The trace mineral boron is necessary for facilitating and boosting the rate of absorption for other minerals in the body - namely the minerals calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. The loss of these minerals through the urine is controlled and regulated by the mineral boron. The health of the bones is maintained by boron acting alongside the mineral calcium and the vitamin D - their combined action also prevents the onset of osteoporosis. Food sources that are rich in boron include raisins and almonds, prunes and all fruits in general. The boron content of meat and fish is very low. Boron is best supplied by diets which have plenty of fruits and vegetables, eating such foods offer the body protection against the onset of disorders like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, as well as problems like rheumatoid arthritis. No toxic effects have been evident from the consumption of boron in amounts normally found in supplements.

Though very little is known about the specific mode of action, the evidence from preliminary clinical research seems suggests that boron could possibly affect bone and joint health. The discovery of a connection between the presence of boron and a lowered loss of calcium in the urine is currently the most promising direction for further clinical research. The possibility of preventing osteoporosis could be the beneficial aspect of this discovery, however, till date the reduction in loss of calcium due to boron supplementation has only worked in most cases in people who were not getting enough magnesium through the normal diet.

Boron may also have an important effect on a person's ability to utilize energy at optimal levels and to think clearly - the specifics of this connection between boron and mental concentration is still to be studied.

The most excellent food sources for the mineral boron are raisins, prunes and nuts. High levels of boron are also typically found in most fruits - other then the citruses, most vegetables and legumes. The content of boron may actually differ widely, as it is dependent on the levels of boron in the soil where the plants are normally cultivated.

The boron intake of people who consume very little fruit and very few vegetables is typically less than the levels of boron found in the body of other people who consume more fruits and vegetables.

Health benefits of boron

Boron offers numerous health benefits and it has been found to be an effectual alternative for treating arthritis. In fact, use of boron has led to notable improvements in over 95 per cent of incidences related to arthritis, as it has helped to effective integration of calcium into the bones and cartilages. As we are aware that our bones are likely to become feeble as well as porous as we age and treatment with boron helps to effectively lessen this type of worsening. Boron is known to be helpful in lessening the allergic conditions usually related to rheumatoid arthritis significantly.

As boron possesses the aptitude to augment the levels of testosterone in males, athletes as well as body builders are making use of this attribute of this vital trace material more and more. While a section of weight lifters also have a preference for taking boron supplements, because it augments the levels of testosterone enabling them to be more muscular, there is no scientific evidence that corroborates this issue.

Although boron possesses the attributes to build bones as well as make them stronger, it is unfortunate that very often people ignore this aspect of this trace mineral and opt for calcium instead. Nevertheless, the fact remains that boron works in conjunction with calcium to make our bones stronger. In addition, boron also has a vital role in diminishing the chances of an individual developing arthritis and osteoporosis. Boron also facilitates the metabolism of various other minerals that are also responsible for bone development, for instance, calcium, copper and magnesium. Boron also has an influence on the hormones like testosterone as well as estrogen, which are also involved in sustaining the bone health in general.

Boron may possibly also augment estrogen production in women in menopausal stage and help to bring back their sexual craving just within some days of treatment with this trace mineral. It has been found that boron augments the natural sex hormone levels in our body and, by this means it diminishes the requirement for hormone replacement therapy (HRT). It may be noted here that boron is vital for reproduction as well as the growth of the fetus. However, enough data regarding this is yet to be made available.

Boron is especially helpful for menopausal women, as it has the ability to alleviate symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes that are generally related to menopause. It has been found that boron has a vital role in sustaining trans-membrane functioning as well as in making reception of hormones stable. In addition, physician often use boron neutron capture agents in treating cancer as well as developing potent enzyme inhibitors. Compounds of boron are also employed in the form of antibody imitators, which are able to identify saccharides that are biologically important without any difficulty.

It is understood that boron also possesses the aptitude to affect a number of factors related to formation of blood clots in our body. Nevertheless, further studies are necessary to substantiate this finding. This vital trace mineral also facilitates in decreasing lipid build-up and, at the same time, helps to get rid of cholesterol from the bloodstream. Boron also has the ability to considerably ease the problems caused by conditions related to congestive heart failure.

Boron is effective in defending the body against numerous parasitic invasions, for instance, those by a parasitic fungus called Candida Albicans. Findings of several researches have revealed that boron also has the ability to augment the functioning of the brain, coordination between the eyes and hands as well as short memory and attentiveness. Boron may possibly also slow down the functioning of a number of enzymes, while functioning in the form of a co-factor for a new reaction involving enzymes.

Usual dosage

The consumption of one mg of boron supplements daily is a reasonable amount according to an expert on nutritional role of the mineral boron. The amount of boron consumed by people who eat adequate amounts of foods like nuts and legumes is likely to be at least two to six times the daily requirement for this mineral. The use of supplements by the average person, therefore, remains unclear as boron deficiencies are almost unheard of and the average diet contains enough of this mineral.

Side effects and cautions

Side effects can result on accidental and acute exposure to very high levels of the mineral boron. Physical symptoms like nausea, vomiting, acute abdominal pain, a persistent rash, muscular or spasmic convulsions and many other unpleasant symptoms can ensue in such cases. While such physical symptoms are possible on chronic exposure to even the small amounts found in supplements - normally 1 to 3 mg's per day - these have not been conclusively related to toxic effects in the body. Boron is not accumulated within the body if the doses are taken at supplemental levels - these amounts of the mineral are easily handled by the biochemical pathways existing in the body. The absence of toxic effects in the body is probably linked to the presence of such biochemical pathways.

Estrogen and testosterone levels were actually found to have been heightened by supplementation during the course of one clinical study - a dose of 3 mg of supplemental boron daily was used in the dosage during the course of the study. This heightening of hormone levels is of some concern, the increase in estrogen is of special concern as the risk of several types of cancers have been linked to an increase in the levels of this hormone. Some doctors trained in natural medicine recommend that the intake of supplemental boron is better limited to a maximum daily intake of 1 mg per person - till more is known about the effects of boron supplements on hormone levels in the body.

Scientific knowledge about the real interactions between boron and other minerals in the body is poor and probably very complex - more clinical studies are needed to gain an insight into the various interactions between different minerals. The utilization of minerals like calcium, magnesium and the vitamin D in the body may be conserved and regulated by boron. There are other distinct interactions between various minerals in the body; one study found that the ability of boron to bring about a reduction in the loss of calcium via the urine completely disappeared when the subjects under study were also given supplemental magnesium. The conclusion is that in the presence of adequate amount of magnesium in the diet, the presence of boron may not provide any special benefit towards the maintenance of bone mass and the retention of calcium.

Deficiency symptoms of boron

While scientists are yet to comprehend the symptoms related to boron deficiency fully, it is understood that a deficit of this vital trace mineral in the body may possibly result in anomalous metabolism of other minerals like calcium as well as magnesium. Deficiency of boron may lead to a number of conditions, including arthritis, hyperthyroidism, osteoporosis, imbalances in sex hormones and even malfunctioning of the brain.

Before concluding, it needs to be reiterated that despite being a vital trace mineral, basically boron is ignored. Nevertheless, it is extremely important to incorporate boron in our daily diet with a view to ensure that we remain healthy and our life is free from diseases.