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The healing effects of boron on humans have been of interest to the scientific community for over thirty years. Studies say that boron can reduce the risk of arthritis and prostate cancer. On the other hand, boron supplements are increasingly used by bodybuilders because boron is said to increase testosterone levels.
In our big boron test 2021 we want to give you not only our recommendations but also the scientific background for these claims so that you can find the best dietary supplement for you. Boron is a trace element that is absorbed in very small amounts through food. Supplementation makes sense if you want to enhance the positive effects of boron.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important
- 3 The Best Boron: Our Picks
- 4 Guide: Questions you should deal with before buying Boron
- 5 Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate boron supplements
- 6 Interesting facts about boron
The most important
- The effects of boron on human health are not clear. However, there are promising studies on pain relief in arthritis and osteoarthritis and increasing testosterone levels.
- In Germany, a person gets an average of 1.67 milligrams of boron a day, mostly through food. Water is also a source of the trace element boron.
- As long as the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of 10 milligrams of boron is not exceeded, no side effects are to be expected. An overdose in adults occurs from 15 milligrams a day.
The Best Boron: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should deal with before buying Boron
What is boron?
Boron helps the body metabolise and biosynthesise steroid hormones. (1) Although not recognised as essential for humans, boron is a useful bioactive element. (2)
What is the difference between boron, borax and boric acid?
Boric acid is a very weak oxygen acid of boron and borax (sodium tetraborate) is a mineral salt of boric acids. Both substances contain the element boron and they are sources of boron for the human body. Boron content in borax is 11.3%.
Boric acid and borax are alternative means to pure boron supplements for increasing daily boron intake, but their boron contents are considerably lower.
How does boron work?
An experiment has confirmed that the additional intake of boron as a food supplement in rats with calcium and magnesium deficiency causes an increase in serum calcium and magnesium to normal levels. (3) Furthermore, boron intake can increase the absorption rate of vitamin D in the serum. (4)
It has also been observed that increased dietary boron intake is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer. (5, 6) Animal and cell culture studies show that boron may be a promising anticancer agent in the treatment of prostate cancer. (7)
However, the effects of boron on human health are not yet clear, but there are promising studies and subsequent claims as described here. However, the topic of boron should be further researched by the scientific community. Most existing studies are animal experiments and are therefore not always representative of human health.
Joint and bone health
Boron can relieve pain caused by arthritis and osteoarthritis and has a positive effect on joint and bone health. (8, 9)
In a double-blind pilot study of 20 patients, half of the group taking 6 milligrams of boron in two tablets daily showed improvement in arthritis symptoms, while this ratio was only one in ten in the placebo group. (9) The results are promising, but the number of participants is not enough to make a clear statement.
When taken with other nutrients such as vitamin D3, magnesium and zinc, boron can support bone health. (3)
In addition, research in the USA showed that people living in regions with a low boron content in water are more likely to be affected by arthritis. (8)
A study on osteoporotic rats has shown that dietary supplementation with boron can increase serum boron levels. The increased serum boron content can stimulate bone formation and inhibit bone resorption. This produces an apparent therapeutic effect against osteoporosis. (10, 11)
Boron is commercially marketed to bodybuilding athletes with the claim that the element increases testosterone levels and thus promotes muscle building. (12) However, the results are inconclusive.
A study conducted in 1993 found no significant effects of boron on testosterone levels. This study involved 19 men between the ages of 20 and 27; the group of 10 men took 2.5 milligrams of boron supplement daily for seven weeks, while the other group was treated with a placebo. In the end, it was found that 7 weeks of bodybuilding can increase total testosterone, lean body mass and strength and that the additional boron intake had no effect on these measures. (13)
In contrast, another study from 2011 found very positive results. The study was conducted with 8 men between the ages of 29 and 50. After one week, free testosterone levels increased; dihydrotestosterone, cortisol and vitamin D were elevated. In addition, the concentrations of the three inflammatory biomarkers decreased after supplementation. (2)
The two studies presented here were conducted with very few participants and are therefore not conclusive evidence of a positive or negative effect of boron on testosterone levels.
