Building Strong Bones With Boron

Boron is a trace mineral that is critical to your health. It affects a broad range of biological processes involving macro-minerals, energy molecules such as glucose and triglycerides, amino acids and proteins, free radicals, bone mineralization, prostate health, mental function, estrogen metabolism, and numerous body systems.

Boron can:

  • Build strong bonesOne of the first recognized roles of boron in human nutrition was its contribution to promoting and maintaining good bone mineralization. The combination of boron, vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium in adequate amounts act synergistically to maintain good bone mineralization. Dietary boron has a similar effect as supplementation with estrogen in humans, because boron is necessary for the formation of specific steroid hormones. Postmenopausal women consuming 3 milligrams per day of boron for 7 weeks increased their estrogen (estradiol) and testosterone levels, and significantly increased calcium retentionBoron helps convert estrogen and vitamin D to their most active forms (17-beta-estradiol and 1,25-(OH)2D3 respectively). Estrogen levels drop after menopause causing osteoclasts to become more sensitive to parathyroid hormone, which signals them to break down bone. Boron provides protection against osteoporosis and reproduces many of the positive effects of estrogen therapy in postmenopausal women.
  • Prevent osteoarthritis: In areas around the world where boron intake is low, the incidence of arthritis is much higher than in areas where boron intake is high. Osteoarthritis patients on boron supplements reported less pain from movement. Bones adjacent to joints with osteoarthritis tend to be less mineralized and have significantly lower concentrations of boron than do healthy bones. Again, it is boron’s ability to help form steroid hormones that explains its effect on arthritis. Boron can combine with hydroxyl groups and form corticosteroids, which alleviate symptoms of arthritis. In addition, boron plays a role in regulating serum antibody levels and inhibiting T-cell activity associated with arthritis.
  • Prevent prostate cancer: Men who consume the greatest amount of boron are 64% less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who consumed the least boron. Boron compounds inhibit the activity of many serine protease enzymes, including prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Elevated PSA may promote prostate cancer, and, by breaking down cellular barriers, PSA may enable prostate cancer cells to more readily invade healthy tissue. Men given boron experienced a significant increase in testosterone and a decrease in inflammatory markers.
  • Improve cognitive performance: People on a low-boron diet performed poorly in tests of manual dexterity, hand-to-eye coordination, attention, perception, and short- and long-term memory when compared to those on a high-boron diet. Inadequate boron intake can contribute to a lack of energy, ability to stay focused on tasks, and mental alertness. In another experiment, 92 percent of medical students taking boron demonstrated noticeably greater mental alertness and higher participation in class discussions. Electroencephalogram (EEG) tests have demonstrated that subjects taking boron supplements show increased activity in the areas of the brain associated with alertness when compared to subjects with inadequate boron intake.

The boron concentration of food varies widely based on the availability of boron in the soil that the food was grown in. Boron is water soluble and easily leached from the soil, so foods are often produced on soils that have sub-optimum boron levels. Boron is found in significant amounts in fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Some good sources include apples (42.5 micrograms/gram of dry weight), soy meal (28 ug/g), grapes, tomatoes, celery, almonds, broccoli, bananas, and wine. In the United States, estimated daily boron intake ranges from 0.5 mg to 3 mg, with 1 mg being average. Although there is no recommended dietary allowance for boron, evidence places the optimal daily boron intake at 2-3 mg or more daily. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level for boron set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine for boron has been established at 20 mg/day for adults over the age of 18 years.

Because boron is water soluble, the potential for toxicity is low. The small (usually 1-3 mg per day) amounts found in supplements have not been linked with toxicity. Supplements of 10 mg of boron per day have not produced any known adverse reactions. Taking too much boron (over 500 milligrams daily) or taking it for too long may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems, tightness in the throat or chest, chest pain, skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin. People with kidney disease may have difficulty eliminating boron, which could cause an unhealthy accumulation, so people with kidney disease should be under a doctor’s supervision when taking any mineral supplements including boron.

Food (100 g) Boron (mg)
Raisins

4.51

Almonds

2.82

Hazel Nuts

2.77

Apricots (dried)

2.11

Avocado

2.06

Peanut Butter

1.92

Brazil Nuts

1.72

Walnuts

1.63

Beans (red kidney)

1.40

Prunes

1.18

Cashews (raw)

1.15

Dates

1.08

Wine (Shiraz Cabernet)

0.86

Lentils

0.74

Chickpeas

0.71

Peaches

0.52

Celery

0.50

Grapes (red)

0.50

Honey

0.50

Olives

0.35

Apples (red)

0.32

Bran (wheat)

0.32

Pears

0.32

Broccoli

0.31

Carrots

0.30

Oranges

0.25

Onions

0.20

Potato

0.18

Banana

0.16


This blog uses the latest nutritional data available from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), and the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration), as well as nutritional data provided by food growers and manufacturers about their products. We believe the information on this blog to be accurate. However, we are not responsible for typographical or other errors. Nutrition information for recipes is calculated by Living Cookbook based on the ingredients in each recipe based on statistical averages. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

This blog is not a substitute for the services of a trained health professional. Although we provide nutritional information, the information on this blog is for informational purposes only. No information offered by or through this blog shall be construed as or understood to be medical advice or care. None of the information on this blog should be used to diagnose or treat any health problem or disease. Consult with a health care provider before taking any product or using any information on this blog. Please discuss any concerns with your health care provider.

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2 thoughts on “Building Strong Bones With Boron

  1. Pingback: Photosynthesizing Sufficient “Vitamin” D | Humane Living

  2. Pingback: Making Sense of Minerals | Humane Living

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