Articles

Boron

Introduction

Boron is a trace mineral that has been recognized as an essential nutrient for plants for more than fifty years, but its usefulness in humans was not discovered until the mid-1980s. The highest concentration of boron in humans is found in bones and dental enamel and recent research suggests that the mineral plays a role in metabolism and bone health. While boron is sold in supplement form, it’s also available from several dietary sources including apples, avocados, chocolate, coffee, dried beans, grape juice, milk, peanut butter, peanuts, pecans, potatoes, prune juice, raisin granola/bran cereals, and wine. (1)

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

Dosages that have been used in clinical studies range from

Most Common Dosage

3mg daily.

Dosage Forms

Tablets and capsules.

Reported Uses

Recent studies have suggested that boron may play a role in preventing bone-related diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. In the case of osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, scientists have found that boron can help improve patient symptoms. (2) , (3) Other studies have shown that there is an inverse relationship between the intake of boron and the incidence of arthritis. (4) Studies on postmenopausal women have reported that boron supplementation can reduce the loss of calcium through excretion in the urine. (5) This, scientists say, could help lessen the risk of osteoporosis.

Boron has been studied for its beneficial effects on a host of other body functions. Researchers have been looking into the role it may play in the body’s metabolism of magnesium. (6) Also, boron may help convert vitamin D to its more active form, thus facilitating calcium absorption. Several studies have indicated that boron may prove to be an essential nutrient for humans in the areas of brain function and cognitive performance. (7) Finally, boron supplementation has been noted to elevate the serum concentrations of 17 beta-estradiol and testosterone, especially in low magnesium diets. (8)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

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General

No serious health or medical problems associated with its use have been reported in areas of the world where the daily diet supplies have been estimated up to 41mg per day of boron. (9)

Side Effects

Side effects are possible with any dietary supplememnt. Numerous case studies of poisonings and accidental ingestion seem to indicate a low toxicity for both boric acid and borax even at very high doses. The potential lethal dose for adults is estimated to be between 15 and 20 grams/day. (10) In a reported case of suicide, deadly ingestion of boric acid occurred. The first signs of toxicity were nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. (11) and fatigue.

Pregnancy / Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Proper nutrition is essential during pregnancy for the healthy development of the fetus. Numerous vitamins and minerals are a vital part of proper nutrition. If you are pregnant, think you might be pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breast-feeding an infant, talk to your healthcare professional about supplementing your diet with appropriate vitamins and minerals.

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Vitamins and minerals are an essential part of proper growth and development. Talk to your healthcare professional about the appropriate use of vitamins and minerals in children. Do not use any vitamin or mineral in children under 2 years of age unless first discussed with your healthcare professional.

References

  1. Panel on Micronutrients, Subcommittees on Upper Reference Levels of Nutrients and of Interpretation and Use of Dietary Reference Intakes, and the Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc; Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2001:404-12.
  2. Travers RL, et al. Boron and Arthritis: The Results of a Double-blind Study. J Nutr Med. 1990;1:127-32.
  3. Newnham RE. Arthritis or Skeletal Fluorosis and Boron. Int Clin Nutr Rev. 1991;11(2):68-70.
  4. View Abstract: Newnham RE. Essentiality of boron for healthy bones and joints. Environ Health Perspect. Nov1994;102(Suppl 7):83-5.
  5. View Abstract: Nielsen FH, et al. Effect of Dietary Boron on Mineral, Estrogen, and Testosterone Metabolism in Postmenopausal Women. Fed Am Soc Exp Biol. 1987;1(15):394-97.
  6. View Abstract: Volpe SL, et al. The Relationship Between Boron and Magnesium Status and Bone Mineral Density in the Human: A Review. Magnes Res. Sep1993;6(3):291-96.
  7. View Abstract: Penland JG. Dietary boron, brain function, and cognitive performance. Environ Health Perspect. Nov1994;102(Suppl 7):65-72.
  8. View Abstract: Nielsen FH, et al. Effect of Dietary Boron on Mineral, Estrogen, and Testosterone Metabolism in Postmenopausal Women. Fed Am Soc Exp Biol. 1987;1(15):394-97.
  9. View Abstract: Naghii MR, Samman S. The role of boron in nutrition and metabolism. Prog Food Nutr Sci. Oct1993;17(4):331-49.
  10. Panel on Micronutrients, Subcommittees on Upper Reference Levels of Nutrients and of Interpretation and Use of Dietary Reference Intakes, and the Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc; Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2001:404-12.
  11. View Abstract: Restuccio A, Mortensen ME, Kelley MT. Fatal ingestion of boric acid in an adult. Am J Emerg Med. Nov1992;10(6):545-7.