Boron is an element found naturally in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach. It can also be found in grains, prunes, raisins, noncitrus fruits, and nuts.
A person’s daily diet typically contains 1.5 to 3 milligrams (mg) of boron. According to the National Academies Press, the five most common sources of boron in a person’s daily diet are:
- dried beans
Boron helps the body to metabolize key vitamins and minerals, and also affects estrogen and testosterone levels. There is no established dietary recommendation for boron in terms of daily value. And a boron deficiency also hasn’t been proven to cause any diseases.
Small studies have indicated that boron may play a role in brain function. Early studies in the 1990s showed promise for human supplementation with boron.
For example, one 1994 study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that people who added 3.25 mg of boron to their diets were better at memory and hand-eye coordination tasks than people with low boron levels.
However, these encouraging results didn’t spur a boron research boom. Now boron-related research studies are mostly limited to those performed on laboratory rats. One such study found that rats that were deprived of boron showed slower activity levels than rats that had higher boron levels.
However, there aren’t many more recent human trials regarding boron’s benefits on the brain. Researchers know that it plays a role in many human functions, but it’s status as a minor mineral means there aren’t a lot of human studies to detail.
Boron can also aid in keeping your bones strong along with possibly improving brain function.
Boron is known to play a role in extending the half-life of vitamin D and estrogen.
The half-life is the amount of time it takes for a substance to break down to half its starting amount. Scientists aren’t exactly sure how boron does this. But it could be important for bone health in several ways.
First, vitamin D is essential for bone health because it enhances your body’s ability to absorb calcium. Calcium is a mineral responsible for making bones strong. Boron could help enhance bone health by increasing how long vitamin D works in your body.
According to an article in The Open Orthopaedics Journal, people with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to have low levels of boron. This shows that the two nutrients have a relationship in terms of their availability in the body.
Estrogen is another hormone that plays a role in bone health. It plays a role in protecting against bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis. This is a condition that can make bones weak and brittle in both men and women. By extending the amount of time estrogen is present in the body, boron may help to maintain healthy bones.
While boron supplements have been considered as a possible treatment for people with arthritis, more clinical evidence is needed to support these claims.
When it comes to taking supplements, too much of a good thing can sometimes be a bad thing. Taking excess amounts of supplements can make it harder for your body to filter out the extra it doesn’t need. According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, the recommended amounts a person should take are as follows:
- children ages 1-3: 3 mg per day
- children ages 4-8: 6 mg per day
- children ages 9-13: 11 mg per day
- teenagers ages 14-18: 17 mg per day
- adults ages 19 and up: 20 mg per day
Boron is considered safe for most people, but large amounts can be harmful. There also isn’t data regarding a safe level for children younger than 1 year old. And its safety has not been studied in pregnant women.
It’s important that you talk with your doctor before taking supplements. Most experts recommend increasing intake through dietary sources like fruits and vegetables before considering supplements.
If you don’t want to take additional boron supplements, eating foods that contain boron, like prunes, raisins, dried apricots, or avocados, can help increase boron levels.