Boron is a trace mineral proven to play an important role in:
- growth and maintenance of bone;
- wound healing;
- facilitating of estrogen, testosterone, vitamin D, and magnesium absorption;
- reducing of inflammation;
- increasing protection against oxidative stress and heavy metal toxicity;
- improving cognitive performance and short-term memory for elders.
Moreover, boron has shown therapeutic effects in the prostate, breast, cervical, and lung cancers, and some lymphomas. Despite these essential functions of boron in the human body, its exact mechanisms of action are poorly understood.
Does boron stimulate testosterone production in humans?
Boron is believed to play a key role in balancing the natural production of testosterone and estradiol both in males and females.
In a study by Nielsen and colleagues (1987) boron supplementation, 3 mg/day, of postmenopausal women resulted in doubling serum estradiol and testosterone levels. Later, in 1997, Naghii et al. reported a similar elevation in serum levels of estradiol in healthy males after 4 weeks of dietary supplementation with boron.
In a further study, Naghii and colleagues (2011) reported a significant decrease of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), an increase in free testosterone, from 11.83 pg/mL to 15.18 pg/mL; and a drop of estradiol levels from 42.33 pg/mL to 25.81 pg/mL in healthy males after a week of boron supplementation of 10 mg/day. Androgen amplifier effects of boron were demonstrated by a significant increase of important sex steroid ratios: the ratio of free bioactive testosterone to total testosterone increased from 3.62 to 4.66 and the ratio of testosterone to estradiol rose from 91.68 to 148.
Similar results have been shown in a study by Mjilkovich et al. (2009). Treatment of males with 12mg/day boron for 2-months resulted in a 29% increase of free testosterone, and the adrenal androgen DHEA – by 56%.
Most of the testosterone in the blood (about 98%) is bound to proteins, primarily to SHBG, and is not available for biological reaction. And another fact is, the content of SHBG increases with age. So the elevation of free testosterone with boron supplementation may have important beneficial consequences, especially in aging men.
The study also revealed a significant decrease of inflammatory indicators, such as interleukin 6, from 1.55 pg/mL to 0.87 pg/mL, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein by 50%, and tumor necrosis factor α by about 30%.
Boron reduces inflammation and interferes with cancer growth.
Epidemiological and controlled animal and human studies suggest boron as an effective treatment for osteoarthritis. Researchers found that the prevalence of osteoarthritis ranges from 20% to 70% in areas where boron intake is around 1 mg/d and from 0% to 10% – in the areas where boron intake is usually 3 to 10 mg/d.
Organic boron, calcium fructoborate found in plant foods, is a compound of boron, fructose, and calcium.
A two-month study showed highly positive effects of calcium fructoborate on osteoarthritis symptoms. In the group with severe osteoarthritis, (patients received 12 mg/day of boron) pain reduction was 48% at 4 weeks and 65% at 8 weeks. 40% of patients reduced or stopped using ibuprofen as a pain killer during the first 4 weeks, and 75% had quit intake of ibuprofen by 8 weeks. Joint rigidity disappeared in one-half of the severe osteoarthritis patients in the first 4 weeks.
In the group of patients with mild and medium osteoarthritis (6 mg/day of boron supplementation), by 8 weeks 67% had stopped using anti-inflammatory medication and all patients were rigidity free.
Prostate, breast, cervical, and lung cancers proved to be most sensitive to calcium fructoborate treatment. A study published in “Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry” (2010) found that boron-rich diets resulted in a significantly lower risk for prostate and cervical cancer and decreased lung cancer risk in smoking women.
Recommended doses of boron intake.
Despite the numerous health benefits of boron in the human body and extensive studies, no recommended daily doses have been set for boron so far. 20 mg/d of boron has been accepted as the upper intake level for adults. Reported rates for mean boron consumption vary depending on the culinary preferences and the boron concentrations in the soil: 1.7 to 7.0 mg/d in the United States and 0.8 to 1.9 mg/d in the European Union.
In the previous studies, the beneficial effects of boron on bone, sex steroids, and vitamin D appeared only at intakes of over 3 mg/d. The careful analysis of the evidence-based data and the absence of noticeable negative side effects allow suggesting boron supplementation of 3 mg/d for the people consuming a low vegetable and fruit diet or individuals at risk for prostate, breast, and lung cancer, or who has bone issues such as osteopenia, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis.
Before taking any supplements, consult with your healthcare provider.
If you prefer the natural way of satisfying the body’s needs in boron, include in your diet a wide assortment of plant-based foods to get enough calcium fructoborate.
Chemical Analysis of Boron Content (mg/100 g) in the Top 10 Foods.
Adapted Lara Pizzorno (2015).
If you use computer software to determine the content of boron in the food, pay attention, that the currently available databases such as Food Processor greatly overestimate its values, being up to 3 to 4 times higher than the values found using chemical analysis.
Fruits, leafy vegetables, nuts, peanuts, raisins, and legumes, are rich in boron as are wine, cider, and beer – beverages from fermented plants. Meat, fish, and dairy products, and coffee are poor sources of boron.
The results of the researches mentioned evidence that despite its cheapness and ease to get, boron is much more potent and effective in terms of natural testosterone boosting than many more popular products T-boosters available on the market. Why not try it, moreover, boron has so many other health benefits, particularly in elderly people?
- Nielsen FH, Hunt CD, Mullen LM, Hunt JR. Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women. FASEB J. 1987;1(5):394–397.
- Naghii MR, Samman S. The effect of boron supplementation on its urinary excretion and selected cardiovascular risk factors in healthy male subjects. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1997;56(3):273–286.
- Naghii MR, Mofid M, Asgari AR, Hedayati M, Daneshpour MS. Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2011;25(1):54–58.
- Scorei R, Mitrut P, Petrisor I, Scorei I. A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study to evaluate the effect of calcium fructoborate on systemic inflammation and dyslipidemia markers for middle-aged people with primary osteoarthritis. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Dec; 144(1-3):253-63.
- Korkmaz M, Sayli U, Sayli BS, Bakirdere S, Titretir S, Yavuz Ataman O, Keskin S Estimation of human daily boron exposure in a boron-rich area. Br J Nutr. 2007 Sep; 98(3):571-5.
- Miljkovic D, Scorei RI, Cimpoiaşu VM, Scorei ID Calcium fructoborate: plant-based dietary boron for human nutrition. J Diet Suppl. 2009; 6(3):211-26.
- Lara Pizzorno (2015) Nothing Boring About Boron. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2015 Aug; 14(4): 35–48.