What is Boron?
Boron is an atomic element whose chemical symbol is B. It has an atomic number five in the periodic table. It is a vital trace element that is important for various biological processes such as metabolism. The mineral also plays an important role in the management of various disorders such as arthritis and osteoporosis. It is also believed to boost the natural ability of the body to absorb other minerals such as magnesium and calcium.
Boron is found in the deposits of the earth crusts at a concentration of about 0.001 percent. The mineral is obtained from the earth in the form of its compounds and not in its elemental form. Boron present in the environment is absorbed by plants in trace amounts and this contributes to dietary boron intake. In the medical field, boron is used in its salt form, sodium borate, or its acidic form, boric acid.
The important sources of boron include red grapes, plums, dates, oranges, and apples. Besides fruit sources, boron can also be sourced from vegetables, soybeans, and nuts. Other sources include chickpeas, hazelnuts, peanut butter, red kidney beans, and lentils.
Deficiency of boron is not common. However, individuals who are deficient in boron may present with abnormal metabolism of magnesium and calcium. Symptoms may include osteoporosis, arthritis, neural malfunction, and sex hormone imbalance. Boron is an essential mineral that is largely overlooked by many individuals. It is advisable to include the mineral in your daily diet to avoid possible disorders that may be caused by its insufficiency in the body.
Boron plays several roles in the body. It participates in the metabolism of key vitamins and minerals. The trace element is also thought to have an effect on the levels of testosterone and estrogen. Boron has no established dietary recommendation.
However, several clinical studies involving boron recommend the use of 2.5 to 6 milligrams on a daily basis. This dose is appropriate for the management of disorders such as osteoarthritis.
Uses And Health Benefits Of Boron
1. Improves Bone Health
Boron contributes to good bone mineralization. The trace element ensures that bones are healthy, preventing the occurrence of bone fractures that is commonly seen among the aging population.
A study was conducted on postmenopausal women who were not taking estrogen. The women were put on boron supplements for a period of three months. The women showed significantly less loss of magnesium and calcium.
They also presented with high levels of hormones that promote a healthy bone mass. Participants who took boron supplements and were on a magnesium deficient diet presented with less mineral and bone wasting than other participants. The trace element was also shown to protect against bone loss in individuals who were deficient in vitamin D.
Researchers have demonstrated that the combination of boron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D can work synergistically to promote bone mineralization. Experts have found that dietary boron produces the same results as seen in supplementation with estrogen hormone in humans.
2. Management Of Osteoarthritis
According to studies, cases of arthritis are common in areas of the world where the daily intake of boron is one milligram or less. Cases of arthritis are below ten percent in places where boron intake is above three milligrams daily.
A research that was performed in Australia showed that places that have a high concentration of boron in the soil and water had 50 percent fewer cases of arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions than those ones with low levels of boron.
A study that involved osteoarthritis patients showed that those who were put on boron supplements had less pain upon movement than those who were not put on boron supplements. Another study found that bones that are adjacent to joints diagnosed with osteoarthritis had less mineralization than those located away from joints. The study concluded that such bones are deficient in boron and they may benefit from its supplementation.
3. Balances Hormones
Boron helps balance the levels of sex hormones in both men and women. The trace element also helps relieve symptoms that are associated with menopause in women. A study that was performed on laboratory animals showed that boron deficiency may lead to infertility and also birth defects. The study concluded that the mineral has an important role in reproduction and fetal development.
The United States Department of Agriculture carried out a study to determine the effects of boron on postmenopausal women. The study found that when the postmenopausal women were put on diets low on boron, they lost calcium and magnesium through urine leading to low levels in the blood. They also had an elevated level of testosterone and estrogen sex hormones.
4. Boron Promotes A Healthy Muscle Mass
Studies have shown that certain minerals and vitamins are better absorbed in the presence of boron. The minerals and vitamins help maintain a good muscle mass, as well as burn excess fats present in the body. The nutrients also help prevent pain by repairing the muscles after an intense training session. The trace element also promotes the production of testosterone hormone, which promotes higher energy levels and quick strength gains.
