The trace mineral boron is nothing boring. Boron has many different fundamental roles in human health and possibly the evolution of life. Boron has been studied and evaluated for a variety of conditions including, but not limited to, hormonal health, osteoarthritis, bone health, and wound healing.
Boron is a nonessential trace mineral that occurs naturally in many foods such as beans, whole grains, avocados, nuts, fruits and berries. The main form of boron you get from food is boric acid. Boric acid is a combination of boron, hydrogen and oxygen.
Research on the benefits and uses of boron is mixed. However, multiple studies have shown that boron may have a positive effect on osteoarthritis, wound healing, bone growth, and hormone maintenance.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that worsens over time, often resulting in mechanical problems and chronic pain. This is caused by the breakdown or structural changes in the cartilage and other tissues within the joint.
Epidemiological evidence suggests that boron may be an effective treatment option for osteoarthritis (R). In fact, in areas where boron intake is greater than or equal to 1 mg per day, the estimated incidence of arthritis ranges from 20% to 70%. In contrast, in areas where boron intake is typically 3 to 10 mg d per day, the estimated incidence of arthritis ranges from 0% to 10% (R).
Calcium fructose borate, a naturally occurring plant-based boron carbohydrate complex, has been shown to have a positive effect on osteoarthritis due to its anti-inflammatory effects (R). In an 8-week pilot study, patients with mild to moderate OA experienced a 62-70% reduction in pain within the first 8 weeks of treatment. Ibuprofen has an impressive pain relief effect, with 67% of patients stopping the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) drug ibuprofen after 8 weeks of treatment.
Boron plays an important role in the absorption of calcium and magnesium and in preventing bone demineralization. Boron supplementation has been repeatedly shown to significantly reduce urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium and increase serum estradiol levels and calcium absorption in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women (R).
About 60% of the magnesium in the human body is found in the bones and is a key factor in calcium metabolism.
Studies have shown that higher intakes of magnesium can increase bone density by preserving skeletal muscle mass, which can help prevent weak bones and age-related diseases such as sarcopenia and osteoporosis (R)
Calcium forms an important building block of bones and teeth and is the most abundant mineral in the human body. You need calcium to build and maintain strong bones.
Vitamin D is a steroid-like vitamin that is also essential for calcium absorption and bone mineralization, which contributes to overall bone density (R). Boron also beneficially affects vitamin D utilization. Studies have shown that vitamin D supplementation can improve muscle strength, which in turn can help reduce the incidence of falls, which is one of the biggest contributors to fractures. Vitamin D also helps maintain phosphorus levels in the blood, another important process for strong bones.
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Boron affects the production and activity of steroid hormones. There is considerable evidence that boron affects the production and levels of male and female sex hormones such as estrogen, androgens such as testosterone and progesterone.
An earlier study in 1987 found that boron supplementation significantly increased serum estradiol (E2) and testosterone levels in postmenopausal women on a low boron diet, especially those with dietary magnesium intake lower female.
A study conducted 10 years later in 1997 found similar results and an increase in male hormones. After just one week of daily boron supplementation at 6 mg, researchers found that boron significantly increased free testosterone, from an average of 11.83 pg/mL to 15.18 pg/mL; serum estradiol significantly decreased, from 42.33 pg/mL to 25.81 pg /mL (R).
Significant reductions in plasma estradiol in men indicate a higher conversion of total testosterone to free testosterone in the testosterone metabolic pathway (R).
Wounds tend to heal on their own and usually do not require professional treatment. However, chronic wounds may be accompanied by longer healing times, inflammation and continued tissue degeneration. Studies of boric acid as a potential treatment have shown that boron compounds significantly increase cell proliferation, migration, and expression levels of important growth factors and genes in dermal cells, and have significant antibacterial effects against bacteria, yeast, and fungi.R).
Boron occurs naturally in several different foods in your diet. However, daily intakes can vary widely depending on specific food groups and the concentration of boron in the soil. In the United States, the average intake of boron is 1.7 mg to 7 mg per day. A varied, plant-based diet can provide 1.5 mg to 3 mg of boron per day. Foods rich in boron include nuts, green leafy vegetables, legumes, fruit and avocados. Some of the best sources include peanuts, raisins, prunes, pecans, apples, potatoes and peaches.
The recommended and prescribed dose to support bone health and prevent loss of bone mineral density is 3 mg/day. The average American consumes 1-7 mg per day. There is no recommended daily boron intake, but the tolerated upper limit and maximum dose of boron is 20 mg per day. According to the World Health Organization, an acceptable safe range for boron supplementation is 1-13 mg per day. Most clinical trials used 6 mg per day.
Boron can be toxic if ingested in excess, with side effects such as
- kidney damage
- loss of appetite
Research shows that boron can provide significant benefits, especially for hormonal maintenance, favoring the body’s use of estrogen, testosterone, and vitamin D. Boron also promotes the absorption of magnesium and calcium, which are essential for maintaining bone growth and maintaining health, as well as reducing markers of inflammation and improving pain scores in conditions such as osteoarthritis. Eating a well-rounded diet rich in leafy greens, meats and nuts will ensure that you get enough boron in your diet for better human health.
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