Boron is an essential trace mineral that is lacking in New Zealand soils. It was used as a washing powder (due to its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities) and was at one stage used as an ant killer under the name Borax. However it is non-toxic to humans and is 50 to 100 times less toxic than sodium chloride (table salt).
Personally I lucked onto boron and it has made a significant and demonstrable impact on both my general wellbeing and lifestyle. The impacts for me, which started almost immediately, appear to be generally in line with the literature have been:
Which is a broad spectrum of benefit from the addition of a 3 mg a day trace mineral supplement, particularly given that I would have said I slept well, had better than average energy levels and the ability to concentrate for long periods prior to supplementation.
Exactly why boron is rarely talked about as an essential mineral or supplement is bemusing as it is essential in carrying out a range of normal functioning in our systems including:
The Natural Abundance boron is straight boron salts from naturally occuring deposits in California which you mix into a solution and take 2 teaspoons a day or approximately 3 mg mgs of Boron. The cost of our boron supplement is 2 cents a day and your 70 grams at a standard dose rate will last you for three and a half years
You can buy it as a pre-packaged boron tablet supplement but you will pay around $30 for 30 days supply in tablet form.
I would highly recommend you investigate adding boron to your diet.
Boron is an essential minerals and impacts on our health and general wellbeing in a vast number of ways:
Boron increases oestrogen levels in menopausal women. Low oestrogen levels after menopause are considered to be the main reason why many older women develop osteoporosis. Research has demonstrated that boron supplementation in postmenopausal women doubles the blood level of the most active form of oestrogen, 17-beta oestradiol, to the level of women undertakin oestrogen replacement therapy.
Unlike HRT which comes with a high risk of breast or endometrial cancer there is no evidence to show any increased cancer risk with hormones produced naturally by the body following boron supplementation.
It appears that boron may balance the levels of sex hormone in a similar way to maca (South American tuber) powder.
Boron affects the metabolism of steroid hormones, especially the sex hormones. It has the effect of increasing low testosterone levels in men. Many older men show significantly improved memory and cognition which appears to be partly explained by the increased levels of sex hormones (also partly explained by improved membrane functions of brain cells).
General Stiffness and Mobility
Along with the effects on bones, with advancing age high levels of blood calcium lead to calcification of soft tissues, causing muscle contractions and stiffness. I presuming that this is the reason for my increased level of flexibility since taking boron.
When we are in good health, particularly in our younger years a calcium-magnesium ratio of 2:1 is normal and generally supplied through the diet. With boron deficiency, increasing age and the presence of disease conditions we need less calcium and more magnesium.
For optimum benefit and for boron to be fully effective you might need to look at magnesium supplementation of around 400 mg to 600 mg per day. Whilst this contradicts the medical focus on high calcium intake it is based on the fact that:
A study was carried out in 1994 (J G Penland) to investigate the functional role of boron, brain electrophysiology and cognitive performance in response to dietary manipulation of boron:
Bone Joint & Inflammation
Boron deficiency causes the parathyroid glands to become overactive which raises the blood level of calcium by releasing calcium from bones and teeth. Boron deficiency can be a major cause of osteoporosis due this propensity to leach calcium and magnesium. Supplementation with boron will reduce calcium loss by about 50%. It also has a couple of other important effects:
In an experiment with rats:
Skeletal Fluorosis is a bone disease that has similar presentations to arthritis. It is caused by excess consumption of fluoride and the most common cause is commercially packaged teas which contain high levels of fluoride.
In a Chinese study borax was used to treat 31 patients with skeletal fluorosis. The dose was increased from 300 mg to 1,100 mg a day for a three month period. Patients were given one week a month off. The treatment was effective with improvement between 50% to 80%.
Cancer Risk Prevention
Cell Membrane Deterioration
A German cancer researcher (Dr Paul-Gerhard Seeger) has demonstrated that cancer frequently starts with the deterioration of cell membranes. It is postulated that as boron is essential for cell membranes and boron deficiency is widespread, this could be a significant factor in tumour growth. Boron compounds have anti-tumour properties.
Research has shown that supplementation with boron is beneficial for men with prostrate cancer as the elevated testosterone levels work to shrink prostrate timours and PSA (Prostrate Specific Antigen) which is a marker for tumours and inflammation of the prostrate.