Boron is commonly used to formulate protein powders and athletic supplements. However, more studies need to be done to determine whether or not it is effective in impacting the body composition and physical abilities without being combined with other supplements.
5. Improves Cognitive Function
A study found that participants who were on a low boron diet performed minimally in tests that involved perception, attention, and hand-to-eye coordination. The individuals also experienced poor short-term and long-term memories. Individuals who were put on a diet rich in boron performed excellently on these tests.
The study concluded that inadequate intake of the trace element is associated with health problems such as the inability to stay focused for a long time, low energy levels, and poor mental performance. Another study was conducted whereby a group of students was either put on a placebo or three milligrams daily of boron for three months.
Students who were put on boron supplement showed improved mental alertness and they participated in all class activities. Electroencephalogram tests have also demonstrated that individuals who take adequate amounts of boron experience increased alertness.
6. Management Of Prostate Cancer
One study found that men who ingested an adequate amount of boron had lower chances of developing prostate cancer than men who did not consume enough boron. The mineral has been shown to block the activity of serine protease enzymes, including the prostate-specific antigen (PSA).
High amounts of prostate-specific antigen increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. PSA may also enable prostate cancer to invade other healthy tissues by breaking down cellular barriers. Animal studies have shown that supplementation of boron may help reduce the tumor size by 38 percent. The mineral may also reduce the levels of prostate-specific antigen by 89 percent.
7. Boric Acid Treats Yeast Infection
Boric acid has been popularly used in the management of infections caused by yeasts. Its powder form can be applied to kill yeast invasion and prevent the development of infections. The mineral is commonly used as a treatment for vaginal yeast infections.
Risks And Side Effects Of Using Boron
Boron is considered to be safe in adults and children when it is used in doses that are below the upper tolerable limit. There is a concern by some people that when boron is used beyond the recommended dose, it may lead to infertility. However, more studies need to be conducted to confirm the adverse effect.
Boric acid is safe when it used vaginally for a six-month period. However, regular use of boric acid in the vagina may cause vaginal burning.
According to WebMD, boron is not safe to both children and adults when it is administered in the wrong way. High amounts of the mineral may poison the patient. Boron poisoning presents with symptoms such as skin peeling and inflammation.
The patient may also complain of fatigue, irritability, weakness, tremors, and convulsions. Other symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and headaches, among other symptoms.
Boric acid powder should not be applied in large quantities when used to prevent diaper rash. The powder may lead to other skin conditions such as irritability, skin itching, and even peeling of the skin.
Top Products Containing Boron Health Benefits
Life Extension Boron
As already mentioned, boron is an essential nutrient for an optimal metabolism of calcium. It also promotes healthy joints and bones. Life Extension Boron is produced by Life Extension. It is formulated as capsules. It also has other ingredients including vitamin B2, vegetable cellulose, and microcrystalline cellulose. The product has an overall rating of 4.2 stars out of a possible 5 stars. It is sold at $7.04.
Angstrom Boron Liquid Ionic Boron Supplement
The product by Angstrom Mineral is a natural mineral product that is appropriate for both vegetarians and vegans. The product promotes healthy bones and hormonal balance in the body. It has an overall rating of 5 out of a possible 5 stars on Amazon.
NOW Foods Boron
The product is manufactured by NOW Foods. It is packaged in a bottle containing 250 capsules. Its serving size is one capsule. It has an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of a possible 5 stars. It is sold at $9.39.
Boron Health Benefits Conclusion
Boron is recognized worldwide as safe for consumption in both humans and animals. Farmers have also treated their soil with high levels of the trace element and administered the mineral to their livestock to prevent risks associated with radiation in the environment.
Boron toxicity may not arise from taking high amounts of food rich in the mineral. However, an overdose of its supplements causes side effects and even boron poisoning.