Boron in a nutshell:
Boron is used in tiny amounts for a whole range of functions, interacting with vitamins (and DNA), slowing down recycling and elimination of important substances. Boron can help prevent calcium loss in the bones, so it has been used to treat osteoarthritis (but consult your doctor before taking supplements). It is probably also very important for the immune system.
Best source of boron for Juicers
Boron is widely available in fruits and vegetables, but it is required in such tiny amounts (and most of what we absorb is excreted anyway) that we don’t recommend any special juicing plan for this mineral.
Boron is a chemical element better known as the major component of a laundry soap known as “20 Mule Team Borax” and a hand soap known as “Boraxo” than it is known as a trace element in human nutrition. Tiny amounts of boron, however, seem to be beneficial for human health.
Alternative names: Boron; borate; borax.
What Is Boron?
Boron is a chemical element classified as a metalloid. It can form crystals, like a non-metal, but it can also react with certain oxidizing agents, like a metal salt. Boron is unaffected by strong acids, such as hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid, but it reacts with certain sources of free radicals, such as hydrogen peroxide. Boron compounds are essential for the growth of some plants, toxic to some insects, and of possible nutritional benefit to humans.
What Does Boron Do in the Human Body?
The human body typically excretes almost 100% of the 3 to 10 mg of boron most of us absorb from food every day. Tiny amounts of boron, just millionths of a gram, nonetheless seem to be important in human health.
Boron forms chemical complexes with dehydroascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C. It also forms chemical complexes with riboflavin (vitamin B2), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and two of the bases that form DNA.
Boron also seems to help regulate the immune system. It prevents the production of bursts of free radicals that empower white blood cells known as neutrophils to release inflammatory chemicals, and it slows the production of inflammatory chemicals known as leukotrienes.
Is There an RDA or RDI for Boron?
Probably because we receive many hundreds of times more boron in our diets than our bodies need, there are no boron deficiency diseases and there is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) or recommended dietary intake (RDI) for boron. Boron supplements, however, may support recovery from certain diseases.
Using Boron to Support Recovery from Disease
The best evidence for the use of boron to support recovery from disease is for osteoarthritis. One study found that taking 6 to 9 mg of boron supplements a day eased the symptoms of juvenile arthritis, and another study found that 6 mg of boron a day helps relieve pain and stiffness in adult osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis). In rheumatoid arthritis, boron supplements actually make the condition worse the first few weeks, but then helps with symptoms after about a month of taking 6 mg a day.
Boron deprivation leads to calcium leaching out of bones, and boron supplementation helps bones build the collagen that holds the mineral crystals of the bone together, at least in animal studies in the lab. Boron also seems to extend the beneficial effects of estrogen on building bone.
Lower levels of boron have been associated with the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones (the kind of stones that made worse by eating a lot of spinach and better by drinking a lot of lemonade), and higher levels of boron have been associated with better long-term memory, short-term memory, manual dexterity, and eye-hand coordination.
Women contemplating taking estrogen replacement therapy or testosterone patches for sexual dysfunction should try taking boron supplements first. In one study, taking 3.25 mg of boron per day increased estrogen levels by 50% and doubled testosterone. Boron is thought to prevent the breakdown of existing hormones, without stimulating the production of additional hormones.
Is There a Downside to Taking Boron Supplements?
Boron supplements are inexpensive. They can be taken in small doses. By and large they do not cause any side effects.
The only way nutritional supplement users might encounter problems with boron is by taking more than 3000 mg of boron per day. That's 300 to 500 times the recommended dosage. One child died after consuming 1000 mg of boron in a single dose. That's equivalent to swallowing an entire bottle of supplement capsules.
A single overdose of boron will cause blue-green diarrhea. Continuously taking too much boron (over 100 mg a day) may cause hair loss, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, muscle weakness, and anemia.
Keep boron supplements out of the reach of children. Children under the age of 6 should not be given boron supplements. Don't bother to take more than 9 mg of boron per day. Your body will just excrete the excess into your urine. Allow three weeks for changes in symptoms to be observed.