We’ve written in past articles about a variety of different essential minerals, including magnesium, iodine, selenium, sulfur, and silica. The benefits of these minerals (as well as the associated consequences of deficiency) are well-documented in the natural health community; there are many others, however, that are often overlooked. Perhaps one of the most interested and underutilized is boron.
Boron is a vital trace mineral that occurs naturally in foods and the environment. While there’s still much to learn about it, researchers have already explored many of its therapeutic uses, and have linked a number of prevalent health issues to boron deficiency.
The benefits of boron
You may not hear boron spoken of very often in natural health circles, but don’t let that fool you—this mineral provides powerful health benefits, and just might be one of the most important micronutrients of all. Here’s a sampling of reasons why you should make sure you’re getting enough boron.
Research has shown that maintaining optimal boron levels is a powerful way to prevent and even reverse arthritis
Arthritis and inflammation. Boron has shown great promise for decreasing systemic inflammation and relieving chronic aches and pains. Boron supplements are currently given to domesticated animals like horses and sheep as a remedy for pain and arthritis.
While it’s barely recognized as a remedy for arthritis (in humans), research has shown that maintaining optimal boron levels is a powerful way to prevent and even reverse arthritis. Some health enthusiasts even go so far as to call boron a suppressed arthritis cure.
Bone and muscle health. Emerging research has demonstrated that boron is critical for bone health, primarily because it helps the body absorb and utilize calcium (which strengthens bones) and vitamin D (a crucial nutrient for regulating calcium levels and maintaining proper bone density).
Boron is also linked to the production of testosterone, and as such helps with exercise recovery and muscle building.
Cognitive function. Boron keeps the brain functioning optimally, and prevents brain fog, memory issues, and inhibited performance. Research has consistently linked boron deficiency with hampered cognitive performance; the results of one study even showed that individuals taking more boron performed much better with cognitive and psychomotor performance tasks, including short and long-term memory, attention, perception, dexterity and motor skills, and response times.
Hormonal balance. Boron has been shown to balance levels of sex hormones in both men (testosterone) and women (estrogen), and can also alleviate the symptoms of menopause and PMS. Animal studies have demonstrated that boron deficiency is linked with birth defects and infertility—researchers extrapolate from these results that boron could even help increase fertility.
Anti-aging. Boron helps prevent visible signs of aging, particularly by supporting skin health. Consuming boron-rich foods keeps the skin healthy and radiant, and supplemental boron can used to treat acute skin infections, as well as for alleviating redness, inflammation, and irritation.
Allergies and immune dysfunction. By modulating immune function, and by optimizing the uptake of immune-balancing nutrients (especially magnesium and vitamin D), boron prevents allergies and other symptoms of overactive immune function.
Parasites and infections. Optimal levels of boron ensure microbiome balance, and can be helpful in the elimination of Candida, as well as other parasites in the stomach and GI tract. It’s also remarkably effective at preventing and treating yeast infections.
One double-blind study compared supplemental boron with a leading, nystatin-based yeast infection cream—while only 64% of study participants using the standard cream experienced relief after seven to ten days, 92% of women using boron experienced relief. Boron is also much less expensive than these conventional creams, so the researchers concluded that it represents a perfect cost-effective alternative to store-bought yeast infection products.
Consuming boron-rich foods keeps the skin healthy and radiant
Are you getting enough boron?
As can be gleaned from the benefits discussed above, boron deficiency has been conclusively linked with arthritis and chronic inflammation, osteoporosis and other bone issues, cognitive dysfunction, sex hormone imbalance, hyperthyroidism, accelerated aging, increased risk of parasites and infection, and more.
If you suffer from a severe form of any of these ailments, you may want to talk to your doctor about taking a boron supplement. Taking too much boron can cause toxicity symptoms, so be sure to plan your regimen carefully, under medical supervision.
While supplementation can be helpful in certain therapeutic contexts (especially balancing hormones after menopause, optimizing cognitive function, building muscle, and combatting osteoporosis), we can usually get all the boron we need by eating a varied diet of organic whole foods.
Luckily, you have lots of food sources of boron from which to choose including:
nuts (especially pecans and walnuts)
raw milk (it must be completely unpasteurized)
The nutrient-parched Standard American Diet (SAD) has made mineral deficiency a rampant problem—stick with a diet packed with the nutrient-dense whole foods listed above, though, and your body should get all the boron necessary to enjoy its many health benefits.