You're Probably Not Getting Enough
Boron --- And It's a Problem
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April 4, 2015
By L.. Carr, Contributing Columnist

Do you know how much boron you’re getting? If this trace mineral
hasn’t been on your radar lately, it should be. Research shows that
adequate levels of boron are essential for a healthy prostate, healthy
bones, and a healthy brain. Boron is found in food and as a
supplement. Find out why you should take notice of boron, and the
health benefits it can bring.

What are the Health Benefits of Boron?

Boron was used as a preservative for food during World Wars I and II.
But today it is more likely to be taken as a supplement.

Boron seems to work by affecting how well other minerals such as
magnesium and phosphorous are handled by your body.

In both men and women, good levels of boron have an effect on
estrogen levels, which is important for maintaining healthy bones and
for enhancing mental function. This essential mineral helps treat
osteoarthritis. Boron may also help increase testosterone levels and
assist bodybuilders in the gym.

How Much of this Stuff Do You Need?

Are you getting enough boron? It could be a problem if you’re not –
bone problems, muscle function and mental function could all be
affected by a shortage of this mineral. There is no direct recommended
level of boron intake, although when it is used as a treatment for
osteoarthritis it is common for an intake of 3mg a day to be

Most diets in the US include around 1.5mg to 3mg of boron a day, so,
yes, we could be doing better.

Where to Get Your Boron

Beware of Fuzzy Data on Boron Content of Foods

Given the importance of boron to bones and your health in general, you
would think that there would be loads of data on the precise content of
boron in foods. You would be wrong.  Most sources simply generally
say that nuts, vegetables and fruits are rich in boron, without listing the
specific boron content.  The usual list includes
grains and pulses like
chickpeas and beans, nuts like almonds and walnuts, leafy green
vegetables, prunes, raisins, and non-citrus fruits.

We dug into studies of boron content around the world to find better

One 2008 study from Chungwoon University in South Korea analyzed
the boron content of foods commonly eaten in the Korean diet and
came up with this information on those highest in the mineral:


1. Soybeans        1,642 micrograms of boron per 100 gram serving
2. Seaweeds        6,300 micrograms of boron per 100 gram serving
3. cocoa               2026 micrograms of boron per 100 gram serving

In the US, our food supply is woefully deficient in boron. Moreover, we
are not racking the boron content of foods often enough. In fact,
boron is not listed in the United States Department of Agriculture

In 2002, a group of independent scientists from California set out to
discover the precise boron content of foods common to the American
diet. This research team was led by Charlene J. Rainey, a member of
the US delegation of the United Nations Codex Alimentarius Food
Labeling Committee, who worked with Professor Alicia L. Carriquiry of
Iowa State University for statistical compilations.  Their work was
published in the 2002 edition of The Journal of Food Composition and

Here are the foods Americans eat which are highest in boron:

Among the top 50 boron contributors, the following are high in boron

1. dried fruit                1870 micrograms per 100 gram serving

2. avocado                   1222 micrograms per 100 gram serving

3. nuts and seeds,
on average                   1214 micrograms per 100 gram serving

4. nut/
seed butters ,
e.g. peanut butter
                                    1048 micrograms per 100 gram serving

5. wine                          566 micrograms per 100 gram serving

We looked at the recent scientific evidence to see what the dangers are
from not getting enough boron. What can you expect if your boron
levels are low?

Your Bones Suffer If You Don't Get Enough Boron

Boron is essential for helping keep your bones strong and healthy. It
helps to preserve bone density, which is important for both women and
men, particularly as you get older.

Boron helps bones because it aids in the metabolism of calcium,
magnesium, copper and vitamin D. Boron also affects estrogen and
testosterone, which in turn affects bone health.

A 1987 study from Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center,
North Dakota showed that supplementation with 3mg of boron a day
for 48 days reduced the amount of calcium lost in urine for 13 women
studied in the small trial. This action helps preserve calcium in the body
which helps prevent osteoporosis.

If You Don’t Get Boron You Risk Osteoarthritis

According to a 1994 study from Rex Newnham and Associates, North
Yorkshire, England, in the parts of the world where people get a lot of
boron in their food – between 3mg and 10mg a day – there is a lower
incidence of osteoarthritis.

And, conversely, in areas where there is 1mg or less of boron in the
diet per day there is a higher rate of the disease. However, although
boron is often recommended as a preventative supplement for arthritis,
there is no direct evidence it is helpful.

Boron Reduces Your Risk of Prostate Cancer

Boron is also a prostate-friendly mineral, and if you don’t get enough
of it you could be at higher risk of cancer. According to a 2004 study
from UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles increased dietary boron
intake was associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer in this
small study.

Boron Helps You in the Gym?

Boron is said to help increase testosterone and enhance performance in
the gym or on the sports field, and as such it is often included in sports
supplements. 1999 research from the University of Medical Sciences,
Tehran, Iran suggests this to be the case. But more research needs to
be done before full conclusions can be drawn.

Get Boron to Avoid Rheumatoid Arthritis

The mineral boron is sometimes recommended as a treatment for
rheumatoid arthritis and associated inflammatory conditions. However,
there are no studies proving this link and further research is needed in
order to make this one of the comprehensive boron benefits.

Boron and Estrogen --Why Should Men Care?

Men wondering whether boron will increase their estrogen levels will
be pleased to learn that the effect is not particularly pronounced, and
that the increase is actually linked to that previously mentioned decline
in prostate cancer risk, according to a paper by Zhang ZF, Winton MI,
Rainey C, et al Presented at Experimental Biology 2001.

Healthy Boron Levels Help Prevent Atherosclerosis?

Make sure your boron levels are up to help prevent atherosclerosis,
hardening of the arteries. A 1997 study from the University of Sydney,
NSW, Australia showed that the elevation of estrogen caused by
supplementation with boron had a protective effect against the risk of

[The author thanks her colleague Susan Callahan for her contribution
on the boron content of foods]


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Avocado is one of the richest
sources of boron.