Boron is a naturally present trace mineral found in many types of foods. As a nutrient, boron is sometimes referred to as an ultra-trace element because it has the ability to affect bodily health even in low amounts.
Where Is Boron Found?
In the body, boron accumulates most within the bones, nails, and the hair, but is found within some body tissues. Boron is present in a variety of food and beverages — the body is able to absorb roughly 85 – 90% that gets ingested.
The main sources of boron, in its dietary form, are plant foods — fruits, tube and root type vegetables, and various legumes. The amount depends largely on the amount of boron present in the soil and water where the plants were grown.
Boron In Food and Drink
Boron can be found in many foods and drinks and varying amounts.
Here are some examples:
- Prune juice - 1 cup; 1.43 mg
- Raw avocado - ½ cup; 1.07 mg
- Raisins - 1.5 ounces; .95 mg
- Grape juice - 1 cup; .76 mg
- Apples - 1 medium; .66 mg
- Peanuts (roasted and salted) - 1 ounce; .48 mg
- Beans (refried) – ½ cup; .48 mg
The two most popular means of dietary boron consumption in the U.S. is through milk and coffee. Although these are low in boron content — 1 cup of coffee only .07 mg; one cup of whole milk yields .04 mg — they make up 12 percent of the total intake due to the mass amounts of volume consumed.
How much boron do people get in their diets?
It varies, but most adults in the U.S. usually get around 1 mg on average every day. Vegetarians and vegans often have higher intake status over other dietary lifestyles due to their plant-based diets.
The signs and symptoms of boron deficiency have not been firmly established, but some research suggests that deficiency could have an effect on cognitive function — reducing mental alertness as one example.
Boron As A Dietary Supplement
Boron is also available as a dietary supplement; boron-only and in combination with other supplements. The amounts for boron vary in supplements, but the most common range is 0.15 to 6 mg. As a supplement, it is found in many forms: Sodium borate, boron aspartate, boron citrate, and boron glycinate to name a few.
The Health Benefits for Supplemental Boron
Here are some of the most common health benefits claims of boron:
- Boron supports bone health; growth and maintenance
- Boron has soothing and calming properties
- Boron aids in the wound healing process
- Boron aids in cognitive function
- Boron benefits the body’s use of sex hormones, especially testosterone levels in men
These are tremendous health benefits claims indeed. But to be sure, let’s review some of the available evidence and data for each of them.
Bone Health and Maintenance
For many years, boron has been thought to be an essential mineral overall bone health; growth and maintenance. This has to do with its role in osteogenesis — formation of bone. Deficiencies in this mineral have shown to have an adverse effect on bone health.
Boron and Vitamin D Deficiency
Observation evidence in one study found that bones were harder to cut through in patients using boron supplements as opposed to those who did not supplement with boron. In addition, boron has a role to play in vitamin D deficiency; helping to increase bioavailability of vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for bone strength and calcium absorption.
While research studies, clinical trials, and meta-analysis are still being conducted, boron supplementation has been shown to stimulate bone growth in vitamin-D deficient animals; a promising finding indeed.
Boron and Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal and necessary immune system response that plays a pivotal role within our body. It is vital to help fight off infections and other pathogens as well as aiding the healing process during injury.
Boron can be a helpful supplement option for those who have arthritis, and can help reduce overall discomfort.
Other Effects of Boron
Boron has shown to have soothing effects, helping lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers within the body. In one clinical trial, participants receiving supplemental boron saw a significant reduction in C-reactive protein levels, which is a biomarker used to measure inflammation within the body.
Boron and Wound Healing
Boron may also have a role to play in wound healing. One reason is its role in the production of collagen, a structural protein used in skin, bone, and other tissues. Studies have also shown boron’s ability to induce the proliferation of macrophages; bacteria-consuming white blood cells (WBC).
Macrophages are vital for wound healing as they help signal the immune response. Furthermore, they help promote the inflammatory response to injuries, remove dead cells, and support tissue restoration in the healing process.
Boron and Cognitive Function
Although studies are few, there have been links found between boron supplementation and cognitive performance.
For example, one published study by Environmental Health Perspectives, found that participants who received a boron supplement intake of 3.25 mg a day scored better in cognitive performance areas than those with low boron intake have:
- Better eye-hand coordination
- Increase attention span and perception
- Short-term and long-term memory
Boron and Sex Hormone Regulation
Boron may also have a role to play in two major sex hormones: Testosterone and estrogen. It is thought to play an important role in helping to adjust the natural production of testosterone and estrogen.
Clinical trials and studies are still being done, but the current reviews and research on the effects of boron in hormone regulation is still promising. One study looked at the effects of boron supplementation (6 mg/day) in male participants after one week.
Research findings found the following benefits:
- Boron supplementation aided in the metabolism of total testosterone, showing a 25 percent increase in free testosterone
- A significant reduction in the amount of estradiol (estrogen) in the body dropped from 42.33 pg/mL to 25.81 pg/mL.
- A reduction in inflammatory biomarkers — interleukin and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein by more than half
- Increased levels of dihydrotestosterone (a more powerful hormone than testosterone), cortisol, and vitamin D
The Bottom Line
Based on these findings, it is clear that supplemental boron can provide some surprising health benefits. Of course, new studies are being done every year and research continues to develop.
There is no recommended daily allowance for boron at present, but the tolerable upper intake levels for adults range from 1 - 20 mg/day.
If you are unsure if you should implement boron supplements into your diet, talk to your doctor to see what the best options are for your individual needs.
Are Boron Supplements Right for You?
Keep in mind, boron is found naturally in many of the foods and drinks we consume. However, as a supplement, it can improve your overall health, especially in terms of benefiting testosterone levels in men, maintaining healthy bones, and aiding in the wound healing process.
Boron is often found in combination with other supplements, as with our Superhuman Supplements for men; 0.5 mg.
Meet our Experts
This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.
Dr. Jay Cowin, Nutrition Expert
Founder of Functional U, a Nutrition, Performance & Optimal Health practice.