Boron

Boron is an incredibly versatile element that forms over 230 chemical compounds and has been recommended by both Eastern and Western medical traditions to promote health.

Boron is referred to as an essential trace element: "esssential" in the sense that it plays crucial roles in multiple fundamental biologic processes in plants, animals, and humans; "trace" in the sense that relatively smaller amounts of boron are needed in the human body compared to the more ever-present  minerals such as iron, calcium, and phosphorous. 

6 Musculoskeletal Benefits of Boron

1. Supports Joint Health

Scientific studies indicate boron boosts joint health via multiple mechanisms. Boron enhances magnesium absorption and magnesium plays a vital role in  joint health. Boron also stimulates the synthesis of proteins that support healthy collagen growth and cartilage formation. Furthermore, boron helps the immune system function properly and not inadvertently damage joint tissue. Finally, boron through activation of various extracellular enzymes boosts the intrinsic strength and resilience of the cartilage architecture. 

 

Turkish researchers probed the association between boron intake and osteoarthritis prevalence. The authors determined that in areas where boron intake is greater than or equal to 1 mg/d, the approximated incidence of arthritis ranges from 20% to 70%. In contrast, in areas where boron intake is commonly 3 to 10 mg/d, investigators approximated an incidence of arthritis ranging from 0% to 10%.(Korkmaz M, Sayli U, Sayli BS, et al. Estimation of human daily boron exposure in a boron-rich area. Br J Nutr. 2007;98(3):571-575.)

 

Australian researchers conducted a double-blind pilot study, in which study participants were treated with supplementation 6mg /day for 8 weeks. One out of two participants in the treatment group reported decreased joint pain, decreased joint swelling, and an increase in joint range of motion. (Newnham et al. Environ Health Perspect 102(Suppl  7)1994:83-85.)

2.   Supports Bone Health

Some research suggests boron reduces calcium and magnesium loss. These two vital minerals are essential for bone heath and proper bone density. Moreover, boron is thought to positively influence estrogen to promote bone health. Boron has also been shown to boost mineralization of bone producing cells called osteoblasts. Furthermore, boron stimulates the production of proteins that enhance bone growth.

 

In a study of postmenopausal women, the USDA demonstrated that women supplemented with 3 mg/d of boron for 28 days excreted 44% less calcium than controls. (Nielsen FH, Hunt CD, Mullen LM, Hunt JR. Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women. FASEB J. 1987;1(5):394-397.)

3.  Supports Muscle Health

Scientific investigation implies that boron may increase the amount of free testosterone  circulating around the body. Testosterone is an important regulator and promoter of healthy muscle mass. Testosterone helps boost protein conversion to muscle and reduces muscle protein breakdown.

Iranian researches showed that Boron supplementation 10 mg/day for 7 days significantly increased free testosterone levels in study participants. In their study the free testosterone increased significantly. (Naghii MR, Mofid M, Asgari AR, Hedayati M, Daneshpour MS. Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2011;25(1):54-58.)

4.  Boron Supplementation is Associated with Pain Reduction

 

American scientists investigated the effect of boron supplementation in subjects with knee discomfort. The treatment group received calcium fructoborate 110 mg twice per day for  14 days.  The study reported statistically significant reduction in knee discomfort as reported by participants. (Pietrzkowski Z, Phelan MJ, Keller R, Shu C, Argumedo R, Reyes-Izquierdo T. Short-term efficacy of calcium fructoborate on subjects with knee discomfort: a comparative, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2014;9:895-899. doi:10.2147/CIA.S64590.)

5.  Boron is Associated with Decreased Inflammatory Markers

Human studies have revealed that boron supplementation is associated with reduction of C-reactive protein, ESR, and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha. C-reactive protein, ESR, and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha are proteins in the body that are considered to be markers of inflammation. Chronic inflammation can cause collateral damage to healthy bone, muscle, and joint tissue.

 

After 1 week of boron supplementation 6mg/d, Iranian scientists demonstrated a decrease in C-reactive protein and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha levels of 50% and 30%, respectively. (Naghii MR, Mofid M, Asgari AR, Hedayati M, Daneshpour MS. Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2011;25(1):54-58.)

6. Boron Demonstrates Antioxidant Properties

Animal studies demonstrate that boron reinforces the bodies natural ability to defuse dangerous free radicals and prevent the oxidation of fat. Researchers postulate that boron increases the activity of special enzymes involved in antioxidant protection. These enzymes are referred to as superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase.

