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Boron

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Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • 1-amino-3-[(dihydoxyboryl)methyl]-cyclobutanecarboxylic acid, 2-APB (2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate), 3-[3-(7-NH(3)(+)-nido-m-carboran-1-yl)propan-1-yl] thymidine, 3-carboranyl thymidine analogs (3CTA), 3-carboranlyalkyl thymidine analogs, 3-[(closo-o-carboranyl)methyl] thymidine, 4-META/MMA-TBBO, 10B (pure isotope), 11B (pure isotope), 12-dicarba-closo-dodecaboranel-carboxylate (BCH), alanin-boric compound acid, amine-boranes, amorphous boron (impure boron), AN-2690, Arc Dia TPX®, atomic number 5, B, BCH (12--dicarba-closo-dodecaboranel-carboxylate) (borondifluoride), BF2 (borondifluoride), BF3 (borontrifluoride), bis-phenylboronate, boracic acid [B(OH)3], boracite, boracium, boranophosphate, borate transporter, borates, borax [Na2B4O5(OH)4.8H2O], Borax®, bore, boric acid, boric anhydride, boron 10 (pure isotope), boron 11 (pure isotope), boron aspartate, boron citrate, boron enriched cathode, borondifluoride [BF2], boron fluoride, boron glycinate, boron hydroxide [B(OH)3], boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT), boron nitride, boron oxide [B2O3], boron sesquioxide, boronated aminocyclobutanecarboxylic acid, boronic acid, boronophenylalanine (BPA), burah [Na2B4O5(OH)4.8H2O], buraq [Na2B4O5(OH)4.8H2O], C&B Metabond®, carborane (a carbon-boron compound) closo-dodecarborate, colemanite, crystalline boron (99% pure boron), decaborane, dicarba-closo-dodecaborane, dipyrrylmethene-BF2, Dobill's solution®, drug vitrum osteomag®, furan boron ethers, kernite [Na2B4O5(OH)4.2H2O], magnesium perborate, metaboric acid, rasorite [Na2B4O5(OH)4.2H2O], MMA-TBB (methyl methacrylate tri-n-butylborane), mono-phenylboronate, NH(2)-closo-m-carborane, NH(3)(+)-nido-m-carborane-substituted thymidine analogues, orthoboric acid, ortho-carborane derivative, sassolite, sodium biborate, sodium borate, sodium borocaptate, sodium metaborate, sodium perborate, sodium pyroborate, sodium tetraborate [Na2B4O5(OH)4.8H2O], sal sedativum [B(OH)3], sodium tetraborate, Superbond C&B®, Tincal®, TBB (tri-n-butylborane), TBBO (tri-n-butylborane partially oxide), tetracarboranylketone 4, thermal water, tincal [Na2B4O5(OH)4.8H2O], tribromide, tributylborane (TBB), trifluoride-methanol [BF3-MeOH], tri-n-butylborane partially oxide (TBBO), ulexite [CaB4O7*NaBO2*8H2O], zwitterionic 3-carboranyl thymidine analogues.

Background
  • Boron is a trace element that is found throughout the global environment. It has been suggested for numerous medicinal purposes, but there is a lack of strong evidence for any specific use. Preliminary studies report that boron may not be helpful for enhancing bodybuilding, reducing menopausal symptoms, or treating psoriasis.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Boron may increase hormone (estrogen) levels in women, reducing vaginal discomfort after menopause. More research is needed in humans before a strong conclusion can be reached.

C


Preliminary human study reports better performance on tasks of eye-hand coordination, attention, perception, short-term memory, and long-term memory with boron supplementation. However, additional research is needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn.

C


Based on human population research, in a boron rich environment, people appear to have fewer joint disorders. It has also been proposed that boron deficiency may contribute to the development of osteoarthritis. However, there is no clear human evidence that supplementation with boron is beneficial as prevention against or as a treatment for osteoarthritis.

C


Animal and preliminary human studies report that boron may play a role in mineral metabolism, with effects on calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. However, research of bone mineral density in women taking boron supplements does not clearly demonstrate benefits in osteoporosis. Additional study is needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn.

