borax

Boron (B)

Boron (B)

Mineral Health Connection Series

Boron compounds were known by ancient humans thousands of years ago. "Boron" was derived from the Arabic word "buraq" or the Persian word "burah", and in Sanskrit, "tincal". These are all names for Borax. 

To this day, many households still use boron in various cleaning and laundry products such as the iconic 20 Mule Team Borax laundry booster, or "Boraxo", a powdered hand soap, and can also be found in tooth whitening compounds. 

Boron is a unique elemental chemical and not a metallic mineral. Rather than being produced via stellar nucleosynthesis, boron is produced by cosmic spallation. Boron is of low abundance in both the Earth's crust and the solar system. It is concentrated on Earth by the water-solubility of more common and naturally occurring borate mineral compounds. Borate minerals are typically mined as evaporates, such as borax, boric acid, ulexite, colemanite, boracite, tourmaline, and kernite.  

Sources Of Boron

Leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, wine, cider, beer, brown algae.

Functions In The Body

Boron is essential to life for all organisms including both plants and animals. Properties of boric acid include anti-fungal, antiseptic, and antiviral and mildly antimicrobial. Mild solutions of boric acid are used as a wound disinfectant and as an antiseptic eyewash.  Boron seems to aid in the formation of steroid hormones (estrogen) and vitamin D and estrogen and improves copper metabolism. Magnesium deficiency accentuates the effects of boron. [1][2]

Boron is required for the maintenance and metabolism of bone and normal blood levels of estrogen and testosterone; assisting both calcium [4] and magnesium in their functions. Boron is also essential for the proper function of the endocrine glands such as the ovaries, testes, and adrenals. 

  • Increases production of estrogen [4] and testosterone

  • Helps prevent osteoporosis and post-menopausal symptoms

  • May be necessary for growth (animal experiments)

  • Supportive for joints in those with osteo, rheumatoid and juvenile arthritis [5]

Within eight days of supplementing boron, women lost 40 percent less calcium, 33 percent less magnesium and less phosphorus through their urine. Women consuming boron supplementation had blood levels of estradiol 17B doubled to "levels found in women on estrogen replacement therapy,” and that levels of testosterone almost doubles in both men and women. 

The pharmaceutical, Bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor, is used for the treatment of bone marrow cancer (multiple myeloma) and certain lymphoma. 

Symptoms Associated With A Boron Excess

Low toxicity. In animals, excessive intake affects calcium metabolism and may cause osteoporosis and increased urinary excretion of riboflavin.

In Biology, borates have low toxicity and are similar to table salt. However, it is much more toxic to insects (arthropods) and can be used as insecticides. 

Symptoms Associated With A Boron Deficiency

Osteoporosis, hot flashes and vaginal dryness in post-menopausal women.

Serine metabolism dysregulation.

Hair Analysis Notes

Significance in the hair is not apparent at this point.

Helpful with high calcium and magnesium levels due to its relationship with boron and the amino acid serine.

Research 

[1] Newnham, R.E., “‘Essentiality of Boron for Healthy Bones and joints,”‘ Environmental Health Perspectives, 102: supplement (November 1994), pp. 83-85.

[2] J Am Coll Nutr 1996 Dec;15(6):614-619

[3] Sharmin N, Hasan MS, Parsons AJ, Furniss D, Scotchford CA, Ahmed I, et al. Effect of Boron Addition on the Thermal, Degradation, and Cytocompatibility Properties of Phosphate-Based Glasses. BioMed research international. 2013;2013.

[4] Hunt CD. Dietary boron: progress in establishing essential roles in human physiology. Journal of trace elements in medicine and biology: organ of the Society for Minerals and Trace Elements (GMS). 2012; 26(2-3):157-60.

[5] Boron. Alternative Medicine Review. 2004; 9(4):434-7.