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5 Powerful Boron Benefits

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 05/02/2024

Boron is a trace mineral found in fertile soil and absorbed by plant foods that humans consume. 

This micronutrient is vital for regulating metabolic processes and has been linked to various health benefits, including bone health, hormone balance, and brain function.  

Discover five incredible boron benefits, and learn how to incorporate this trace mineral into your diet.

Boron crystal

What is boron?

Boron is a trace mineral found in soil, similar to copper, iron, zinc, and manganese. 

The boron in plant foods occurs mainly in boric acid form, which is essential for plant growth, seed formation, and pollination.

In addition to promoting the development of plants, boron also has been found to have profound health benefits for humans. 

Boron is classified as a micronutrient, meaning only a small amount is needed to support human health, though it hasn’t been determined if boron is an essential nutrient. 

Despite little being known about boron’s biological purpose in humans, 80 to 90 percent of boron is absorbed by the intestines, and adequate boron levels are associated with healthy bone formation and hormonal balance. 

Watch the video below to learn why boron deficiency is a widespread issue. 

Benefits of Boron, One of the Most Deficient Trace Minerals

5 benefits of boron

It is believed that boron plays a role in bone formation, reproductive processes, and may help lower the risk of health conditions linked to chronic inflammation. 

Here are five incredible benefits of boron. 

1. Promotes bone health

Boron may reduce the risk of bone-related diseases and deformities by supporting bone strength and calcium metabolism, which are vital for developing and maintaining healthy bones. 

A study published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology confirms the benefits of boron for skeletal health and suggests that boron supplementation enhances bone formation. 

In addition, researchers found that boron deficiency resulted in decreased bone strength, abnormal limb development, and slow growth plate maturation, which impacted bone growth.

2. Supports hormone balance

Data published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that boron supplementation balances estradiol and testosterone levels in postmenopausal women. This may help relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and mood changes. 

This research also found that boron reduces excessive urinary calcium excretion, which is common in postmenopausal women and linked to an increased risk of kidney stones. 

Woman with arthritis

3. May improve arthritis

Cartilage is a type of connective tissue that prevents bones from grinding together. Arthritis is a result of cartilage breakdown, leading to joint pain and inflammation.

Boron may help manage arthritis symptoms by supporting calcium integration into the joints, which helps protect against cartridge deterioration. 

Research published in Environmental Health Perspectives found, "Areas of the world with low boron intakes have a significantly higher incidence of arthritis compared to regions with generally higher boron consumption.”

4. Enhances vitamin D absorption

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, immune defenses, brain and emotional health, and inflammation regulation. 

Studies suggest that boron promotes the bioavailability of vitamin D, allowing it to stay in the body for longer and enhancing its effectiveness. 

In addition, a study published in Integrative Medicine found that boron supplementation helps increase vitamin D3 status in vitamin D-deficient individuals. 

5. Promotes brain function 

Lack of adequate boron has been linked to impaired cognition and poor information retention. 

Studies suggest that boron may play a role in mineral metabolism and cell membrane function, which help protect the brain from degeneration. 

Research published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that low boron intake reduced hand-eye coordination, attention, and short-term and long-term memory. In addition, the authors stated that those who received boron supplementation saw significant improvements in various psychomotor skills and memory tests.   

Forgetful woman

Symptoms of boron deficiency

Symptoms of insufficient boron haven’t been well established. However, animal studies have linked boron deficiency to abnormal bone growth and weakness. 

Some data suggest low boron intake can also impair brain function, alertness, and memory. 

Boron deficiency may also increase the risk of vitamin D deficiency, which is linked to various health issues, including bone pain, muscle weakness, fatigue, and depression. 

Additionally, a low boron diet may contribute to excessive urinary calcium excretion, which increases the risk of kidney stones, especially in postmenopausal women.  

What causes boron deficiency?

Boron deficiency in humans is linked to inadequate consumption of boron-containing whole foods. Even a plant-rich diet can lead to boron deficiency due to mineral-depleted soils. 

“Boron is a trace mineral, and if it’s not in the soil, it can’t be absorbed by plants, increasing the risk of widespread deficiency,” explains Dr. Berg. 

Soil degradation is the most common cause of boron deficiency and is generally associated with conventional farming and soil cultivation practices. 

These practices involve growing large amounts of single-crop produce without replacing the nutrients and microdiversity after harvest, which leads to soils depleted of nutrients, including boron.