 

Turkish scientists showed that boron administered to rats was able to reduce the oxidative damaged  caused by exposure to malathion, a commonly used pesticide.(Coban FK, Ince S, Kucukkurt I, Demirel HH, Hazman O. Boron attenuates malathion-induced oxidative stress and acetylcholinesterase inhibition in rats [published online ahead of print October 24, 2014]. Drug Chem Toxicol.)

Other Health Benefits

There are other conditions that boron may assist, although more research is needed and for some conditions results to date have been mixed. Those include:

  • Supports Healthy Horomone Balance
  • Boost Brain Health
  • Promotes Healthy Mineralization
  • Enhances Healthy Sugar Blood Levels

 

Top Natural Sources of Boron

Recommended Dietaryy Allowance (RDA)

The National Institutes of Health has not published a recommended dietary allowance for boron. Instead, they’ve recommended an “upper limit”. Upper Limit values, as the name implies, suggest the maximum amount of a substance that is allowed before being at risk for symptoms of toxicity. The upper limits for boron depend on your gender and age and are as follows:

1 to 3 years: 3 mg per day

4 to 8 years: 6 mg per day

9 to 13 years: 11 mg per day

14 to 18 years: 17 mg per day

Adults 19 to 50 years: 20 mg per day

Pregnant women: 17 to 20 mg per day

Breastfeeding mothers: 17 to 20 mg per day

 

Precautions

Boron is generally well tolerated.

The National Institutes of Health has published an upper daily limit of 20 mg boron/day. Potential side effects include: skin inflammation, irritability, tremors, convulsions, weakness, headaches, depression, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

Some research suggests Boron may influence estrogen regulation. Thus, individuals with estrogen sensitive estrogen-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids.

Any consideration of supplementation should be discussed with a qualified health professional familiar with your unique medical history.

Reference

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(2001). Arsenic, Boron, Nickel, Silicon, and Vanadium. In Institute of Medicine (Ed.), Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc (502-553). Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

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 Benderdour, M., Hess, K., & Dzondo-Gadet, M. (1998). Boron modulates extracellular matrix and TNFα synthesis in human fibroblasts. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, (246), 746–751.

 Chen, D., Shen, J., Zhao, W., Han, L. Hamilton, J. L., & Im, H. J. (2017). Osteoarthritis: Toward a comprehensive understanding of pathological mechanism. Bone Research, 5(16044), doi:10.1038/boneres.2016.44

Frestedt, J. L., Kuskowski, M. A., & Zenk, J. L. (2009). A natural seaweed derived mineral supplement (Aquamin F) for knee osteoarthritis: A randomised, placebo controlled pilot study. Nutrition Journal, 8(7). doi:10.1186/1475-2891-8-7

Hunt, C. (2012). Dietary boron progress in establishing essential roles in human and animal physiology. International Boron Symposium.

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McClees, H. (2015). Boron for your bones and how to get enough without diary or meat. One Green Planet. Retrieved from https://www.algaecal.com/algaecalingredients/boron/boron-sources/

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Newnham, R. E. (1994). Essentiality of boron for healthy bones and joints. Environ Health Perspect, 102 (Suppl 7), 83-85.

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Pizzorno, L. (2015). Nothing boring about boron. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal, 14(4), 35-48.

Reyes-Izquierdo, T., Nemzer, B., Gonzalez, A. E., Zhou, Q., Argumedo, R., Shu, C., & Pietrzkowski, Z. B. (2012). Short-term intake of calcium fructoborate improves WOMAC and McGill scores and beneficially modulates biomarkers associated with knee osteoarthritis: A pilot clinical double-blinded placebo-controlled study. J Biomed Sci, 4(2), 111–122.

Scorei, R., Mitrut, P., Petrisor, I., & Scorei, I. (2011). A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study to evaluate the effect of calcium fructoborate on systemic inflammation and dyslipidemia markers for middle-aged people with primary osteoarthritis. Biol Trace Elem Res, 144(1–3), 253–63.

Thompson, H. (2015). Top food sources of boron. 1mhealthtips. Retrieved from http://www.1mhealthtips.com/top-food-sources-of-boron/

 
 
 
 
 

 Lucas J. Bader MD

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