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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

Minerals: Boron's Role in Human Health

Updated: Apr 5


skeleton
Boron and calcium like each other

The boron atom, on the Periodic Table, refers to a chemical element known as "boron." Here's a simple guide to what boron is:


  • Element Symbol: B

  • Atomic Number: 5

  • Category: Metalloid (has properties of both metals and non-metals)

  • State at Room Temperature: Solid

  • Appearance: Boron is a dark, non-metallic, solid element.

  • Common Uses: Boron has various applications, including in the production of borosilicate glass (Pyrex), ceramics, fertilisers, and as a neutron absorber in nuclear reactors.

  • Biological Importance: Boron is considered an essential trace element for some organisms, including plants. It plays a role in plant growth and development.

  • Occurrence: Boron is found naturally in the Earth's crust and is typically extracted from borate minerals.

In summary, boron is a chemical element represented by the symbol "B" on the Periodic Table. It is a metalloid with various practical applications and is also important for some living organisms, particularly plants, in trace amounts.


Sources Of Boron

Leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, wine, cider, and beer


Functions In The Body

Boron is an essential trace element for some living organisms, including humans, but its precise role in human health is still not fully understood. Here are some potential roles and benefits of boron for human health:


  1. Bone Health: Boron may play a role in bone health by aiding in the metabolism of calcium and magnesium. Some studies suggest that boron supplementation could help improve bone density, which is important for preventing osteoporosis.

  2. Joint Health: Boron may be involved in joint health. Some research indicates that boron supplements could alleviate joint discomfort, particularly in individuals with conditions like osteoarthritis.

  3. Hormone Regulation: Boron may influence hormone levels in the body. It may help regulate hormones like oestrogen and testosterone, which are important for various physiological processes.

  4. Brain Function: Boron could have a positive impact on cognitive function and brain health. Some studies suggest that boron may enhance cognitive performance and memory.

  5. Wound Healing: Boron may promote wound healing. It's been investigated for its potential to accelerate the healing of wounds and skin conditions.

  6. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Boron may have anti-inflammatory effects. It could help reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with various chronic diseases.

  7. Arthritis Relief: Boron supplements have been explored as a potential remedy for arthritis, as some individuals report reduced joint pain and stiffness with boron supplementation.

  8. Growth: May be necessary for growth

It's important to note that while boron appears to have potential health benefits, more research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms of action and the optimal dietary or supplemental intake. Boron is considered safe when consumed in moderate amounts through a balanced diet. However, excessive boron intake can be toxic and lead to adverse health effects.


Boron Toxicity on Human Health

Boron toxicity is relatively rare, as most people obtain an appropriate amount of boron from their diet. However, excessive boron intake can lead to adverse health effects. Here are some symptoms of boron toxicity:


  1. Gastrointestinal Distress: Boron toxicity can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain.

  2. Skin Irritation: Excessive boron exposure, particularly through contact with boron-containing compounds, can lead to skin irritation, redness, and rashes.

  3. Respiratory Issues: Inhaling boron-containing dust or fumes can irritate the respiratory tract, leading to coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

  4. Neurological Symptoms: High levels of boron exposure may result in neurological symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and confusion.

  5. Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Boron toxicity can also cause more severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including gastrointestinal bleeding and liver damage.

  6. Reproductive and Developmental Effects: Boron exposure during pregnancy may lead to developmental issues in the foetus. It can also affect male fertility by reducing sperm count and motility.

  7. Cardiovascular Symptoms: In rare cases, boron toxicity may lead to irregular heart rhythms and other cardiovascular issues.

It's important to note that boron toxicity is typically associated with occupational exposure to boron-containing compounds or ingestion of large amounts of boron supplements. Most individuals obtain adequate boron from a balanced diet, and dietary boron is generally considered safe. However, if you suspect boron toxicity or experience any of the above symptoms after significant boron exposure, it's essential to seek medical attention promptly.


Mineral antagonists to boron

Mineral antagonists to boron are substances that can help counteract the potential negative effects of excessive boron exposure in the body. These antagonists can help regulate boron levels and reduce its impact. However, it's essential to note that boron is a trace mineral that's generally required in small amounts for various biological functions, and excessive intake of boron is uncommon. Nonetheless, here are some mineral antagonists to boron:


  1. Calcium: Calcium can compete with boron for absorption in the intestines. Adequate calcium intake may help reduce the absorption of excessive boron.

  2. Magnesium: Magnesium is another mineral that can interact with boron and reduce its absorption.

  3. Phosphorus: Phosphorus may also interfere with boron absorption when present in adequate amounts.

  4. Iron: Iron supplements may reduce the absorption of boron in the gastrointestinal tract.

  5. Copper: Copper is known to interact with boron, and higher copper levels may help counteract excessive boron.

  6. Zinc: Zinc can compete with boron for absorption sites in the intestines.

It's important to emphasise that boron is generally considered safe when consumed in appropriate amounts from dietary sources. However, excessive boron intake from supplements or environmental exposure can lead to toxicity. If there are concerns about boron exposure or its potential effects, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on managing boron levels in the body.


Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis and Boron

Hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) is a diagnostic test that analyses the mineral content in a hair sample. While HTMA primarily focuses on the measurement of various minerals, including essential and toxic elements, it can provide insights into the body's boron levels as well.


Here's how HTMA can relate to boron:

  1. Boron Measurement: HTMA can detect the presence and concentration of boron in the hair tissue. Boron is one of the minerals routinely tested in HTMA because it plays a role in various physiological processes.

  2. Nutritional Assessment: Boron levels in hair can be indicative of an individual's nutritional status. Low boron levels may suggest a deficiency, while high levels might be associated with excessive boron intake.

  3. Health Implications: HTMA results, including boron levels, can be interpreted in the context of an individual's overall health. Boron is known to have potential health benefits, including supporting bone health, hormone balance, and brain function. Deviations from the normal range may warrant further investigation.

  4. Toxicity Assessment: Although boron is generally considered safe at recommended dietary levels, excessive boron exposure can lead to toxicity. HTMA can help identify unusually high boron levels that may suggest overexposure.

  5. Personalised Recommendations: Based on HTMA results, healthcare practitioners can provide personalised recommendations regarding boron intake through diet or supplements. This can be especially relevant for individuals with specific health concerns or deficiencies.

It's important to note that interpreting HTMA results, including boron levels, requires expertise in mineral analysis and nutritional assessment. Therefore, individuals interested in using HTMA for assessing boron status or overall mineral balance should consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner or nutritionist who specialises in this type of analysis.


Additionally, while HTMA can offer valuable insights into an individual's mineral profile, it's just one tool among many for assessing nutritional status and health. It should be considered alongside a comprehensive evaluation of an individual's medical history, dietary habits, and other diagnostic tests to provide a complete picture of their health and nutritional needs.


Here's a commercial agriculture site with information about boron, but factual:

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1 comentario


dtk
13 oct 2023

I grow bananas & macadamias and a boron deficiency can lead to problems with fertilisation & flower set. In bananas it can lead to hard bits in the center of the fruit (also lack of Ca will do that too). If broccoli has a hollow stem then that is a B deficiency & I suspect it is the same for cauliflower. One can supply B in the vege garden by using rotted fish/seaweed incorporated into the growing medium (best option) or by using borax, boracic acid, solubor (1/3 tsp/10l of water mixed with some other organic substance) or organibor with the last option being better. It is slow release and will supply B for around 4 years at 10g/sq m…

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