C


Inorganic boron (boric acid, borax) has been used as an antiseptic based on proposed antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is proposed that boric acid may have effects against candidal and non-candidal vulvovaginitis. A limited amount of poor-quality research reports that boric acid capsules used in the vagina may be effective for vaginitis. Further evidence is needed before a recommendation can be made.

C


There is preliminary negative evidence for the use of boron for improving performance in bodybuilding by increasing testosterone. Although boron is suggested to raise testosterone levels, in early human research, total lean body mass has not been affected by boron supplementation in bodybuilders. Additional research is necessary before a firm conclusion can be drawn.

D


It has been proposed that boron affects estrogen levels in post-menopausal women. However, preliminary studies have found no changes in menopausal symptoms.

D


It has been proposed that boron may affect the activity of certain blood clotting factors. Study results conflict. There is not enough evidence in this area to form a clear conclusion.

D


Preliminary human study of an ointment including boric acid does not report significant benefits in psoriasis.

D
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, bone healing, breast cancer, cancer, diabetes, diaper rash (avoid due to case reports of death in infants from absorbing boron through skin or when taken by mouth), eye cleansing, high cholesterol, hypersensitivity to temperature, increasing lifespan, leukemia, onychomycosis (fungal infection), pain, prostate cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, vitamin D deficiency, wound care.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • The average reported boron intake in the American diet is 1.17 milligrams per day for men, 0.96 milligrams per day for women and 1.29 to 1.47 milligrams per day for vegetarians. High boron content foods include peanut butter, wine, grapes, beans, and peaches. 2.5 to 6 milligrams have been taken by mouth in studies.
  • For psoriasis, 1.5% boric acid with 3% zinc oxide ointment applied to the skin as needed has been studied. Boric acid powder capsules administered vaginally daily have also been studied. Safety and effectiveness have not been well established.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • There is not enough scientific data to recommend the safe use of boron in children. Case reports exist of death in infants following the use of boron (taken by mouth or placed on the skin).

