Boron

Nonessential Micronutrient

OVERVIEW


Summary

A trace mineral our bodies need for strong bones and joints, there is no indication that the hype of nearly a decade ago — about boron’s muscle-building prowess — was anything more than wishful thinking. Fortunately, this same hope for natural alternatives has driven science to uncover much more effective supplements, like creatine and HMB.


Other names for Boron

sodium borate, boron chelates, sodium tetraborate decahydrate

Where to find Boron

Boron is found in fruits and vegetables, especially dried fruits such as prunes and apricots. Other sources include soybeans, various nuts, wine, and beer.

PERFORMANCE BENEFITS

Why athletes use Boron

As you might notice while watching an NFL game, athletes can place unbelievable stresses on their joints and bones. Boron may help athletes maintain optimal joint and bone health — “help” being the key word here. Of more interest may be its importance in helping broken bones heal faster (though most likely only faster than they would in a person who is boron deficient).

Ways that Boron can enhance Muscle Gain & Recovery:
  • Reduce pain and inflammation to enhance joint health
  • Increase bone density by working synergistically with calcium
Ways that Boron can enhance Mental Functioning:
  • Potentially help support mental functioning

HEALTH BENEFITS

Signs of Boron deficiency

Deficiency of Boron has been linked to:

  • Kidney stones
  • Osteoporosis
  • Decreased mental alertness
Potential uses for Boron

Research indicates that Boron may also be useful in the treatment of:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Calcium loss
  • Broken bones
  • Bacterial infections
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Eye infections

DISCUSSION


More about Boron

Boron is a trace mineral found in plant sources — while an essential mineral for plant growth, it is under debate whether or not it’s essential for humans. It is, however, vital for the metabolism of calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and Vitamin D and may be important for the optimal health of bones and joints.

Shown to reduce the loss of calcium in post-menopausal women, boron may combat arthritis and osteoporosis. Some research has also revealed it may reduce the pain and swelling associated with these conditions.

For all boron does, what may be most interesting, especially if you have been watching the field of performance nutrition develop, is that it does not have any ability to increase testosterone levels nor muscle mass in men. Those were the beliefs about a decade ago, when boron was all the rage among bodybuilders who thought it would replace anabolic steroids. Fortunately, this hope for natural alternatives has driven science to uncover effective supplements, like creatine and HMB.

Strong bones and joints

As you might notice while watching an NFL game, athletes can place unbelievable stresses on their joints and bones. Boron may help athletes maintain optimal joint and bone health — “help” being the key word here. Of more interest may be its importance in helping broken bones heal faster (most likely faster than they would in a slightly boron-deficient person).

Increased testosterone?

While some reports have indicated boron may increase testosterone levels, this has only been shown in postmenopausal women. It does not have the same effect in healthy male athletes. Nonetheless, boron’s effects on hormonal balance in post-menopausal women were shown to enhance the positive effects of estrogen. Conclusion: Great for post-menopausal women. Try something else if you are a man looking for muscle mass.

Boost brain power?

Experts have recently suggested that boron may help enhance brain functioning and mental alertness. Unfortunately, again, details are not yet known as to why boron may be beneficial for mental functioning.

In truth

This trace mineral has but a trace of research to go with it. It may be simply that even at its best, it doesn’t pack a lot of potential to change lives. Is it important? Sure. But worth investing in for optimal performance? Not that we can see — now or in the near future. Rest assured, if it turns out it can make you leap tall buildings or win a round of Millionaire, we’ll be the first to let you know.

NOTES ON USAGE

Amount

For general health, one to three milligrams of boron taken daily is reportedly beneficial.

For decreasing the risk of osteoporosis, one to six milligrams daily is typically recommended by nutritionally orientated health-care professionals.

Timing

Boron is most often taken with meals.

Synergists of Boron

Boron works synergistically with calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin D to improve bone strength and prevent osteoporosis.

Vitamin D may need boron to convert to its active form.

Toxicity of Boron

Boron is very safe when taken as directed, but more than nine milligrams per day is not recommended. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can occur at extremely high amounts (greater than 500 mg per day).

Bans and restrictions

None reported.

RELATED RESEARCH

  • Kelly, G.S., “Boron: A Review of its Nutritional Interactions and Therapeutic Uses,” Alt Med Rev 2 (1997) : 48-56.
  • Nielsen, F.H., et al., “Effect of Dietary Boron on Mineral, Estrogen, and Testosterone Metabolism in Postmenopausal Women,” FASEB J 1 (1987) : 394-7.
  • Travers, R.L., et al., “Boron and Arthritis: the Results of a Double-Blind Pilot Study,” J Nutr Med 1 (1990) : 127-32.