WHAT IS BORON?
Boron is a micromineral (or trace element) that can be found in certain types of fruits and vegetables. It is often linked with bone health because it helps regulate and metabolise calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin D which all help your body produce strong, healthy bones. In this article I will be discussing boron in more detail.
WHEN WAS BORON DISCOVERED?
Boron occurs naturally and people have been aware of this element since ancient times. It was first mentioned in a book by the Persian alchemist Rhazes between 865 B.C. and 925 B.C. In this book Rhazes broke minerals down into six classes one of which was the boraces which included borax (a boron compound). Borax was used by early craftsmen to reduce the melting point of the materials used to make glass, to melt the ores of metals and to isolate the ores from metals.
In 1808 Sir Humphry Davy (who had already discovered chloride, potassium and sodium in 1807) started working on a solution to isolate boron. At the same time in France two chemists (Louis Jacques Thênard and Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac) were given better equipment by emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and tasked with surpassing Davy’s work on metals. The end result was that all three chemists isolated boron at around the same time by reacting boric acid with potassium. Therefore, Davy, Thênard and Gay-Lussac are all credited with isolating boron in 1808.
HOW DOES YOUR BODY USE BORON?
Boron is not stored in the body but it is still has many important uses. As mentioned above, it contributes to good bone health whilst also offering protection from certain health conditions. The list below outlines the main roles of boron in the body:
– Assisting in the activation and metabolism of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin D (which support strong, healthy bones).
– Assisting in the production of oestrogen in women.
– Enhancing testosterone levels in men.
– Improving brain function and cognitive performance.
– Maintaining healthy cell membranes.
– Preventing blood clots.
– Preventing bone related conditions such as arthritis (inflammation of the joints) and osteoporosis (porous bones).
– Protection from fungal infections.
– Protection from heart disease.
– Reducing the loss of calcium and magnesium in the urine (which contributes to good bone health).
– Supporting proper embryonic development in pregnant women.
HOW MUCH BORON DO YOU NEED?
There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for boron but most sources suggest a daily intake of around 1mg is enough to support the body. Daily consumption of up to 10mg is considered safe.
WHICH FOODS CONTAIN BORON?
Plant foods are the best source of boron but the actual level depends upon the soil in which it is grown. The list below contains seven of the best boron foods:
– Almonds:- 2.8mg per 100g.
– Apples:- 0.32mg per 100g.
– Brazil Nuts:- 1.7mg per 100g.
– Oranges:- 0.25mg per 100g.
– Plums:- 0.45mg per 100g.
– Raisins:- 4.47mg per 100g.
– Red Grapes:- 0.5mg per 100g.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GETTING TOO MUCH BORON?
As I mentioned above boron intakes below 10mg per day are considered safe. Toxicity symptoms usually start to surface when your daily intake of this nutrient exceeds 50mg per day. The symptoms of boron toxicity include:
– Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin).
– Poor appetite.
– Poor blood circulation.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF NOT GETTING ENOUGH BORON?
Boron deficiency reduces the absorption of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin D. It also increases the amount of calcium and magnesium that is lost in the urine. This has a detrimental effect on bone health and also causes further negative symptoms. The full list of boron deficiency symptoms are listed below:
– Hormone imbalances.
– Joint problems.
– Kidney stones.
– Mineral deficiency (boron deficiency reduces the ability of your body to absorb and retain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin D).
– Muscle pain.
– Osteoporosis (reduced bone mineral density).
– Reduced bone strength.
– Reduced mental alertness.
– Tooth decay.
Boron is not the first mineral you think of when it comes to healthy eating and getting your RDA of nutrients. However, as you can see from this article it plays a key role in overall health and is needed for the proper absorption of various vitamins and minerals. So next time you are picking some fruits, vegetables or nuts to eat, make sure they are rich in boron.
Now I want to hear your thoughts. Were you aware of the role boron has in the body? Does your diet contain high levels of the foods listed. Leave a comment and let me know.