There seems to be mounting evidence that boron is beneficial to humans.1 Grooper states that boron promotes health, but that the mechanism is unclear.2 The proposed mechanisms of action that are beneficial to humans include:
- forming complexes that stabilize ribose, a component of S-adenyslmethionine involved in methylation reactions.1
- forming complexes that affect membrane integrity and function and affects cell signaling1
Reported health benefits include:
- bone growth and maintenance
- CNS function
- Cancer risk reduction
- hormone facilitation
- immune response
- oxidative stress modulation1
Even though there are beneficial effects of boron an adequate intake level has not been established. Instead, a tolerable upper limit has been set at 20mg/day for adults, and 1-3mg/day is thought to be helpful for brain and bone health.2 It is estimated that the average intake in the US of boron is 0.87-1.13mg/day, which means that the average person ingests less than the desirable amount for optimal health.1 This suggests that we would benefit by increasing boron in the diet by eating foods rich in boron such as avocados, peanut butter, prune juice, chocolate, wine, grape juice, and pecans.1
I also found an interesting article that boron is beneficial in breaking up kidney stones.3 They speculate that alterations in steroids by boron, and the reduction of cytokines, along with a possible change in urine calcium may have an impact on stone formation and removal.3 Subjects in this study reported minor pain with passing the stones after boron supplementation was initiated.3 This study was very small, but an interesting read and brings attention to this ignored little gem of a mineral. More clinical trials need to be done to assess the usefulness of boron in urolithiasis and to investigate other uses for it.
- Grooper, SS., Smith, JL, Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. Sixth Edition. 2013. p. 553-554.