The addition of boron to the diet has been shown to improve a range of heart problems and decreases in arteriosclerosis (blocked arteries) due to decreasing the levels of calcium in the blood.
Boron has been shown to have cholesterol lowering properties. In one study with chickens they were given boron along with the regular feed. The study showed a decrease in the level of cholesterol.
Daily health & wellbeing
The calcium-magnesium balance is critical for robust everyday health and an essential part of the balance is optimum levels of boron. There is an antagonistic as well as cooperative relationship between calcium and magnesium that plays a critical role in cellular, muscular and skeletal health.
Approximately 50% of our body’s magnesium is found in our bones and the other 50% inside the cells of tissues and organs. Only 1% is in the blood and the kidneys maintain this balance by excreting more or less in urine.
99% of calcium however is in the bones with the rest in fluid outside the cells. Muscles contract when calcium moves into the cells and relax when calcium is pumped out and magnesium moves in. The cellular pumping action requires significant energy to pump calcium out and if cell energy is low calcium may accumulate inside cells. Reasons for low energy might include faulty fat or sugar metabolism, accumulating metabolic wastes and toxins or candida.
This has a number of impacts:
If the body is boron deficient too much calcium moves into the cells while magnesium cannot enter to displace it essentially bringing on a premature ageing.
Boron deficiency causes increased amounts of calcium and magnesium to be lost in the urine. A significant source of lost calcium is the teeth and the addition of a boron supplement is likely to have a positive effect on dental health and tooth decay.
Boron has a role in converting vitamin D to its active form which increases calcium uptake and deposition into the bones and teeth rather than causing soft tissue to calcify.
Boron has been demonstrated to remove accumulated fluoride and heavy metals from the body. Boron reacts with fluoride ions to form boron fluorides which are excreted in the urine.
Fluoride causes bones to deteriorate and the pineal gland to calcify and contributes to an underactive thyroid.
In a Chinese study boron was used to treat 31 patients with skeletal fluorosis. The doses given were 300 mgs a day increased to 1,100 mgs a day during a three month period with one week off per month. The treatment was effective with a recorded 50% to 80% improvement.
A range of anecdotal evidence is available on the effectiveness of boron as a treatment for a range of chronic health problems attributed to fluoride:
Diabetes & blood
Increased blood calcium levels associated with a lack of boron can lead to kidney stones, calcification of the kidneys and ultimately kidney failure.
Energy, endurance & exercise
There is a significant level of evidence that shows boron has a positive effect on the production of testosterone in all men, but particularly in older men
A study of relatively younger men (29 to 50) demonstrated that following a week of boron supplementation at a daily level of 100 mg their free testosterone levels had risen by 33%.
Exercise & Boron
A study in 1998 (Curtiss Hunt) indicated that 'boron is a natural food substance that allows bone to respond to the beneficial effects of moderate habitual exercise and does so by modulating vitamin D metabolism.'
There are a range of conditions and degenerative diseases that appear to benefit from boron supplementation:
Generally considered to be an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own joints. The synovial membrane is affected which causes deformity and degeneration of the joint. It is more common in women and frequently develops into osteoarthritis.
An arthritis researcher Professor Wyburn-Mason identified an amoeba as a parasite in the joint. Some minerals in the blood, particularly boron, can control these parasites.
The New Zealand green lipped mussel extract that has been claimed to relieve arthritis was originally gathered from White Island, a volcanic island with vents under the sea. The mussels absorbed boron from the sea and this was the major contributing factor to arthritis relief. Mussels gathered from other areas do not show the same effect as they lack the boron.
In New Zealand a couple of spa pools are recommended as being good for arthritis and they all have very high boron levels. Ngawha is the spa of most note.
is a wearing away of the joint, typically in joints that have carried out the most amount of work or have been damaged. The cartilage around the joint wears away then none rubs on bone causing pain and permanent damage to the joint.
In areas of the world where people eat relatively high amounts of boron, between 3 mg and 10 mg per day, the incidence of osteoarthritis is below 10%. In parts of the world where boron in the diet is less than 1% the incidence of arthritis is considerably higher.
Studies have shown that the joints of people with osteoarthritis contain less boron than people without osteoarthritis and that supplementation with boron helps with pain relief, stopping further damage and strengthening damaged joints.
