What do Jamaica, Fiji, and Northern Thailand have in common? Aside from being vacation destinations, people who live in these countries have a “more than usual” occurrence of musculo-skeletal diseases. In fact, in these countries about 20 percent of the population has some form of musculo-skeletal disease (typically arthritis). On the contrary, the population of Israel has less than 0.5% arthritis. What would cause such a low trend in Israel? The answer may lie in the Jordan Valley! In areas where the trace mineral boron is prevalent in the soil, rates of arthritis, osteoporosis and osteopenia and other bone and joint conditions are generally lower. The soils of the Jordan Valley in Israel contain so much boron that it affects the agriculture. In some places, only the very tolerant date palm will grow. New Zealand residents also have an astonishingly low rate of musculo-skeletal disease. In Nwgawah, New Zealand in particular, there are spa pools which are well-known as “curative pools” for arthritics. Interestingly enough, these spa pools contain as much as 300 ppm of boron..
Boron: A Magical Mineral?
When it comes to building strong bones, boron is often ignored in favor of calcium. However, boron works in harmony with calcium and other vitamins and minerals (magnesium, vitamin D, copper) to help strengthen and protect bones and protect against musculo-skeletal diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis and osteopenia . The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a study in which postmenopausal women took 3 mg of boron a day. The results showed that postmenopausal women lost 44% less calcium and one-third less magnesium while taking the boron. Not only did boron reduce excretion of calcium in the urine by 44%, it also activated estrogen, which can impact the bone health of postmenopausal women dramatically.
Health Benefits of Boron for Osteoporosis and Osteopenia
Aside from its ability to help prevent osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and osteopenia, taking boron has a variety of health benefits:
- Enhances testosterone levels in males and aids in body-building.
- Improves estrogen levels in postmenopausal women, thereby reducing symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and mood swings.
- Decreases the severity of fungal infections such as Candida albicans.
- Improves brain function and cognitive performance.
Boron can be obtained through a diet high in fruits, vegetables and nuts; however, the soil in which the fruits and vegetables are grown needs to have sufficient amounts of this important trace mineral in order for it to actually get into the food. Typically, organically-grown foods have higher amounts of boron. In the United States, the following foods have the highest amounts of boron.
Top 10 Food Sources of Boron
How to Take Boron
Food sources are always the best way to get the healing nutrients your body needs. But if you are not able to eat organic sources of the aforementioned foods daily, taking a boron supplement in addition to calcium, magnesium and vitamin D is recommended for proper bone density and to help prevent osteoporosis and osteopenia. The adult dosage of boron supplementation ranges from 3 to 5 mg per day. From the food sources, approximately one cup of almonds, one avocado, or two cups of red kidney beans would deliver the recommended daily amount of boron you need. But if you intend on relying on food sources only, remember you’ll need to eat these type of foods every day to get the bone healing benefits you’re looking for.
- Taking too much boron (over 20 mg per day) can result in skin peeling, tremors, weakness, headaches, depression, diarrhea and stomach upset. Do not take more than 3 to 5 mg of boron daily unless directed by your doctor.
- Boron increases estrogen levels in the body. Therefore, taking boron along with estrogens in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) might cause too much estrogen in the body. Boron can also lower the amount of magnesium that is flushed out in the urine. If you are currently on HRT or if you take extra dosages of magnesium for a specific health condition, talk with an integrative physician before you begin boron supplementation.
- Boron is safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women ages 19-50 when used in doses less that 20 mg per day. Pregnant and breast-feeding women age 14 to 18 should not take more than 17 mg per day. Higher amounts can be harmful. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, talk with your doctor before starting a new supplement or vitamin.
Originally published in 2015.
 Newnham, Rex E, P.hD., D.O., N.D., Boron and Arthritis. The Arthritis Trust of America. 1994.
 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; and Biquet I, Collette J, Dauphin JF, et al. Prevention of postmenopausal bone loss by administration of boron. Osteoporos Int 1996;6 Suppl 1:249.
 Biochemical and physiologic consequences of boron deprivation in humans. Environ Health Perspect. 1994 November; 102(Suppl 7): 59–63.
 Plasma boron and the effects of boron supplementation in males. Environ Health Perspect. 1994 November; 102(Suppl 7): 73–77.
 Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 1987 Nov;1(5):394-7; and 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.
 Ringdahl EN. Treatment of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. American Family Physician 2000;61:3306-12, 3317.
 Penland JG. Dietary boron, brain function, and cognitive performance. Environ Health Perspect 1994;102 Suppl 7:65-72.