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Boron should be avoided in patients who have a history of reactions to boron, boric acid, borax, citrate, aspartate, or glycinate.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Boron is potentially toxic, although humans tend to rapidly excrete it and therefore boron does not usually accumulate in high levels. In adults, it is believed that adverse reactions associated with low doses of boron per day are less likely to occur, and there are few reports of toxicity. Large doses may result in acute poisoning. There are fatal case reports of infants who have been exposed to boron by mouth or on the skin. Historically, a honey and borax solution was used to clean infant pacifiers, and topical boric acid powder was used to prevent diaper rash. However, these practices were associated with several infant deaths.
  • Boron toxicity may cause skin rash, nausea, vomiting (may be blue-green color), diarrhea (may be blue-green color), abdominal pain, and headache. Low blood pressure and metabolic changes in the blood (acidosis) have been reported. Agitation and irritability, or the opposite reaction (weakness, lethargy, depression), may occur. Fever, hyperthermia, tremors, and seizure have been reported. Based on animal study, excess amounts of boron ingestion have been shown to cause testicular toxicity, decreased sperm motility, and reduced fertility. Hair loss has been reported with boron poisoning. Chronic boron exposure may cause dehydration, seizures, low red blood cell count, as well as kidney or liver damage.
  • Boron is proposed to increase blood levels of estrogen and testosterone, with mixed results of research. Boron may be associated with reduced blood levels of calcitonin, insulin, or phosphorus and with increased levels of vitamin D2, calcium, copper, magnesium, or thyroxine. Exposure to boric acid or boron oxide dust can cause eye irritation, dryness of the mouth or nose, sore throat, and productive cough.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is not enough scientific evidence to recommend the safe use of boron during pregnancy or breastfeeding. There is a trace amount of boron distributed to human milk. Excessive amounts of boron taken by mouth may cause toxicity in male fertility.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Magnesium may interfere with the effects of boron in the body. Sources of magnesium may include antacids containing magnesium oxide or magnesium sulfate (milk of magnesia, Maalox®).
  • In theory, use of boron with estrogen-active drugs such as birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy may result in increased estrogen effects. Use of boron with testosterone-active drugs such as Testoderm® may result in increased testosterone effects.
  • Supplemental boron may decrease insulin levels in the blood. It may also alter thyroid hormone levels.
  • Alzheimer's drugs, analgesics (pain relievers), androgens, anti-inflammatories, antilipemics (cholesterol-lowering), antineoplastic agents, antiviral agents, arthritis agents, dopamine agonists, dopamine antagonists, drugs that damage the liver, osteoporosis agents, and drugs eliminated by the kidney may interact with boron.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Boron supplementation may result in increased calcium levels in the blood and may add to the effects of calcium or vitamin D supplementation. Boron may interact with herbs or supplements that have effects similar to antacids.
  • Supplemental boron may decrease phosphorous levels in the blood.
  • In theory, use of boron with estrogen-active herbs or supplements may result in increased estrogen effects.
  • Supplemental boron may decrease insulin levels in the blood. It may also alter thyroid hormone levels.
  • Alzheimer's agents, analgesics (pain relievers), androgens, anti-inflammatoriess, antilipemics (cholesterol-lowering), antineoplastics, antivirals, arthritis agents, dopamine agonists, dopamine antagonists, herbs and supplements that damage the liver, osteoporosis agents, phytoestrogens, and herbs and supplements cleared by the kidneys may interact with boron.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Benevolenskaia LI, Toroptsova NV, Nikitinskaia OA, et al. [Vitrum osteomag in prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women: results of the comparative open multicenter trial] Ter Arkh. 2004;76(11):88-93.
  2. Biquet I, Collette J, Dauphin JF, et al. Prevention of postmenopausal bone loss by administration of boron. Osteoporos Int 1996;6 Suppl 1:249.
  3. Devarian TA, Volpe SL. The physiological effects of dietary boron. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2003;43(2):219-231.
  4. Guaschino S, De Seta F, Sartore A, et al. Efficacy of maintenance therapy with topical boric acid in comparison with oral itraconazole in the treatment of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2001;184(4):598-602.
  5. Hunt CD, Herbel JL, Nielsen FH. Metabolic responses of postmenopausal women to supplemental dietary boron and aluminum during usual and low magnesium intake: boron, calcium, and magnesium absorption and retention and blood mineral concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr 1997;65(3):803-813.
  6. Murmu N, Ghosh P, Gomes A, et al. Antineoplastic effect of new boron compounds against leukemic cell lines and cells from leukemic patients. J Exp.Clin.Cancer Res 2002;21(3):351-356.
  7. Nielsen FH, Penland JG. Boron supplementation of peri-menopausal women affects boron metabolism and indices associated with macromineral metabolism, hormonal status and immune function. J Trace Elements Experimental Med 1999;12(3):251-261.
  8. Nielsen FH, Hunt CD, Mullen LM, et al. Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women. FASEB J 1987;1(5):394-397.
  9. Nzietchueng RM, Dousset B, Franck P, et al. Mechanisms implicated in the effects of boron on wound healing. J Trace Elem Med Biol 2002;16(4):239-244.
  10. Penland JG. Dietary boron, brain function, and cognitive performance. Environ Health Perspect 1994;102 Suppl 7:65-72.
  11. Travers RL, Rennie GC, Newnham RE. Boron and arthritis: the results of a double-blind pilot study. J Nutritional Med 1990;1:127-132.
  12. Usuda K, Kono K, Yoshida Y. Serum boron concentration from inhabitants of an urban area in Japan. Reference value and interval for the health screening of boron exposure. Biol Trace Elem Res 1997;56(2):167-178.
  13. Van Slyke KK, Michel VP, Rein MF. The boric acid powder treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis. J Am Coll.Health Assoc 1981;30(3):107-109.
  14. Van Slyke KK, Michel VP, Rein MF. Treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis with boric acid powder. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 9-15-1981;141(2):145-148.
  15. Volpe SL, Taper LJ, Meacham S. The relationship between boron and magnesium status and bone mineral density in the human: a review. Magnes Res 1993;6(3):291-296.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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