Boron: Bursitis, Bones, Brain and Other Benefits
We might think we are getting all of our necessary nutrients and micronutrients from the foods we eat. However, our soil has been changing over time, resulting in a reduction in nutrients. With increased population in the twentieth century, food systems have focused more on quantity and less on quality. Increased production has helped to feed the masses but has resulted in increased micronutrient malnutrition. According to research by the U.S. Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory at Cornell University, 40% of our global population is affected by micronutrient malnutrition.
Boron is one of those micronutrients. It’s found in leafy green vegetables like spinach and also in fruits, such as raisins and prunes as well as nuts. Boron deficiency is growing, however, due to the lack of its density in soil and therefore, lack of nutrients in our food. Boron deficiency is more prevalent in areas that receive a lot of rainfall as well as irrigated sandy soils and those with low organic matter content.
So, why is boron so important? It appears to impact multiple bodily systems and serve as a catalyst for many functions. Without ample amounts of boron and other nutrients, the body doesn’t function properly.
Here are just 6 of the multiple benefits of supplementing with boron:
Boron Helps with Arthritis
Studies have shown that boron can help with symptoms of arthritis. Observational studies point to a correlation between arthritis and the amount of boron content in soil of a particular geographic region. Places with higher boron content in their soil are associated with fewer people with arthritis. In areas where daily boron intakes were typically ≤1.0 mg, the estimated incidence of arthritis ranged from 20% to 70%. In areas where daily boron intakes ranged from 3 to >10 mg, the estimated incidence of arthritis ranged from 0% to 10%. The same occurrences can be applied to animals. Dogs, horses and cattle given 3 mg of boron for ever 25 kg of body weight showed improvement of arthritic symptoms within 2-4 weeks.
In a double-blind Australian study of 20 patients with osteoarthritis, one group was given a placebo while the other 6 mg of boron daily for 8 weeks. The boron arm of the study showed symptom improvement whereas the placebo group did not. By week 8, 80% of the participants in the boron arm of the study had reduced or eliminated their use of painkillers. Joint rigidity nearly disappeared and mobility markedly improved.
Other studies focused on boron’s impact on rheumatoid arthritis shows that patients with RA had lower concentrations of boron in their bones and synovial fluid compared to healthy patients.
Boron Supports Bone Health
Boron helps your body metabolize key vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, calcium and vitamin D, which all play a huge role on skeletal health. If your body doesn’t get enough boron, magnesium cannot be fully absorbed. Without magnesium, vitamin D cannot be properly absorbed and utilized. Calcium excretion through urine also will increase, meaning that the calcium is not going to your bones and teeth where it’s needed. This can be very bad news for your bones. The good news is that proper supplementation with boron can reverse these issues within a month.
In fact, 3 mg of boron a day was able to reduce calcium loss by 44% in a study of women with adequate magnesium levels, and this occurred in just 28 days. Those with low levels of magnesium in the study also had a reduction of calcium loss, however, it was half as much as those with adequate magnesium levels in the study. This shows the close connection that boron has with magnesium and calcium, which also influences vitamin D, and therefore impacts multiple systems.
Boron Boosts Your Brain
Boron may also be instrumental in brain function. Studies demonstrate that there is a link between a low-boron diet and decreased brain activity. This can occur even in short ranges of time, such as weeks. Low levels of boron lower brain activity compared to higher boron intake.
In a study on the relationship between boron and cognitive health, participants were measured based on cognitive tasks involving short term memory retention, attention and perception as well as physical tasks involving manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Participants on a low boron diet performed poorer on these tasks than those on a higher boron diet.
Additional studies have shown that 3.25 mg of boron supplementation daily improves cognitive function and may help improve memory and hand-eye coordination.
Boron Helps with Nutrient Absorption
Boron extends the half life of vitamin D and estrogen, which can play a huge role on bone health as well as cardiovascular health and more.
It’s not certain how boron does this, but what scientists do know is that vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium which helps keep bones strong. By assisting vitamin D’s utility and extending its power in your bloodstream, boron works with vitamin D to build and maintain healthy bones.
Boron also helps increase vitamin D levels, according to research. Supplementing with boron in addition to vitamin D increased vitamin D production by 39% within 2 months.
Interestingly, there is a link between low levels of vitamin D and low levels of boron in that one doesn’t seem to exist without the other. If you’re low is vitamin D, chances are, you’re also low in boron, so it’s a safe bet that you need to add some boron in your life. The same goes for low boron levels--you’ll likely find that your vitamin D is low, as well. You may have a greater chance of increasing your vitamin D levels by supplementing with both as well as magnesium.
But there’s more. . .Boron also increases magnesium’s ability to be absorbed more efficiently by your body. Due to our soil not being as nutrient dense as it once was, even consuming high magnesium foods may not be enough magnesium to take on the challenges our bodies face daily with properly absorbing nutrients and detoxifying the system. Supplementation with highly bioavailable forms of magnesium are essential for proper utility of vitamin D, which are enhanced with the presence of boron.
Boron Supports Male Sexual Health
Can you believe it? Boron may even help some men below the belt! Studies show that 6-10 mg of boron supplementation a day for as little as a WEEK may help increase testosterone metabolism and increase free testosterone by as much at 25%, which can be a huge help for those with erectile dysfunction. It also reduces estradiol by nearly half. What this means is that boron can improve outcomes for those with erectile dysfunction that is caused by low testosterone and/or estrogen dominance.
Boron Is Anti-Inflammatory
Many studies support boron’s ability to reduce inflammatory markers, such as hs-CRP. What’s miraculous is how quickly this occurs. With 11.6 mg of boron supplementation, hs-CRP plasma concentrations were reduced by 50% in one week. Inflammatory markers were reduced, however, within six hours after supplementation.
Why is this important? Inflammation is thought to be at the root cause of serious diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and neurological diseases. Reducing hs-CRP levels through boron supplementation may be a key player in prevention of chronic diseases.
The Dosing Discussion
The food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has set an upper limit of 20 mg per day for adults over age 18 and suggests a beneficial recommendation of 3 mg of boron or higher, but not to exceed 20 mg.
Evidence, however, suggests that doses higher than 20 mg may be of benefit for many people without risk of toxicity. In Turkey, for example, high boron content in soil and water that exceeds 20 mg per day correlates with a considerably low population of people with arthritis. It’s nearly non existent in Turkey.
Safety analysis on the toxicity of boron doesn’t reveal much. In fact, statistics prove it is less toxic than salt per volume. In other words, there is no collection of scientific studies supporting claims of therapeutic doses of boron in excess of 20 mg being toxic. The population in Turkey, for example, which is exposed to approximately 30 mg of boron a day, has not demonstrated adverse effects or impacts on fertility as observed over three generations.
Our Bio Boron will launch soon and be available in three strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg and 30 mg. When beginning boron supplementation, it is important to begin “low and slow” and increase the amount you are taking over time, as your body allows. Initially, people may experience detox symptoms from beginning boron supplementation, but this is temporary. Simply reduce the amount you are taking and slowly increase as your body allows.
Most people will find benefits of boron supplementation at the 5 mg strength. Our therapeutic dose is reserved for those who have reached this level “low and slow” and are requiring additional amounts of boron due to specific chronic health issues and nutrient deficiencies.