Boron Benefits and Uses

Boron: Benefits and Uses

You’re likely aware that you need your daily dose of B vitamins like thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and B12 (cyanocobalamin). But did you know there’s another B that can support your health? Boron is an element with numerous benefits that might be essential for your well-being.

Keep reading to learn how boron, praised for its health benefits, can help manage diabetes, high cholesterol, and vaginal yeast infections.

Boron Basics

Boron Basics

Boron is a trace mineral found in many plant-based foods and is also available as a dietary supplement. It's a hard, metallic element (symbol B, atomic number 5) that you might remember from high school chemistry. Some scientists believe it could have been crucial for the origin and evolution of life.

Although more research is needed to fully understand boron's role in the human body, increasing evidence shows it positively impacts reproduction and development, calcium metabolism, brain function, bone formation, insulin metabolism, immunity, and the function of steroid hormones.

Unlike macrominerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, our bodies require only small amounts of boron and other trace minerals such as selenium, iron, copper, and zinc. These trace minerals act as catalysts in enzyme systems, helping break down complex molecules into usable units.

Despite substantial evidence supporting boron's benefits, the United States Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board has not yet established a recommended intake for boron, so there is no official Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).

The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that a daily intake of 1 to 13 milligrams is safe and healthy based on animal and human studies. For adults over 19, the Food and Nutrition Board states that the upper limit is 20 milligrams per day.

Boron Supplement Benefits

So, what do boron supplements do? Research suggests that boron supplementation can offer various benefits, including supporting bone health, balancing hormones, and treating arthritis.

You can find boron supplements on their own or as part of vitamin and mineral formulas. Boron supplements come in several forms, such as sodium borate, boron amino acid chelate, boron citrate, and calcium boron.

Boron in the form of boric acid is also used vaginally to treat yeast infections, and it can be applied topically to help heal wounds and injured skin.

Boron Uses

Boron has numerous beneficial effects on the body, influencing various biological and biochemical systems. Scientists are beginning to unravel its mechanisms and discover all its potential uses and benefits.

Research indicates that boron positively affects bone health, the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, immune system, and endocrine system. It may also help reduce inflammation and modulate oxidative stress.

A lack of boron in your diet can be detrimental to your health, leading to symptoms such as arthritis, bone loss, and weakened immunity.

Heart Health

Heart Health

Evidence is growing that boron supports heart health and the cardiovascular system. It appears to significantly lower total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides. Boron also seems to modulate inflammation, a key factor in the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.

A randomized controlled trial involving patients with stable angina (chest pain associated with heart disease) found that a combination of resveratrol and calcium fluoroborate improved quality of life and cholesterol levels. Animal studies have shown that boron significantly lowers triglycerides and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.

A review of boron's effects on cardiovascular disease risk factors concluded that boron-containing compounds might offer cardioprotective effects, making them useful as supplements or in medications.



Diabetes affects 537 million adults and occurs when the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin (the hormone that moves glucose from the bloodstream into cells) or can’t use it properly, leading to elevated blood sugar levels.

Research suggests that boron, along with spices like cinnamon and garlic, green tea, and the supplement chromium, may help manage blood sugar levels.

One study found that blood levels of boron were significantly higher in people without diabetes than in those with the disease, suggesting that boron supplementation may help treat diabetes and obesity.

An animal study revealed that boron-deprived rats had significantly higher insulin levels than those receiving boron supplementation. Another study found that rats fed boron for 28 days experienced decreases in insulin, body weight, and leptin, a hormone that increases satiety.

Additionally, a test-tube study found that boron enhanced the survival and maintenance of pancreatic beta cells, which are responsible for making, storing, and releasing insulin.

Feminine Care and Health

Vaginal yeast and bacterial infections are common among women, affecting an estimated 75% of women at some point in their lives. These infections often result from an imbalance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria.

Using a boric acid suppository, along with improving gut health by consuming probiotics and prebiotics, can help treat yeast infections. Boric acid has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Test tube studies have shown that boron inhibits the growth of Candida, the yeast that causes infections.

A clinical review on boric acid for recurrent vaginal candidiasis concluded that it is a safe and affordable treatment option for women with chronic symptoms of vaginitis.

Before using boric acid suppositories for a vaginal infection, consult your healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis and understand all your treatment options.

Bone Health

Bone Health

Boron plays a crucial role in bone metabolism and development, supporting overall bone health. Scientists believe boron affects bone health by influencing blood levels of vitamin D, estrogen, and testosterone, as well as the body's use of bone minerals like calcium and magnesium.

Studies suggest that boron supplementation can increase bone density and strength, which is particularly beneficial for postmenopausal women at higher risk of osteoporosis due to lower estrogen levels. Approximately 30% of Caucasian postmenopausal women in the United States have osteoporosis.

