Boron is Essential for Healthy Bones
Boron is an important trace mineral that is essential to the maintenance and growth of bone. Boron supports magnesium and calcium utilization and bone deposition as well as increasing the bioavailability of vitamin D.
Plant foods especially fruits, leafy vegetables, nuts and legumes are high in boron. Meat, fish and dairy products are low in boron. Good food sources of boron include avocado, raisins, peanut butter and peanuts, prune juice, red wine, grape juice and pecans.
There is no recommended daily allowance for boron but the tolerable Upper Intake Level is 20 mg/day for adults. Generally people consume between .25 mg of boron per day (considered a low intake) and 3 mg. boron daily (considered a high dietary intake).
Research on boron and osteoporosis is limited but there is evidence that the mineral status needed for bone health is affected by boron status and worsens when boron deprivation occurs. Some animal studies have seen increases in bone strength with supplemental boron and that healing of bone was inhibited in boron deficient rats. One small, (1987) study of 13 postmenopausal women found that after feeding the women a diet providing .25 mg. for 119 days and then feeding them the same diet for 48 days, but with the addition of a boron supplement of 3 mg/day, the boron supplementation reduced the amount of calcium lost in the urine. A similar study, done in 1993, found boron did not affect urine calcium loss. A 1997 study found that boron did not influence calcium loss among people receiving adequate magnesium.
Boron’s effect on hormones could be a concern for some people. In two small studies, done in 1987 and 1997, boron increased estrogen levels, most significantly in women already taking estrogen. Since there are concerns about elevated estrogen levels potentially increasing breast and uterine cancer risk in menopausal women, supplemental boron may not be advisable in women on estrogen therapy. More research is needed.
If you consume lots (9 plus servings) of fruits and vegetables daily, which we already know are good for your bones, you will accomplish a good boron intake level. A large study found that high boron intake from food did not affect breast cancer rates.
Photo used with permission from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Photo taken by Christina Bedetta