Boron has a lot of health benefits. It is known to balance certain hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. Boron is also good for fertility and helps improve the functioning of the brain leading to the development of motor skills, better memory, and grasping power.
Another health benefit from boron would include the maintenance of a strong skeletal structure by adding up to the bone density, which helps in the prevention of osteoporosis. It also is known to help in the treatment of other medical conditions such as arthritis along with showing significant improvements in the muscle mass and muscle strength.
This trace mineral is used by many athletes and bodybuilders since it is believed that boron helps to increase the body’s capacity to produce and use testosterone. Boron helps to recover from any exercises, builds muscle mass, reduces the occurrence of pain and body aches, and maintains strong bones. Apart from these benefits, boron is known to improve the functions of the brain since it promotes concentration, focus, and ability of the individual to learn and grasp new data and information.
Where do we get boron from?
Boron can be naturally found in various whole food items such as nuts, beans, avocados, and whole grains. It can also be found in fresh fruits such as grapes, plums, berries, and oranges. Most of the boron in our body is taken from the diet itself, but one can also find traces of boron in water to some degree.
The type of boron, which we basically obtain from food is mainly boric acid, which is naturally found only in plants. According to studies, it is said that boron works by stabilizing the molecules within the plants, which would also include polysaccharides and sterols. However, there is still no proven explanation on how boron exactly works for both plants and humans.
One of the theories suggests that boron helps in maintaining the pH levels along with assisting the body in handling other types of minerals such as magnesium, phosphorous, and calcium. It does so by producing the required digestive enzymes.
Boron is also known for increasing the levels of estrogen in the body for both men and women. Hence, it is one of the reasons why boron is linked to having strong bones and age-related medical conditions such as arthritis.
Boron is considered to be important for the prevention of the following conditions:
- Poor brain development leading to memory problems
- Pain due to arthritis
- Weakening of the bones or osteoporosis
- Muscle weakness
- Eye infections
- Worsening of PMS and menopausal symptoms
- Yeast or Candida infections
- Signs of skin aging
Deficiency of Boron
Some of the symptoms of boron deficiency may include damage to the nerves, osteoporosis, hyperthyroidism, hormonal imbalance, and arthritis. The presence of boron is quite important in our body and it should become a serious cause for concern for individuals who do not take the necessary requirement of boron per day. One should not forget to include foods that are a good source of boron in their everyday meals to keep their body strong and healthy.
Sources of Boron
There are certain foods that are a good source of boron and can be included in the daily diet. They include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Beans such as mung, lima, and chickpeas
- Prunes or plums
- Raw milk
- Peanut butter
Boron's Health Benefits
1. Prevention of Arthritis
Boron is known to play an important role in the integration of calcium into the cartilage of the joints. This, in turn, helps to prevent detoriation of the joints and also provides relief from the pain caused by arthritis. Studies reveal that individuals with a low concentration of boron in their bones have an increased risk of getting arthritis than those with higher concentrations.
According to research, the bones of those individuals who have been taking boron supplements are harder to cut than those who do not take boron supplements. Moreover, there are higher reported cases of arthritis in areas where boron intake has been found low than in regions where boron intake is higher.
2. Improves Brain Function and Concentration
Individuals who have low levels of boron mostly have trouble concentrating and mental sluggishness. Those individuals also have trouble learning new information with poor cognitive development. In a lot of cases, boron is also considered as a brain nutrient since it helps with better task performance, increases attention span, improves short-term memory, and enhances motor control skills.
3. Enhances Bone Strength
Boron helps promote calcium, which is needed to prevent bone loss. Calcium is known to be the main mineral, which is very much involved and required for bone mineralization. It also prevents cases of the bone becoming porous and weak. Since one of the roles of boron is to regulate the function of estrogen, it also helps protect the development of bones.
Studies reveal that boron helps the body to produce as well as use vitamin D in a better way. It is one of the crucial nutrients for the healthy maintenance of bone formation. It is also essential for cognitive processes and better functioning of the immune system.
4. Helps in Hormonal Balance
Boron is known to balance the levels of sex hormones in both men and women. It would include hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. Boron is also known to provide relief from symptoms of menopause and PMS. It is also known to increase fertility.
In certain animal studies conducted, the depletion of boron was linked to problems related to fertility and birth defects. This leads to the conclusion that boron plays a vital role in the development of the fetus and healthy reproduction.
