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Boron

Red Arrow  Facts Red Arrow  Functions
Red Arrow  Requirements & Recommendations Red Arrow  Deficiency signs and symptoms
Red Arrow  Toxicity Red Arrow  Dietary Sources
Red Arrow  Populations w/ Special Needs Red Arrow  Drug-Mineral Interaction
Red Arrow  Research Summary

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Facts

  • Boron is a trace mineral found primarily in plant foods and necessary for plant growth.
  • The biochemistry of boron in the body is that of boric acid. Boric acid forms complexes with organic compounds, such as carbohydrates and nucleotides.
  • The kidney is the site where homeostatic regulation of boron takes place.1
  • Studies suggest that boron is very efficiently absorbed and the urinary concentration of boron is a strong indicator of boron intake.2
  • Boron may be involved in a number of clinical conditions, such as arthritis.
  • The average intake of boron in the American diet is between 0.5 to 3 mg daily. It has been established that boron intakes in the elderly are lower.3


  • Functions

    • Although the biochemical mechanism of boron is not yet known, it does increase steroid hormones such as the sex hormone and vitamin D.
    • Boron plays a role in cell membrane functions that influence response to hormone action, trans-membrane signaling, and trans-membrane movement of regulatory ions.
    • Boron also has a role as a metabolic regulator in several enzyme systems. It is involved in reactive oxygen species mechanisms as well as synthesis of RNA.
    • Boron indirectly influences calcium homeostasis, probably through vitamin D metabolism.


  • Requirements & Recommendations

    Boron: Dietary Reference Intake:7
    mg/day Tolerable
    Upper Intake Levels
    (UL)
    Infants
    0 to 6 months
    7 to 12 months
    *
    *
    ND**
    ND**
    Children
    1 to 3 years
    4 to 8 years
    *
    *
    3
    6
    Males
    9 to 13 years
    14 to 18 years
    19+ years
    *
    *
    *
    11
    17
    20
    Males
    9 to 13 years
    14 to 18 years
    19+ years
    *
    *
    *
    11
    17
    20
    Pregnancy
    <=18 years
    19 to 50 years
    *
    *
    17
    20
    Lactation
    <=18 years
    19 to 50 years
    *
    *
    17
    20


    * Not enough data exist to determine recommended intake, therefore new Dietary Reference Intakes were not established.
    ** Not determinable due to lack of data of adverse effects in this age group and concern with regard to lack of ability to handle excess amounts.


  • Deficiency signs and symptoms

    • Some signs of boron deficiency noted in the literature are depressed growth and reduction in steroid hormone concentrations.4
    • Because boron plays a role in bone metabolism, boron deficiency may be associated with an increased risk for bone loss. An inadequate intake of boron leads to increased urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium, and lower serum concentrations of estrogen and testosterone.5 6


  • Toxicity

    • There have been no reports of adverse reactions in adults taking up to 18 mg of boron daily over prolonged periods. 3
    • No adverse effects have been observed in premenopausal or postmenopausal women using boron supplements. 3


  • Dietary Sources

    Fruits and vegetables are the main dietary sources of boron. However, the concentration of boron in plants depends on adequate concentrations of boron in the soil. 6 Other good dietary sources of boron are legumes, pulses, and nuts. A vegetarian diet is thought to be higher in boron than the typical American diet. 3


  • Populations w/ Special Needs

    Since boron seems to play a role in bone metabolism, particularly with vitamin D and estrogen, postmenopausal women would benefit from adequate intakes of boron to aid in the prevention of osteoporosis.


  • Drug-Mineral Interaction

    • No health hazards or side effects are known.
    • Caution with pregnancy or nursing, consult physician before using.
    Information on the relationship between substances and disease is provided for general information, in order to convey a balanced review of the scientific literature. In many cases the relationship between a substance and a disease is tentative and additional research is needed to confirm such a relationship.9 10 11


  • Research Summary

    Bone Health/Osteoporosis: Some research has suggested that boron interacts with key vitamins and minerals (vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium) that play a role in bone metabolism.
    • One study on the effects of 3 mg of supplemental boron on blood and urinary minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus) in athletic and sedentary subjects over 10 months, found that boron only significantly affected blood phosphorus concentrations, which were lower in the boron-supplemented group. 13 However, since boron did not significantly change calcium and magnesium concentrations and since high phosphorus concentrations can contribute to osteoporosis, supplemental boron may have a positive protective effect on bones.
    • The influence of dietary boron on urinary calcium loss seems to depend on magnesium nutriture. In a double blind experimental study, postmenopausal women were given either supplemental boron (3 mg/d), magnesium (Mg) (200 mg/d), and/or aluminum (1000 mg/d). In women who were not taking supplemental magnesium with a boron basal diet (supplemented with 200 mg of Mg), a lower amount of dietary calcium was lost in the urine compared to those taking supplemental boron and magnesium. 5 The variance in urinary calcium excretion as a function of boron and magnesium nutriture suggests a close interrelation among boron, calcium and magnesium—three key nutrients that affect calcium balance in the body.

    Arthritis: Although somewhat inconclusive, boron may play a role in joint health. Previously, there has been numerous observational and controlled animal and controlled human experiments suggesting boron is a safe and effective treatment for some forms of arthritis.10
    • In one randomized double-blind controlled trial on 20 subjects with osteoarthritis taking a boron supplement or placebo, 50% of the subjects responded favorably to 6 mg of boron daily versus 10% of subjects receiving placebo. 14
    • A review article examined alternative treatments for arthritis and concluded that some natural substances, such as glucosamine and boron, have been shown to be as effective as the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs at relieving symptoms of osteoarthritis. 15

    Cognitive function: Research from the USDA Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota recognized a functional role of boron in psychological function and cognitive performance. Results from various studies indicate that boron deprivation in both animals and humans results in decreased brain electrical activity, as well as poorer performance on tasks of motor speed and dexterity, attention, and short-term memory. 16




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