If you look at the RDA you will see there isn’t really a recommended dosage when it comes to boron, there is a max point where it was believed to be “toxic” I strongly disagree with both that and the fact that we supposedly don’t need to supplement with it. That is of course unless you live in Israel with higher concentrations (between 10-30 mg consumed daily) naturally occuring, or Western Turkey (between 30 – 60 mg/day) – let me explain why. I talk about dosing at the end of this so feel free to scroll to the bottom.
First off if you aren’t eating bones (which I’m pretty sure most of us aren’t) then no matter how nose to tail you think you are the boron you need will likely be lacking. Luckily for me I still consume coffee (it contains boron) and the occasional glass of red wine. The downside to the wine is that it also contains polyphenols which are less than ideal for us on a CV diet, it actually makes my bones ache so that’s pretty counterproductive.
Bone meal (approx 1 tsp or so per day) is a popular option but you want to ensure you are getting a clean source – watch out for those nasty heavy metals. I personally prefer boron glycinate at a dose of 6-10mg/day but again you need to be careful which one you get as some of them (like pure encapsulations) contain non CV compliant ingredients like plant cellulose – I’m not to concerned with that though. Other brands have fillers which if you suffer autoimmune conditions I would be concerned about.
Let me just quickly note that the time of day you supplement is important, you want to make sure it’s morning or early enough in the day as to not keep you awake at night. Boron is stimulating to the brain, when take at night you can bet your butt you won’t get much sleep that night.
Some people would argue boron in the soil or the water, however it really depends on where you live. In Canada we have some depending on where you are. The mojave desert has some of the highest concentrations in the world, Jamaica has NONE (which is why 70% of their population has arthritis), other states in the USA have little to none. We talk about higher levels being toxic but when we look at infographics of people living in Turkey we can see that there is 29 mg/per liter in the drinking water and that consumption of 2 litres per day (58 mg of boron per day) still hasn’t caused any issues or toxicity. Even taking 75 mg per day isn’t going to be a toxic level, not that I am in favour of levels that high – a little goes a long way with this trace mineral. Just remember that phytic acid greatly diminishes the absorption and utilization of boron (and other) trace minerals (that’s why people roast/germinate nuts)
Boron is not considered essential, it’s deemed a “co-factor” but if the co-factor is deficient then the essentials will also be lacking (think calcium and magnesium). It’s one of the most underused trace minerals in my opinion. It also relates to hormones, testosterone and estrogen as well as energy production. Boron helps the receptor sites of our sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) which means it helps you maximize the testosterone you do have since it’s not letting it bind to SHBG. It’s great to boost estrogen in MENOPAUSAL women, but it isn’t going to cause harmful estrogen to rise (it won’t cause estrogen dominance).
It’s one of the top supplements for patients I see with osteoporosis as it helps increase bone density, and it helps with the associated pain so you don’t need to pop NSAIDS. Fun fact – we have an abundance of transporters throughout our body and one of them (NaBC1) is specific to boron – if boron was not essential then why would the body create a pathway specific to it? When we combine boron with magnesium we see less loss of calcium in the urine, which is why supplementing together is recommended. But what about kidney stones? You’re excreting specific types of calcium into your kidneys and making kidney stones with it. Therefore you want to prevent this take boron with your magnesium and watch your levels drop.
I’ve used it with patients who have muscle tightness and muscle spasms to help the calcium/magnesium balance. It seems to work quite well and is often overlooked as a quick fix. It’s also awesome for tennis elbow. (and bursitis, tendinitis, basically anything inflammatory)
Many of you who have followed me for years on my own journey know that I have always been a big fan of silica or silicon (not silicone). I used to tell patients that eating the skin of bell peppers or cucumbers would be sufficient to get what they needed but now that we are carnivore that isn’t really an option. It also plays a role in helping us stay hydrated which we need to pay close attention to as well… Just another reason to look into boron since they are extremely similar in structure. Silicon is also extremely stimulating to the human brain – boron has also been shown to increase mental cognition (take note those with ADHD). When low boron intake there is an effect that is correlated with both heavy metal toxicity and malnourishment – such as memory, hand eye coordination, manual dexterity and performance.
Let’s talk hormones and boron. Boron supplementing drastically improves serum concentrations of both testosterone and estradiol. It helps prevent breast cancer in some studies. Boron for prostate cancer – decreased risk!
When you are in your 20’s or in what is considered child bearing age be cautious. I like to supplement starting into mid to late 30’s or more importantly the 40’s when it comes to my female patients.
The highest concentration of boron is in the parathyroid gland, it’s also great to help those with hyperthyroidism. Much like they highest concentrations of iodine in the thyroid – what does this tell us? Boron is needed for calcium metabolism. We have high concentrations in the bones, the heart and the spleen. Boron has a regulatory role in 26 enzymes, including energy metabolism. It helps control our inflammatory process by down regulating specific enzymatic activity. This means it helps reduce the severity of inflammatory disease especially arthritic conditions. Essnetially boron is what tells your immune system and the inflammatory process to chill out when joint swelling, fever etc are present. Boron, when it’s combined with amino acids, has anti-inflammatory activity – these combined together form amine cyanoboranes. Basically boost your boron and see a decrease in bone aches such as arthritis pain. As an herbal alchemist this rings true to me since borage tea (made from the plant) was used to decrease arthritis pain years ago. The main ingredient in this plant is boron…these plants are masters of sucking boron out of the soil.
The great thing about boron (orally consumed) is that it is readily absorbed by our guts, it combines with the acid in our guts which creates boric acid – a highly absorbable and usable format. It’s almost completely absorbed by our bodies! It takes only about a week to get your bones back to having what is needed then a maintenance amount is all we should, in theory be needing.
Dr Jorge. D. Flechas, M.D. MPH has spoken in some great details about all of this in many of his lectures, he’s someone to check out if you have the time. In fact much of the information I have on boron was learned in lectures I myself was privileged to attend. Fun fact that he had discovered was that if you see someone in their early 20’s with loss of bone in their jaw, or loose teeth it is a tell tale sign that they will have advanced osteoporosis later on in life almost guaranteed. Loss of bone in the lower back and hips will be most common if this is an early symptom so be sure to pay attention.
Osteogenesis = the making of new bone. If we do not have enough boron in the body not only will this not take place but also the bone will not heal (lack of boron in the mandible)
How to make your own
Check in the laundry laundry isle – yup grab a box of BORAX.
Borax is a compound mined from the earth, much like salt. It isn’t any more toxic than salt either.
This recipe provides 2mg of boron per 1 tsp serving.
1 level tsp of tsp to 1 litre of filtered water. That makes 1 liter total, take 1 tsp 1-2 times per day. If you are looking for a higher dosage we can separate it into male/female dosages.
Men: 1/4 tsp borax a little hot water to dissolve the borax, then shake to mix. Fill the rest of the bottle up to the 1 litre mark. You will drink the entire bottle throughout the day giving you a total of 110 mg for the day. Sip throughout the day but be sure to finish before it’s too late in the day or you may find this disrupts your sleep. Do this for 5 days then take 2 days off to give the boron a chance to fully balance out and rid the excess from your system. Then I suggest going down to a lower dose in most cases this means 6-20 mg per day
Women: 1/8 tsp borax (half the dose of the men) – use the same procedure as above only the total will be 55 mg of boron in the 1 liter bottle of water. Same instructions for duration (5 days). Then I suggest going down to a lower dose in most cases this means 6-10 mg per day