Boron is an essential trace mineral that is used for treating a variety of health conditions. It is found both in the environment, in food and it can also be taken as a supplement. Boron also has preservative properties and it was used to preserve food especially during the two World Wars. Boric acid is used externally to treat vaginal yeast infections and as astringent for the skin or as an eye wash. There is no RDA – Recommended Daily Allowance for boron. Consumption depends on individual diets. The tolerable higher limit for adults, breastfeeding and pregnant women is 20mg/day.
Health Benefits of Boron
Health benefits of boron include aiding in building strong bones, building muscles, treating osteoarthritis and many more functions. The usefulness of boron for several medical conditions is listed below.
Vaginal Infections : Many women use boron to treat yeast infections of the vagina. This infection called candidiasis can be treated with boric acid capsules that are placed inside the vagina. Boron is also used for infections that do not respond to other treatments.
Prevention of Arthritis : One of the excellent health benefits of boron is with respect to the treatment of arthritis. In a study, it was found that over 95% of those who consumed boron found a significant improvement in their arthritic symptoms. This is because boron brings better integration of calcium into bones and cartilage. Deterioration of bones due to old age that leads to bones becoming porous and weak can be stopped effectively by a proper intake of boron.
Bone Building : Very often the health benefits of boron in building bones is ignored, for the more popular and favored calcium. What people do not realize is that calcium works along with boron to produce strong bones. This means that boron is needed to minimize risks of arthritis and osteoporosis. Mineral metabolism is aided by boron, especially those minerals that are required for bone development like calcium, copper and magnesium. The hormones testosterone and estrogen are affected by boron and this is also linked to overall good bone health.
Body building in Males : Since testosterone levels in men are enhanced by boron, this mineral is frequently used by those who are athletes and body builders. Some weightlifters consume boron supplements as the increased testosterone levels are expected to make them stronger. However there is no direct evidence regarding this use of boron.
Production of Estrogen : Estrogen levels fall when a woman reaches menopause. Boron can improve the levels of estrogen in post-menopausal women, thereby improving their sex drive within a few days of intake. Since boron increases natural hormone levels in the body, the need for Hormone replacement therapy in such women is reduced.
Benefits in Rheumatoid arthritis : The severity of allergic conditions often linked to rheumatoid arthritis can be reduced with the help of boron.
PMS : Menopausal symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes can be eased with boron. Boron also helps to reduce osteoporosis symptoms in menopausal women.
Helps in Embryonic Development : The reproductive process – especially development of the fetus requires boron, although further information is required with respect to this benefit of boron.
Cancer benefits : Cancer therapy often requires boron capture agents that help to develop strong enzyme inhibitors. Boron compounds, utilized as antibody mimics, are also needed to identify biologically vital saccharides.
Blood clots : Some factors that lead to blood clotting can be influenced by boron. More studies to validate this finding are needed.
Cell membrane functioning : Stabilization of hormone reception and proper maintenance of trans-membrane functions both require boron.
Fungal Infections : The body can be protected from different types of fungal infections such as Candida Albicans that occur due to parasitic attacks with the help of boron.
Cognitive functions : Brain functions, cognitive performance, improvement of short term memory, hand-eye coordination and concentration can all be enhanced with the help of boron.
Congestive heart failure : Symptoms of congestive heart failure can be eased with the help of boron.
Plasma Lipid Levels : With the help of boron, plasma lipid levels can be reduced therefore leading to lowering of cholesterol levels.
Enzyme Inhibitor : Boron acts to inhibit certain enzymes while at the same time acting as a cofactor in other enzymatic reactions.
Foods rich in Boron
The various important health benefits of boron can be realized from foods rich in this mineral such as: fruits like oranges, apples, red grapes, kiwi fruit, pears, plums, dried fruits like dates, currants and sultanas, nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, vegetables, soybeans, borolloti beans and chickpeas. Other important food sources of boron are peanut butter, wine, beer, tomato, lentils, potato, olives, onions etc.
Precautions when taking Boron Supplements
All vitamin and mineral supplements must be taken after consultation with a doctor and the same is true for boron. An overdose of boron can lead to toxic conditions like dermatitis, nausea, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea. Those with kidney problems must be careful as excess boron will not be excreted through the urine and this can lead to excessive accumulation in the kidneys, heart, tissues and brain . Others who need to follow precautions when taking boron include pregnant and breastfeeding women, those with hormone-sensitivity conditions like breast, ovarian or uterine cancer, uterine fibroids or endometriosis. Excess boron can also lead to accumulation of magnesium and estrogen in the blood. Boron supplements can also reduce levels of blood phosphorus .
People can get the various health benefits of boron through supplements or a balanced diet. Boron offers many benefits especially for improved bone health in men and post-menopausal women and body builders. It also provides other benefits for improving metabolism rate, as an enzyme inhibitor, vaginal infections and more. So, ensure you consume the right quantities of this mineral to stay in good health.