Characterised by loose teeth and swollen gums. It is essentially arthritis of the teeth and gums. Boron mouth washes are an age-old treatment recognised as effective for pyorrhoea.
The Boron helps with the integration of calcium and as gum problems partly stem from loss of calcium from the jaw and mouth area due to calcium deficiency.
Is a rheumatic disease that causes spine and sacroiliac joint inflammation. It shows as low back pain or, when it is more severe, it affects the whole spine and its surrounding joints, causing great pain on joints, spine stiffness, loss of mobility and progressive joint deformation. Sometimes it can go along with other symptoms like eye swelling or heart valve inflammation.
Calcium tends to be lost from the vertebrae which results in fusion and disc degeneration.
Spondylitis is a condition that responds to mineral supplementation like boron.
Another joint disease, most commonly the big toe. Brought about by concentration of uric acid in a specific body part resulting from the breakdown of proteins.
The primary cause is a mineral imbalance resulting from insufficient metabolism of sugars, alcohol and proteins.
Boron is effective in relieving and preventing gout.
Comes about from decalcification of the bones. It is essentially a disease of western civilisation and the introduction of processed foods and industrial farming. Our modern diet tends to leach minerals from the bones for other uses which results in the erosion of our bony skeletal structure and the propensity to fracture easily.
The bones of your body (including your teeth) act as your mineral bank and also the great provider in times of mineral shortages. If there is a requirement for a particular mineral in another part of the body the bones will release that mineral as a means of maintaining our general health.
Bones are composed of a range of minerals in differing proportions, including calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, sulphur, potassium, zinc, manganese, copper, silicon and boron.
Boron is essential in assisting other minerals to combine as part of the mineral matrix.
Fluoride is a contributor to arthritis and a range of other poor health outcomes. Most of us have fluoride added to our water, brush our teeth with it and consume it as a hidden element of many foods and would find it almost impossible to avoid it. We daily drench our biggest organ (our skin) in it.
Mottling of the teeth is an obvious sign of fluoride but at the same time fluorosis of the skeletal bones is occurring. Whilst teeth are the only bones normally visible, their state is representative of other bones in our body. If we have teeth missing, filled or with cavities it is wise to expect that there are problems with other bones.
Boron is a natural in-activator and chelator of fluoride.
Boron and Prostrate Cancer
PSA (Prostrate-specific Antigen) is the most abundance protein synthesised in the prostrate gland. Commonly the test for PSA is applied in order to detect prostrate cancer. Whilst it was previously considered that PSA presence was an indicator of prostrate cancer it is increasingly being viewed as playing a role in the progression and metastatis (the development of secondary malignant growths).
New studies (Gallardo-Williams) have shown that boric acid and boronic acid significantly inhibit the degradation of fibronectin (a protein in the prostrate) by enzymatically active PSA. In another study with mice the same authors showed that expression of IGF-1 (insulin like growth factor) in tumours was markedly reduced by boric acid. PSA levels dropped by an average 87% while tumour size decreased by an average of 31.5% in the boric acid supplemented group.
In another study at UCLA (Cui and colleagues) demonstrated that men with the highest dietary boron intake reduced their prostrate cancer risk by 54% compared to men with the lowest boron intake.
Heart Disease Markers
Boron is an inflammation fighter, particularly TNF-alpha (Tumour Necrosis Factor which is involved in systemic inflammation) and C-Reactive protein (a byproduct of inflammation that is strongly predictive of cardiovascular disease) and its presence in recommended quantities is likely to improve and maintain artery health and improve blood flow. The presence of boron has been shown to slow arteriosclerosis and support the body to pump out nitric acid.
The presence of TNF-alpha is strongly predictive of heart disease as well as erectile dysfunction, diabetes, arthritis and a range of other conditions.
Boron is cited regularly in the literature as a remedy for erectile dysfunction. One study, which showed typical results gave eight, healthy, middle-aged volunteers 10 mg of sodium tetraborate (borax) for four weeks. The results showed:
Particularly significant with regards to erectile dysfunction was the significant increase in the testosterone-to oestrogen ratio.
Boron should be used daily and targeted to your level of need and particular health requirements. The boron comes to you in salt crystal form which you make into a suspension.
