Boron supplement for bone health, how effective is it, what is the right dosage, by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
December 12 2014

Boron element is widely present in soil and water, and may be an essential mineral for animals and humans. The dietary intake of boron is about 1 or 2 mg per day. Boron has the potential to influence a number of metabolic processes.  An absolute requirement for boron has not been definitively demonstrated in animals and humans. However, experiments with boron supplementation or deprivation show that boron is involved in calcium and bone metabolism, and its effects are more marked when other nutrients (cholecalciferol, magnesium) are deficient. Boronated compounds have been shown to be potent anti-osteoporotic, anti-inflammatory, hypolipemic, anti-coagulant and anti-neoplastic agents both in vitro and in vivo in animals.

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Use of Boron mineral supplement
Dietary boron influences the activity of many metabolic enzymes, as well as the metabolism of steroid hormones and several micronutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. Supplementation in rats and chicks has been shown to increase bone strength. Boron may also play a role in improving arthritis, plasma lipid profiles, and brain function. Additional research is necessary to further clarify boron's influence in human and animal physiology, as well as determine a dietary requirement for humans.

Arthritis, osteoarthritis
Q. I want to find out more information about the use of boron supplements for arthritis - more specifically in the case of a female with Still's disease? Are there any side effects such as weight gain? How effective is it? i read somewhere that countries where there is boron in the soil have less incidences of arthritis among there populations?
   A. At this point it is to early to know for sure how effective boron supplements are as a preventive or treatment for arthritis, osteoarthritis.

Side effects, risk and safety
Not enough research has been done with boron supplements to determine their safety and side effects. For this reason I suggest you skip a day or two a week until we learn more about the long term safety.

Hormone level influence
Supplementation with 10 mg of boron a day results in the recovery of 84% of the dose in the urine and a significant increase in plasma estradiol concentration, but no effect on plasma lipoproteins. In rats, increasing the intake of boron through the drinking water is reflected in the tissue concentrations, results in an increase in plasma testosterone and vitamin D, and results in a decrease in HDL cholesterol. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1998 Winter. The nutritional and metabolic effects of boron in humans and animals. Department of Biochemistry, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Boron and prostate cancer
Dietary boron intake and prostate cancer risk.
Oncol Rep. 2004. Department of Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Boron affects human steroid hormone levels. Circulating testosterone and estradiol levels have been proposed to modify prostate cancer risk. However, the association between dietary boron intake and the risk of prostate cancer has not been evaluated by any epidemiological study. We explored the association between dietary boron intake and the risk of prostate cancer in the USA. Our analysis was based on data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Cross-sectional case-control study design was employed by comparing boron intake of 95 prostate cancer cases with that of 8,720 male controls. After controlling for age, race, education, smoking, body mass index, dietary caloric intake, and alcohol consumption, increased dietary boron intake was associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer with a dose-response pattern. The observed association should be interpreted with caution because of the small case sample size and the nature of the cross-sectional study design, but deserve further investigation.

Boron and athletic performance, body building
Plasma boron and the effects of boron supplementation in males.
Environ Health Perspect. 1994. Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Auburn University, AL.
Recently, a proliferation of athletic supplements has been marketed touting boron as an ergogenic aid capable of increasing testosterone. The effect of boron supplementation was investigated in male bodybuilders. Ten male bodybuilders (aged 20 to 26) were given a 2.5-mg boron supplement, while nine male bodybuilders (aged 21 to 27) were given a placebo for 7 weeks. Plasma total and free testosterone, plasma boron, lean body mass, and strength measurements were determined on day 1 and day 49 of the study. Twelve subjects had boron values at or above the detection limit with median value of 25 ng/ml. Of the ten subjects receiving boron supplements, six had an increase in their plasma boron. Analysis of variance indicated no significant effect of boron supplementation on any of the other dependent variables. Both groups demonstrated significant increases in total testosterone, lean body mass, and one repetition maximum (RM) squat and one RM bench press. The findings suggest that 7 weeks of bodybuilding can increase total testosterone, lean body mass, and strength in lesser-trained bodybuilders, but boron supplementation affects these variables not at all.

Lung cancer
Higher amounts of boron in the diet are associated with lower risk of lung cancer in women. It is possible that dietary boron may play a role in defending against cancer initiation due to inflammation. Boron is found widely in the food supply. Food sources of dietary boron include coffee, wine, apples, peanuts, grapes, orange juice, salads, beans, bananas, and broccoli. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2008.

Boron toxicity
Excess has toxic effects on reproductive function.

General, reproductive, developmental, and endocrine toxicity of boronated compounds.
Reprod Toxicol. 1998
Boric acid and inorganic borates are abundant in nature. They are widely used in industrial, agricultural, cosmetic, and numerous smaller applications. These compounds are toxic to all species tested at high doses, but they are not carcinogenic or mutagenic. The major toxicities are reproductive and developmental. Testicular effects occurred at approximately 26 mg boron equivalents/kg body weight per day. New data on endocrine toxicity includes altered follicle stimulating hormone and testosterone. Because these hormonal changes may be secondary effects of testicular toxicity, borates are not suspect as endocrine disrupters. The most sensitive of all the endpoints are prenatal growth and morphologic development in the rat. Considering the estimated human exposure levels and a safety factor of 30, humans are not at significant risk of reproductive failure due to borates from environmental sources. The margin of exposure is estimated at 72 for males and 129 for females. Thus, the likelihood of human toxicity caused by boric acid and inorganic borates from exposure during normal activities is remote.

New Product
Triple Boron by Source Naturals is available. They claim, "Boron is excellent for strengthening bones and bone mineral density, and also promotes healthy brain and cognitive function."

Questions, effect on testosterone and hormones
Q.  I am taking boron to increase testosterone up to 9 mg a day. Does it increase testosterone?
   A. In a rat study, boron did increase testosterone levels. However, whether this is maintained in the long run is difficult to say. Also, the long term risks of boron supplementation are not clearly understood. Boron excess may have toxic effects on reproductive function.

Prostate Gland
I came across a health website that says taking boron 3 mg tablets every day reduces the size of the prostate by 35% after a while and also reduces the PSA levels by a substantial amount.
    As of 2014, I have not seen any human studies regarding the use of boron supplements as a way to reduce prostate enlargement or reduce PSA levels.

Interactions with dietary supplements, combinations
I take female vitamins containing black cohosh and soy. The supplement also has 2 mg of boron. I also have osteoporosis and take a liquid calcium supplement containing the most absorbable form of calcium (calcium citrate). The product has 750 mcgs of boron. What I want to know is how much boron is safe to take with black cohosh and soy? (I feel great with taking the liquid calcium...and it also helps with Osteoporosis and a little bit of arthiritis that I have). I am feeling much more flexible, as I was taking apple cider vinegar for my acid reflux / hiatal hernina / stomach ulcer.....of which I no longer have symptoms of....as changed my diet. Thanks much, as I am unable to find the answer on any website.
    There is no research regarding the safety or interaction of boron with black cohosh and soy products, and no research on the multi year safety of using this mineral as a supplement therefore it is difficult to know or advise.

Blood clot or blood thinning
There appears to be conflicting information about whether it affects blood clotting factors. I would appreciate your opinion about the safety of taking supplemental boron with warfarin, and if this is dose related.
   I have not come across such interactions yet.