How much boron should I take daily?
Since boron has not yet been recognized as an essential element for humans, there are no reference values for how much boron one should take daily. However, boron is considered a useful bioactive element for humans. (2)
Children and adolescents should not take boron supplements. Much lower reference values apply to them.
Typically, 3 to 6 milligrams a day is taken for bodybuilding purposes and 6 milligrams of boron is taken for relief of pain caused by arthritis and osteoarthritis. Not to be discounted that this is not a doctor's recommendation! We advise asking a doctor first before taking any supplements.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has established the tolerable upper intake level [Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)] of boron from all sources in adults as 10 milligrams. (15)
What are the possible side effects of taking boron?
Excess boron can usually be excreted in the urine without any problems. (16) The most common symptoms of an overdose are vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. The case studies show that boron ingestion causes no or only minimal toxicity. (17)
When does a boron deficiency occur in the human body?
Below 0.28 milligrams, people can become boron deficient. (19) However, the average boron intake of a person through food is between 0.8 and 1.5 milligrams. (20)
Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate boron supplements
In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate boron supplements.
The criteria you can use to compare the different boron supplements with each other include:
We will then explain what is important in each of the criteria.
Boron supplements are available in the form of tablets or capsules. These have the advantage that the dosage is already predefined and that you do not have to worry about this, as is the case with boron powder. Boron is not sold as a powder.
Boron tablets and boron capsules are usually much smaller than multi-vitamin capsules and therefore easier to swallow.
Most boron supplements have a dosage of 3 milligrams. Since boron is a trace element and daily intake in Germany averages 1.67,(14) a tablet or capsule containing 3 milligrams of boron is considered high-dose.
Boron supplements are available in six-month and one-year supply packs. The pack sizes start at 90 pieces. The tablets and capsules usually have a shelf life of two years.
However, if you want to try Boron first, we recommend that you buy a small pack so that you can see if the Boron supplement really helps you.
In Boron tablets, excipients are used for pressing. In the case of Boron capsules, you should pay attention to the material of the capsule shell. The tablet or the capsule shell may contain additives that are allergenic for you.
The capsule shell may also contain gelatine. However, you will also find many boron supplements on the market with a vegetable capsule shell. Boron tablets, on the other hand, are usually vegan. It is best to find out about the various additives before buying.
However, capsules are also offered as a mixture of calcium, magnesium and boron. Boron as a food supplement can have a positive effect on calcium and magnesium deficiency. (3)
Interesting facts about boron
What foods contain boron?
The trace element boron is found in many foods, even in water. Mineral waters in particular contain large amounts of boric acid.
To give you a good overview of the boron content of the various foods, we have summarised them for you in the following table.
|Peach||7 mg / 100 g|
|Cucumber||3.6 mg / 100 g|
|Plum||2.7 mg / 100 g|
|Beetroot, radish||2.1 mg / 100 g|
|Nuts||2 mg / 100 g|
|Celery||1.1 mg / 100 g|
|Avocado||1 mg / 100 g|
|Red wine||0.9 mg / 100 ml|
|Cereals||0.6 mg / 100 g|
|Apricot||0.5 mg / 100 g|
|Carrot/ carrot||0.3 mg / 100 g|
|Kale, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts||0.3 mg / 100 g|
|Cauliflower, broccoli||0.2 mg / 100 g|
|Apple, pear, citrus fruit||0.2 mg / 100 g|
|Tomato||0.1 mg / 100 g|
What are the uses of boron in agriculture?
Boron is very important for plants, along with calcium and potassium. Boron contributes to the stability of cell walls, sugar formation and various metabolic processes.
Boron is essential for plants and cannot be shifted. Since the plants cannot absorb enough boron from the soil, a boron deficiency can quickly occur and top dressing is necessary.
Image source: Luchschen/ 123rf.com
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