Food With Boron

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The importance of boron in our diet

Boron is a trace mineral that plays an important role in our bodies, but many people don’t get enough of it. Here’s how to make sure you’re getting enough boron in your diet and why you should try to do so.

What is boron?

Boron is a trace mineral found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. It may also be added to some foods and beverages as an ingredient or fortification. It’s not something you need to worry about getting from food on a daily basis—your body can store boron for up to three years at a time—but it does help keep your bones strong and healthy as well as protect your nervous system.

Why should I care about getting more?

Boron helps prevent osteoporosis by absorbing calcium into your bones, which makes them stronger and less likely to fracture when they are stressed. It also helps with digestion by increasing the amount of acid in your stomach (which helps break down food), so if you have a problem digesting certain types of food (like dairy), then this could be why it’s taking so long for those nutrients

Food With Boron

Boron is an element found naturally in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach. It can also be found in grains, prunes, raisins, noncitrus fruits, and nuts.

A person’s daily diet typically contains 1.5 to 3 milligrams (mg) of boron. The five most common sources of boron in a person’s daily diet are:

  • apples
  • coffee
  • dried beans
  • milk
  • potatoes

Boron helps your body metabolize key vitamins and minerals, has a key role in bone health, and it also affects estrogen and testosterone levels.

There’s no established dietary recommendation for boron in terms of daily value. A boron deficiency also hasn’t been proven to cause any diseases.

Boron and the brain

Small studies have indicated that boron may play a role in brain function. Early studies in the 1990s showed promise for human supplementation with boron.

For example, one 1994 study published in the journal Environmental Health PerspectivesTrusted Source found that people who added 3.25 mg of boron to their diets were better at memory and hand-eye coordination tasks than people with low boron levels.

These encouraging results didn’t spur a boron research boom.

Now boron-related research studies are mostly limited to those performed on laboratory rats. Although researchers know that boron plays a role in many human functions, its status as a minor mineral means there aren’t many recent human trials regarding boron’s benefits on the brain.

Bones and joints

Boron can aid in keeping your bones strong along with possibly improving brain function.

Boron is known to play a role in extending the half-life of vitamin D and estrogen.

The half-life is the amount of time it takes for a substance to break down to half its starting amount. Scientists aren’t exactly sure how boron does this. But it could be important for bone health in several ways.

First, vitamin D is essential for bone health because it enhances your body’s ability to absorb calcium. Calcium is a mineral responsible for making bones strong. Boron could help enhance bone health by increasing how long vitamin D works in your body.

According to an article in The Open Orthopaedics JournalTrusted Source, people with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to have low levels of boron. This shows that the two nutrients have a relationship in terms of their availability in the body.

Estrogen is another hormone that plays a role in bone health. It protects against bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis. This is a condition that can make bones weak and brittle in both men and women. By extending the amount of time estrogen is present in the body, boron may help to maintain healthy bones.

While boron supplements have been considered as a possible treatment for people with arthritis, more clinical evidence is needed to support this claim.

Are supplements safe?

When it comes to taking supplements, too much of a good thing can sometimes be a bad thing. Taking excess amounts of supplements can make it harder for your body to filter out the extra it doesn’t need. There’s no specific daily dose recommended for boron.

According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, the upper limits that should be taken in daily are:

AgeDaily upper limit dose
children ages 1 to 33 mg
children ages 4 to 86 mg
children ages 9 to 1311 mg
teenagers ages 14 to 1817 mg
adults ages 19 and up20 mg

Boron is considered safe for most people, but large amounts can be harmful. There also isn’t data regarding a safe level for children younger than 1 year old. Its safety hasn’t been studied in pregnant women.

It’s important that you talk with your doctor before taking supplements. It’s unlikely that boron supplements are necessary. Most experts recommend increasing intake through dietary sources like fruits and vegetables before considering supplements.

If you don’t want to take additional boron supplements, eating foods that contain boron, like prunes, raisins, dried apricots, or avocados, can help increase boron levels.

Last medically reviewed on March 1, 2019

Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — Written by Brian Krans — Updated on March 1, 201910 Exercises to Tone Every Inch of Your Body

Managing Osteoporosis: 9 Supplements and Vitamins You Should Consider

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin K
  • Boron
  • Silicon
  • Herbal supplements
  • Who should take them

Overview

Prescription medications can help you build stronger bones when you have osteoporosis. But you also need vitamins and minerals from your diet to help your body better absorb key nutrients to build strong bones.

Sometimes diet restrictions, appetite loss, digestive disorders, or other factors can affect your ability to get the variety of nutrients you need. In this case, supplements and vitamins may be a way to enhance your dietary intake.

When you have osteoporosis, your body lacks several key nutrients or can’t use those nutrients properly to keep your bones strong and healthy.