For decades, scientists have recognized boron's importance for bone health. A 1985 study on postmenopausal women showed that boron supplementation reduced urinary calcium excretion by 44%. More recent research found that calcium fructoborate, a naturally occurring boron-based supplement, boosted bone density in 66 out of 100 patients with osteoporosis.

Animal studies also indicate that boron deficiency negatively affects bone development, growth, thickness, and strength, leading to abnormal limb development. Conversely, boron supplementation has been shown to stimulate bone formation and improve bone strength.

Joint Function and Cartilage Health

Joint Function and Cartilage Health

About 25% of American adults are diagnosed with arthritis. Boron supplementation may offer a safe and effective way to reduce pain, improve physical ability, and help prevent osteoarthritis.

Similar to other joint-supporting supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, turmeric, and Boswellia, boron may help reduce inflammation. Lowering inflammation can support joint health and alleviate recurring pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

A study published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology found that healthy men who took 6 milligrams of boron daily experienced a decrease in three inflammation biomarkers: interleukin, C-reactive protein, and tumor necrosis factor.

Population studies indicate that in regions with low boron intake (1 milligram per day or less), arthritis incidence ranges from 20 to 70%. In contrast, in areas with higher boron intake (3 to 10 milligrams daily), arthritis rates are between 0 and 10%.

A well-designed study on healthy subjects revealed that supplementing with calcium fructoborate for two weeks reduced C-reactive protein by 37%. Another randomized controlled study of middle-aged people with osteoarthritis found that two weeks of boron supplementation reduced C-reactive protein by over 60%.

Hormone Balance

Hormone Balance

Research shows that boron influences the function and levels of various hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid hormone, vitamin D, and insulin.

Boron has been shown to increase sex hormone levels in both women and men. In one study, postmenopausal women on a low-boron diet followed by a boron-rich diet significantly increased their blood levels of estradiol (an estrogen steroid hormone) and testosterone. These increases were nearly double compared to women with low magnesium diets.

Another study found that healthy men who took a 6-milligram boron supplement experienced a significant increase in free testosterone and a decrease in estradiol within just one week.

Brain Function

Brain Function boron

Boron supplementation may benefit the central nervous system and brain function. Although more research is needed, current studies suggest that boron may enhance cognitive performance, memory, and attention span.

Studies on both animals and humans have shown that boron deprivation can decrease electrical brain activity, resembling the effects of general malnutrition. Other research indicates that a lack of boron negatively impacts attention, short-term memory, and tasks requiring motor speed and dexterity.

Wound Healing

Wound Healing

Boron supports the body’s natural healing processes by playing a role in the metabolism of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D, all essential for wound healing and tissue repair.

Topical solutions with 3% boric acid have been shown to speed up the healing of deep wounds. A clinical trial involving women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer found that a boron-based gel significantly reduced radiation dermatitis, a condition affecting 90% of women undergoing such treatment.

Boron Supplement Side Effects

Boron is generally safe when taken in doses below the upper limit of 20 milligrams per day for adults from both food and supplements.

According to the National Institutes of Health, boron does not appear to interfere or interact with other supplements or medications. If you have questions about using boron, consult your doctor or a registered dietitian.

When consumed in safe amounts (under 20 milligrams daily), excess boron is excreted in the urine. However, consuming large doses can be harmful and may cause fertility problems in men. Symptoms of boron toxicity include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Convulsions

Natural Sources of Boron

Boron is found in plant foods such as fruits (especially raisins, currants, and prunes), vegetables, beans and lentils (particularly red kidney beans), and nuts (especially hazelnuts, almonds, and peanuts). Wine, cider, and beer are also good sources of boron. Most grains and animal-based foods like fish, meat, and dairy products are low in boron.

The typical diet provides 0.75 to 1.35 milligrams of boron daily. However, diets high in meats and processed grains often contain less than 0.75 milligrams. Many people don't reach the suggested intake of more than 1 milligram a day and could benefit from boron supplements or a diet rich in boron-containing foods.

Boron tends to accumulate in bones, hair, and nails, but not in other body tissues. It is easily absorbed from supplements and food, with the body absorbing 85 to 90% of the boron consumed and excreting what isn’t needed to maintain the right balance.


Boron is a trace mineral with a wide range of health benefits, from supporting bone and joint health to enhancing brain function and aiding wound healing. While more research is needed to fully understand its role in the body, current evidence suggests that boron supplementation can be beneficial for various aspects of health. Incorporating boron-rich foods into your diet or considering supplements, within safe limits, can help ensure you reap these benefits. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

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