Dissolve a teaspoon (use a standard teaspoon measure) of 5 grams of boron and dissolve this in 1 litre of water. Boron dissolves readily in water and the water will take on a sweet taste after a couple of days. You might want to warm the water in very cold weather.
Use a re-sealable jar (I use a glass preserving jar) and keep in a safe place away from children or any other person who might mistake it for drinking water.
Recommended Standard Dosage
The recommended dosage is 1 teaspoon of the suspension morning and night. One teaspoon will supply approximately 3 mg of boron.
The recommended method of taking is with food or other liquid.
If the dose feels correct taken a second teaspoon with a later meal. I take two teaspoons in the morning and one at night.
If you do not have any specific health problems, or as a maintenance programme, you can continue indefinitely on one or two teaspoons daily
Problem Specific Dosing
If you have a particular problem like arthritis, osteoporosis and related conditions, cramps, spasms, stiffness due to advancing years, menopause or to improve low sex hormone production you can increase dose to 3 or 4 standard doses spaced out during the day.
You can continue this regime for months or longer until you feel that the problem has been rectified and then move back to the standard maintenance dose.
Fluoride Removal, Treating Candida
The doses recommended for treating candida or the removal of fluoride from the body are in line with the doses used in the research cited in various studies, namely:
Borax is a naturally occurring mineral and is not associated with any negative side-effects. However, with the use of any natural medicine there is the potential for going through a healing reaction before the beneficial long-term effects take hold. The most common is the Herxheimer Reaction which is the reaction to the release of endotoxins in the body brought about by the death of harmful organisms when boron is used as a Candida treatment
With long-standing severe calcifications a large amount of calcium cannot be redistributed in a short timeframe and this may lead to short to medium-term problems of:
Whenever you experience an unpleasant effect, reduce or temporarily stop the boron intake until the problem subsides and then recommence in incremental doses. Helpful other measures during the cleansing process include:
Improving lymph flow with walking, running, bounding, exercising and a range of inverted position
The borax sold to you is commonly termed as technical grade with a purity level of 99 to 99.5% minimum purity. The contaminants are actually a range of other essential minerals including sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, bicarbonate, sulphate and phosphate. Whilst there is a pharmaceutical grade it is not noticeably purer or ‘better’.
As the sale of borax is banned in a number of countries you might want to consider the evidence around safety and toxicity before deciding to take it
A comparison with sodium chloride (table salt) shows that table salt is 50% to 100% more toxic than boron. Sodium chloride changes genetic material and is mutagenic, whereas borax is harmless in that regard.
Infants are most at risk from boron ingestion. It is estimated that 5 grams to 10 grams can cause severe vomiting, diarrhoea, shock and even death. However lethal doses are not well documented in the literature.
The US data from the US Environmental Protection Agency shows a review of:
In Europe borax and boric acid have been classified as reproductive poisons and since 2010 are no longer available to the people of the EU. Borax is still available in Switzerland.
Boron is deficient in New Zealand soils and a number of things should be taken into account when considering whether a boron supplement might be beneficial:
Presence of Boron
Presence of Boron
Boron is present in all plants and unprocessed food, to a greater or lesser degree depending on where the food is grown. Where boron is plentiful in the soil, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is likely to provide between 2 to 5 mg of boron per day.
The problem tends to be that in developed countries where agriculture is heavily mechanised and commercialised and uses a large amount of fertiliser the uptake of boron from the soil is inhibited. Fertilisers together with a move to processed food has significantly reduced the boron uptake compared to 50 or 100 years ago.
The boron content of food has diminished for a number of reasons:
Which means that health problems associated with boron deficiency can now be fairly common
There is a strong link between the levels of boron in the soil and water and the incidence of arthritis. The level of boron available in the soil also appears to be heavily impacted on by the use of fertilisers:
Boron deficiency causes the parathyroid glands to become overactive and release excess amounts of parathyroid hormone. This has the effect of:
Classification & Function
Whilst not classified as an essential mineral the body of research indicates that it is required for normal and healthy functioning. Boron is distributed throughout the body with the highest concentration in the parathyroid glands, followed by bones and dental enamel. It is essential for:
It has shown to be effective with a range of arthritis conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus and juvenile arthritis