Calcium

Calcium is likely one of the most important supplements you can take when you have osteoporosis. Taking calcium is recommended by the Endocrine Society for most women undergoing osteoporosis treatment.

Ideally, you’ll get enough in your diet. However, if you don’t, supplements can help. While there are many calcium supplements available, your body doesn’t absorb all calcium supplements the same way.

For example, chelated calcium, like calcium citrate, calcium lactate, or calcium gluconate, is easier for your body to absorb. Chelated means compounds are added to a supplement to improve its absorption. Calcium carbonate is usually the most inexpensive and contains 40 percent elemental calcium.

Your body isn’t physically able to absorb more than 500 mg of calcium at a time. Therefore, you should likely break up your supplement intake over the course of a day. Taking the supplements with food can also enhance their absorption.

Vitamin D

As with calcium, it’s important you get enough vitamin D if you have osteoporosis. This is because vitamin D is essential for helping your body absorb calcium and build strong bones. In addition to calcium, taking vitamin D is recommended by the Endocrine Society for most women undergoing osteoporosis treatment.

However, it’s not naturally present in many foods. Sun exposure causes your body to make vitamin D, but sometimes the seasons don’t permit your body to make enough.

Adults older than age 50 should take between 800 and 1,000 international units, or IUs, of vitamin D a day.

Supplements 101: Vitamin D

Supplements 101: Vitamin DWatch this video to learn the benefits of vitamin D, plus information about downsides, how much you need, and foods that are rich in vitamin D.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral naturally found in foods like whole-grain breads, dark green vegetables, and nuts. Magnesium and calcium work together closely to maintain strong bones.

The recommended daily amount of magnesium is 300 to 500 mg. However, if you eat a lot of processed foods, you likely don’t get enough magnesium in your daily diet.

While it’s possible to get a magnesium supplement, magnesium is often incorporated into a daily multivitamin. An ideal balance is two parts calcium to one part magnesium. If your multivitamin has 1,000 mg of calcium, it should have 500 mg of magnesium.

Watch for signs of excess magnesium, such as stomach upset and diarrhea. These symptoms indicate you should cut back on magnesium.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a vitamin that helps calcium bind to your bones. However, it’s important to strike a careful balance between enough and too much vitamin K. The recommended dosage is 150 micrograms each day.

Taking vitamin K can interfere with blood-thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin). Always talk to your physician before increasing your vitamin K intake.

Boron

Boron is a trace element, which means that your body doesn’t need large amounts of it. Yet it’s important because it enables your body to effectively use calcium. As well, boron has properties that aid in the treatment of osteoporosis by activating vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy bone formation.

You need between 3 and 5 mg of boron a day to help treat osteoporosis. It’s found naturally in foods like apples, grapes, nuts, peaches, and pears.

Boron isn’t commonly found in multivitamins. Ask your doctor if you’d benefit from taking a boron supplement. If you do take one, watch for potential side effects of excess intake, such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and diarrhea.

Silicon

Silicon is another trace mineral that’s important for the development of healthy bones, as well as tendons and ligaments. Taking an estimated 25 to 50 mg of silicon a day may help a woman with osteoporosis.

Like boron, silicon isn’t commonly found in multivitamins. Again, ask your doctor if you should add silicon to your daily supplements list.

Herbal supplements

Some women choose not to take or are unable to take prescription hormone treatments for osteoporosis. Alternative treatments include Chinese herbs and other supplements. The problem with many of these treatments is they aren’t widely studied, and their full effects are unknown.

According to a 2013 review of studies published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary MedicineTrusted Source, a combination of three herbs was studied for its effect on postmenopausal women: Herba epimediiFructus ligustri lucidi, and Fructus psoraleae were given in a ratio of 10:8:2.

This formula, known as ELP, resulted in bone-protective effects in postmenopausal women. The herbs used are reported to have estrogen-like effects.

Other herbs that may have effects in treating osteoporosis include black cohosh and horsetail. The effect of both of these herbs on osteoporosis hasn’t been well studied.

Who should take supplements

If you’re able to eat a healthy diet full of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, you may get enough of the nutrients you need in your daily diet. However, when you have osteoporosis, your doctor will likely recommend supplementing your daily diet.

Other reasons you may need calcium supplements:

  • You eat a vegan diet.
  • You’re lactose intolerant.
  • You’re taking corticosteroid medications on a long-term basis.
  • You have a digestive disease that may impact your body’s ability to absorb calcium, such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease.
  • You’re currently being treated for osteoporosis.

If you have kidney or parathyroid disease, you may not be able to take vitamins or supplements. These two conditions may affect your body’s ability to filter calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients. That’s why it’s important to always talk to your doctor before taking anything not prescribed to you.

Researchers don’t all agree there are benefits to taking vitamins and supplements, including calcium and vitamin D. Some indicate the vitamins don’t help. Others think excess calcium supplementation could cause calcification of your arteries, which may contribute to heart disease.

