly been researched for its role in bone health, specifically as a preventative treatment for osteoporosis. Boron is essential for the action of vitamin D which stimulates the absorption and utilization of calcium (1). Additionally, research suggests that boron is essential for the conversion of vitamin D into its active form (2). Furthermore, boron appears to reduce calcium loss by increasing the beneficial effects of oestrogen on bone health (1). Supplementation of 3mg Boron was shown to reduce losses of calcium via the urine by 4 per cent and dramatically increase levels of the most biologically available active oestrogen known as 17 beta-estradiol, (2). Further studies suggest that Boron can enhance as well as mimic some of the effects oestrogens produce on calcium metabolism in postmenopausal women (3).
Arthritis– Boron has been shown to alleviate joint discomfort by reducing levels of certain enzymes which are involved in inflammation (4). Furthermore, studies show in areas where the soil is low there are a greater number of people suffering from arthritis (4). Newnham,1994 (5) hypothesized that joint inflammation could be alleviated with 6mg Boron. This was followed by a pilot study involving 20 osteoarthritis patients who experienced a 50% response rate with 6mg supplemental elemental Boron (6). In an open trial, 6 to 9mg Boron produced effective relief in 90 percent of arthritis patients, including patients with osteoarthritis, juvenile arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (7).
Wound Healing -Research into the role of Boron in wound healing has been underway since the early ’90s. It has been found that boron stimulates the activity of cells within connective tissue to make collagen. In one study, the application of a 3% boric acid solution to deep wounds was shown to reduce the time required in intensive care by two-thirds (8). Furthermore, in 2000, in vitro research using human fibroblasts showed that a boric-acid solution improved wound healing through action on the extracellular matrix (the structural support in animal and human tissue (9). Further in- vitro studies published in 2002 revealed that these beneficial effects of boron were due to direct actions of boron on specific enzymes found in fibroblasts known as elastase, trypsin-like enzymes, collagenase, and alkaline phosphatase (10).
Osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis- Boron affects calcium metabolism and people with osteoarthritis have been reported to have low bone stores of boron. Supplementing with boron may replenish stores and improve symptoms. It may also prove useful to customers who suffer from osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Boron is considered safe when taken at recommended levels however side effects including nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea can occur at very high doses. Those with hyperthyroidism, chronic kidney disease, or kidney stones should not supplement with calcium without consulting their GP or pharmacist.The Tolerable Upper Intake Level for Boron is 10mg per day.