Alexander G. Schauss, Ph.D
AIBR Life Sciences Division
Boron is a light trace element that is turning out to be essential to
human health and behavior.
The word boron has its origin in the Persian and Arabic words for "borax,"
a compound that contains the element boron, and is more often found in dry
climates. The importance of boron to human health did not even become
apparent to scientists until the mid-1980's, so it isn't surprising if you
know little about this trace element.
For many centuries healers gave people who were excited the "sedative
salt" boric acid, another compound containing boron. Today it has been
scientifically demonstrated that boron is important to brain function,
especially in enhancing memory, cognitive function, and hand-eye
The highest concentrations of boron are found in the drinking water and
soil of some of the driest climate areas in the world, such as the Red Sea
of the Middle East, the inland deserts of Australia, or the deserts of the
United States and Chile.
Evidence continues to mount that boron may reduce either the symptoms or
incidence of arthritis. Although the connection between arthritis and
boron was first discovered in sheep and chickens, researchers have found a
curious association between the amount of boron in the soil and drinking
water, and the incidence of arthritis in a population. For example, in the
most arid areas of the world, the incidence of arthritis tends to be
dramatically lower than in the rain-laden areas. Arid areas have been
found to have the highest concentrations of boron in the drinking water
and soil. This is most interesting since it is well known that boron can
get more readily leached out of the soil in wet climates. This is one
reason most good farmers and ranchers check for the level of boron in
their soil. If boron concentrations are low, they may give their crops or
livestock supplemental feed containing this important trace element.
In post-menopausal females who are magnesium deficient, it has been
scientifically demonstrated that 3 milligrams of boron a day added to the
diet resulted in
- Improvements in both calcium and magnesium retention
- Elevations in circulation serum concentrations of testosterone
- Elevations in circulating serum concentrations of 17-beta-estradiol, a form of estrogen
(Similar improvements can also be seen in Vitamin D
deficient post-menopausal females).
No recommended daily allowance (RDA) has been established for boron in
humans at this time. However, the following amounts are recommended to
insure that you have sufficient daily boron intake. Boron is most abundant
in pears, apples and grapes grown in rich boron soil. Other potential food
sources are legumes (soy beans), nuts, and green, leafy vegetables, again
assuming that the boron levels in the soil the foodstuffs were grown in
|Females (post menopause)
|Lactating (1st 6 mos.)
1. Shils, M.E. and Young, V.R. Modern Nutrition in Health and
Disease, 7th Edition. Lea &
Febiger: Philadelphia, 1988.
2. Schauss, A.G. Minerals, Trace Elements and Human Health. Life
Sciences Press: Tacoma, (WA), 1996.
3. Recommended Dietary Allowances, 10th Edition. National
Research Council. National Academy Press: Washington, D.C. 1989.
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