However, if you have osteoporosis, this suggests that you have a deficiency in calcium or vitamin D and could potentially benefit from supplements. Talk to your healthcare provider about your options.

boron benefits

Can Boron Capsules Treat a Yeast Infection?

By Cathy Wong Updated on February 06, 2022 Medically reviewed by Meredith Bull, NDPrint 

Boron capsules, peanuts, apples, raisins, and avocado
Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Boron is a mineral found in foods such as nuts and in the environment. Boron is sometimes also taken in supplement form to boost athletic performance and improve thinking or coordination. Some women use boron to treat yeast infections. Not all of these uses are supported by scientific evidence.

What Is Boron Used For?

Research suggests that boron is involved in vitamin D and estrogen metabolism and may influence cognitive function. In alternative medicine, boron supplements are sometimes said to help with bone mineral density and prevent and/or treat the following health problems:

  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriasis

In addition, boron supplements are purported to boost sports performance by raising testosterone levels and reduce inflammation.1

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is not yet enough scientific evidence to support most of the claims for the health benefits of taking boron supplements.

Boron for Yeast Infections

One of the more popular uses of boron is for the treatment of vaginal yeast infections. Some women use boric acid capsules inside the vagina because they believe that boron can make the vagina more acidic.

Boric acid is a form of boron. It is sometimes said to help with recurrent vaginal yeast infections when used as a vaginal suppository. Boric acid should never be ingested.

In a 2003 research review from Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, for instance, investigators analyzed a number of studies on the use of various types of complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of yeast infections. They found that boric acid appears to be beneficial for women with recurrent yeast infections that are resistant to conventional therapies, but caution that boric acid may cause vaginal burning and other side effects in some instances.

In a more recent research review published in the Journal of Women’s Health in 2011, the researchers concluded that “boric acid is a safe, alternative, economic option” for women with recurrent yeast infections. However, boric acid can be absorbed through the skin, and a safe dosage hasn’t been established.

So, while there has been some research linking the use of boron supplements to treat candidiasis (yeast infections), much of the research is dated and the quality of the research has been called into question so this benefit cannot be confirmed.

Possible Side Effects

Consuming boron in excess can cause nausea, vomiting, indigestion, headache, and diarrhea. At higher doses, skin flushing, convulsions, tremors, vascular collapse, and even fatal poisonings at 5-6 grams in infants and 15-20 grams in adults have been reported. 

The NIH cautions that boron supplements (or high dietary intake of boron) may be harmful to people with hormone-sensitive conditions, including breast cancer, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. The concern is that boron may increase the levels of hormones such as estrogen and testosterone in certain individuals.2

In addition, boron is eliminated primarily through the kidneys, so it should be avoided by people with kidney disease or problems with kidney function.

Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children should never take boron or use boric acid in any form, including suppositories, topical boric acid powder, or a borax solution to clean infant pacifiers. 

If you’re considering the use of boron, make sure to consult your healthcare provider first. It’s important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Boron capsules
Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Dosage and Preparation

Boron is found in many foods including avocado, red apples, peanuts, raisins, prunes, pecans, potatoes, and peaches. While trace amounts of boron are thought to be important for several metabolic functions, no Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) has been established. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for boron (defined as the maximum dose at which no harmful effects would be expected) is 20 mg per day for adults and pregnant or breastfeeding women over 19 years of age.3

Although there’s some evidence that vaginal use of boric acid suppositories has potential in the treatment of vaginal yeast infections, given the lack of scientific support, the ubiquity of boron in food and water, and the safety concerns with excessive intake, an oral boron supplement is probably one to skip. If you’re considering using boron in any form, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider first to weigh the pros and cons. 

What to Look For

Available for purchase online, boron supplements are sold in many natural-food stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements.

Keep in mind that If you choose to buy a supplement such as boron, the NIH recommends that you examine the Supplement Facts label on the product that you buy. This label will contain important information including the amount of active ingredients per serving, and other added ingredients (like fillers, binders, and flavorings).

Also, the organization suggests that you look for a product that contains a seal of approval from a third-party organization that provides quality testing. These organizations include U.S. Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab.com, and NSF International. A seal of approval from one of these organizations does not guarantee the product’s safety or effectiveness but it does provide assurance that the product was properly manufactured, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • Can you take boric acid while pregnant?It is not considered safe to take boric acid or boron supplements while pregnant. One study showed that elevated levels of boron may be toxic to human development, and while more research still needs to be done, it’s better to be safe than sorry.4
  • Is boron good for arthritis?Boron is believed to be good for arthritis when taken in appropriate amounts. One study concluded that taking at least three milligrams per day of boron offers anti-inflammatory effects which can help with osteoarthritis. It is also shown to have a positive impact on the body’s usage of testosterone, estrogen, and vitamin D.

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