Bowl with a variety of nuts

Best sources of boron

Boron is found in various plant foods, including vegetables, nuts, and certain fruits. 

Additionally, boron can be found in small amounts of animal protein, including beef, chicken, turkey, and dairy products. 

Here are some of the best boron-rich foods:

  • Avocados

  • Peanuts

  • Broccoli

  • Lettuce

  • Carrots

  • Almonds

  • Hazelnuts

  • Chickpeas

Organically grown produce contains higher levels of nutrients than conventionally harvested options, making them superior sources of boron. 

According to a study published in Alternative Medicine Review, organic foods have significantly higher levels of various nutrients and antioxidants, which are needed to maintain general health and well-being.

Researchers also found lower levels of pesticide residues in organic produce, which are linked to cancer, hormonal imbalance, and other health risks.

Boron supplement

How much boron should you take?

Most people can get boron from food, especially those consuming large volumes of high-quality, organic produce. 

There is limited data on boron’s biological function in the body and no consensus on the dietary reference intake recommendation. 

However, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine (FNB), which establishes guidelines for good nutrition, has set upper intake levels for boron.

These upper limits are the maximum recommended dosages that aren’t expected to induce adverse effects.

According to the FNB, these are the upper limits for boron based on age:

  • 1 to 3 years: 3 milligrams (mg)/day

  • 4 to 8 years: 6 mg/day

  • 9 to 13 years: 11 mg/day

  • 14 to 18 years: 17 mg/day

  • 19+ years: 20 mg/day

Safety data on boron has not been established for infants younger than one year. 

To reduce the risk of unwanted side effects, it’s important to follow the instructions of the boron supplement you plan to use.

Pills in hand

Possible downsides of boron supplementation

Infants shouldn’t be given boron, except through breast milk, formula, or food, as there is no safety data in children younger than one. 

The most common instances of boron toxicity were reported in children younger than six ingesting boron-containing cleaning substances, leading to vomiting, convulsions, and cardiovascular issues.  

Though boron toxicity in adults is rare, large doses can cause headaches, restlessness, and fatigue. High boron levels from supplementation have also been linked to nausea, rashes, gastrointestinal discomfort, and alopecia in extreme cases. 

Boron supplements can increase estrogen levels and aren’t recommended for those with hormone-related diseases, including breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. 

To minimize the risk of adverse health effects, it’s vital to consult your healthcare provider before introducing new supplements into your routine. 

Fertilized soil

Key takeaways

Boron is a trace mineral found in fertile soil that is absorbed by plants. This makes whole foods such as broccoli, carrots, lettuce, and almonds rich sources of this micronutrient.

Studies show that boron benefits bone formation, hormone balance, and cognitive functions and may lower the risk of arthritis and chronic inflammation. 


FAQ

1. Should you take boron every day?

Boron supplementation is generally considered safe for adults in doses of up to 20 milligrams per day and is associated with healthy bones, increased vitamin D absorption, and hormone regulation. 

However, high dietary boron intake can lead to headaches, indigestion, nausea, and fatigue.

2. What are the side effects of too much boron?

The tolerable upper intake level of boron is set at 20 milligrams per day for adults 19 or older. 

Too much boron can lead to unwanted side effects, including headaches, nausea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal discomfort. Severe side effects can include alopecia, skin rashes, and depression.

3. Does boron increase estrogen or testosterone?

Yes, boron has been shown to increase estrogen and testosterone levels in both men and women. 

Studies of postmenopausal women found that boron supplementation may help balance hormone levels, which can relieve symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings.

4. What foods are highest in boron?

Boron naturally occurs in soil and is absorbed by plants such as avocados, broccoli, lettuce, carrots, peanuts, almonds, and hazelnuts. 

Additionally, small amounts of boron can be found in meat and dairy products, such as beef and heavy cream.

5. What are the symptoms of boron deficiency?

Common symptoms of boron deficiency include poor cognitive function and bone weakness. In addition, insufficient boron may increase the risk of vitamin D deficiency and arthritis.

6. Who should not take boron?

Those who have hormone-related conditions should avoid boron supplements. Boron has been shown to increase estrogen, which may negatively affect those with certain cancers, including breast, prostate, and ovarian cancer. 

Additionally, there’s no safety data on boron supplementation in infants younger than one year. 


Sources

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19486829/ 

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1566640/ 

  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7889887/ 

  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4712861/ 

  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7889884/ 

  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20359265/ 

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