5. Boosts Healthy Muscle Mass
When the boron levels in the body are higher, certain kinds of minerals and vitamins get readily absorbed by the body. This absorption becomes very important for building the muscles, preventing any kind of pain due to muscle tissue tears after exercise, and burning fat in a healthy way.
Since boron is linked to causing an increase in the levels of healthy testosterone, this, in turn, leads to higher levels of energy as well as gaining strength quickly. A few studies also suggest that the other uses of boron can include boosting the performance of athletes since it helps the brain to think fast and react in a better manner along with proper hand-eye coordination. Thus, some athletes take boron in the form of protein powders and supplements for better results.
6. Treatment and Prevention of Yeast Infections
In the case of women with yeast infections, boron is found to be an active ingredient in their medications. Boron, in the form of boric acid, is also used as a natural alternative in comparison to over-the-counter medications or creams available for the treatment of yeast infections.
Boric acid is considered safe to use when it is inserted into the vagina. It speeds up the process of healing the infection without causing any side effects. As compared to over-the-counter drugs or prescription creams, boron is considered safer without any unwanted side effects. It is also very cheap compared to other medications. It is an effective and natural method when it comes to controlling vaginal infections compared to messy vaginal creams.
7. Helps Fight Diabetes
Certain research studies were carried out in animals and have shown that boron can increase the physiological effects that are linked to diabetes. Those effects would include certain changes in the sugar levels and the concentration of triglycerides. Boron is known to help in the metabolism of carbohydrates along with the production of insulin from the pancreas, which help control and stabilize blood sugar levels.
8. Reduces the Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
One of the main benefits of boron is that it helps reduce inflammation and allergic conditions, which are all linked to arthritis. Hence, those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis should include foods rich in boron in their diet to relieve its symptoms.
9. Cancer Therapy
During cancer therapy, boron is considered to be a very useful mineral. This mineral is known to be used in the development of enzyme inhibitors. The boron compound is also known to mimic the antibodies, thereby easily identifying essential saccharides.
10. Blood Clot Prevention
Boron and blood clotting problems are linked to each other. Individuals who are suffering from a boron deficiency usually complain of blood clotting issues. However, there is further research still required about the exact relationship of boron and blood clotting in the body. This research is considered to be very important since several cases of heart diseases are due to blood clotting problems.
Concerns When Taking Boron
Boron is considered safe for consumption in both humans and animals. When it comes to farming, even farmers treat their soil with high levels of boron. They also provide boron supplements to their livestock to reduce the effect of radiation on the environment.
Boron also has its industrial uses, wherein it has the capability to capture radioactivity within the soils and ionizing it, which reduces the potential risk of getting cancer. However, similar to other nutrients, higher levels of boron can also have their own harmful effects. Boron toxicity is not a risk while consuming it through food. But when it comes to supplements, taking higher doses of boron may lead to dangerous side effects such as nausea, skin problems, vomiting, increased heartbeat, depression, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Taking too much boron supplements is also considered harmful to those individuals who have hormonal conditions such as uterine fibroids, breast cancer, endometriosis, and prostate cancer. Individuals who are already suffering from liver and kidney damage should also speak to their doctor before starting on boron supplements since it can lead to potential damage. It can also lead to an alteration in the way the body gets rid of the excess minerals including boron. Thus, it is always the best option to get boron similar to other vitamins and minerals from whole foods as much as possible instead of opting for supplements. But the question arises on how much of boron is necessary for the body and how much would be lethal. Below are the recommended daily dosages of boron:
- 1-3 years old: 3 mg per day
- 4-8 years old: 6 mg per day
- 9-13 years old: 11 mg per day
- 14-18 years old: 18 mg per day
- 19-50 years old: 20 mg per day
- Nursing mothers: 20 mg to 25 mg per day
- Pregnant women: 18 mg to 20 mg per day
As a matter of fact, it is always best to check with the doctor before taking any kind of supplements. Doctors are the ones who would better assess if individuals really need supplementation. Taking supplements also depend on age, gender, medical condition, and certain medications being taken.
Make sure that you do not increase the dosage without your doctor's recommendation to prevent having harmful side effects. Aside from boron supplements, you can consume foods that are rich in boron to get the maximum benefit.