Boron for arthritis and strong bones? Arthritis and other bone conditions affect millions of people every year, causing pain and limited mobility. While it is not curable, many people can reduce their symptoms and improve their quality of life with boron supplementation. Keep reading to learn the best boron benefits for people living with arthritis and other bone conditions.
What is Boron?
Boron is an under-recognized trace mineral that’s so important for various functions. It’s great for building bones, especially because it promotes the functioning of calcium and magnesium, which are both important for building strong bones.
Boron is also great for all sorts of inflammatory conditions in the body. It may also affect testosterone and estrogen levels, thus improving hormonal imbalances.
In addition, it has been linked to increased strength, muscle mass, and brain function.
Boron is naturally present in various foods, including noncitrus fruits, nuts, prunes, raisins, grains, legumes, beans, and leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale.
Benefits of Boron for Arthritis and Strong Bones
1. Prevents inflammation
Boron is a potent anti-inflammatory that plays an essential role in integrating calcium into the bones, including the joint cartilage. This can prevent arthritic pain and discomfort and prevent the worsening of arthritis.
Epidemiological evidence has shown that people from the regions with low intake of boron (1.0 mg/less) have 20-70 percent incidences of arthritis, while in areas where the intake is high (3-10mg per day), incidences of arthritis were shown to be between 0-10 percent.
In one study, 6 mg per day of boron supplementation in patients with osteoarthritis improved 50 percent of the cases, while the placebo patients only had a 10 percent improvement.
Several other kinds of research show that people with arthritis had lower boron concentration in their heads of the femur, bones, and synovial fluids than those taking a boron supplement.
In addition, observational evidence shows that the bones of patients taking boron supplements were much harder to cut than those not taking the supplement.
2. Improves knee pain
Knee pain is a common symptom of arthritis, and boron can help reduce this pain. It has been shown to help all types of arthritis due to its ability to regulate the production of cytokines, which are proteins that are related to inflammation.
In a study of 100 patients with osteoarthritis, those who took a boron supplement had significantly less knee pain than those who didn’t.
Boron has also been shown to have positive effects on joint stiffness and morning stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Promotes collagen production
Collagen is the main structural protein found in connective tissues such as skin, tendons, and ligaments. It’s also a major component of cartilage, which is the protective tissue that covers the ends of bones in your joints. The more boron you take, the more collagen you have, and the less likely you are to develop arthritis.
4. Reduces inflammation
Inflammation is a major problem in arthritis (arthritis literally means inflammation of the joints). By taking boron, you’re easing your symptoms of arthritis and boosting the health of your joints. This is because boron works by reducing the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body.
One study showed that boron was able to reduce inflammation in rats with arthritis. Another study showed that boron was able to reduce the symptoms of arthritis in humans. Taking 1-3 mg daily can help with acute and chronic inflammation. More studies are needed to confirm this, but some people may be able to avoid painkillers or NSAIDs like ibuprofen and diclofenac because of boron’s anti-inflammatory properties.
5. Boron increases bone density
The major benefit of boron is its ability to increase bone density by facilitating calcium uptake into the bones. This increases bone mineralization, thus preventing weak and porous bones.
According to a study published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, boron can help increase bone density. In the study, postmenopausal women who took a boron supplement had higher levels of calcium and magnesium in their bones. Additionally, they had lower levels of markers that indicate bone breakdown. This suggests that boron may help prevent osteoporosis by increasing bone density and reducing bone turnover.
6. Reduces the risk of hip fractures
A recent study found that postmenopausal women who took a daily supplement containing 3 mg of boron had a lower risk of hip fractures over a period of four years, compared to women who didn’t take the supplement. Boron may help keep bones strong by improving calcium absorption, increasing vitamin D levels, and reducing inflammation.
7. Boron reduces calcium excretion
Boron is a mineral that helps reduce the amount of calcium excreted from the body. This is important because it helps keep calcium in the bones, which makes them stronger. Boron also slows down bone turnover, meaning it helps to prevent osteoporosis by slowing down the break-down and re-build process of your bones.
8. Boron improves bone metabolism and utilization
Boron helps improve bone metabolism and utilization, which means it helps your body make better use of the calcium you consume. It also helps regulate hormones that are important to maintaining healthy bones, such as estrogen.
Boron especially increases estrogen levels, which plays a vital role in boosting the production of osteoblasts, the cells that make new bones.
That’s why in menopause the declining estrogen levels cause postmenopausal women to have low bone density with brittle and weak bones that are susceptible to osteoporosis and easy fractures. That means a boron-rich diet should be a vital part of maintaining bone health as a woman ages.
A lab study found that dietary boron supplementation can inhibit bone resorption while increasing bone formation, which helps prevent osteoporosis. In the study, rats given a high boron supplement increased estradiol, an estrogen steroid hormone that promotes bone health by improving bone mass, thickness, and volume.
On the other hand, when the rats were on a diet low in boron, they presented with increased osteoporotic conditions, bone loss in the lumbar vertebrae, and spongy bones, representing low mineral content.
9. Promotes vitamin D efficacy
Boron extends the half-life of vitamin D, another essential nutrient that enhances the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Half-life refers to the amount of time a substance takes to reduce to half its original amount. That means boron could prolong the effectiveness of vitamin D in the body, thus promoting bone health.
Other Boron Benefits
Besides promoting healthy joints and bones, boron possesses several additional benefits you may not know about.
1. May promote concentration and brain function
Boron can promote motor control, increase attention, boost performance, and enhance a good short-term memory. At the same time, low levels have been associated with cognitive issues, sluggishness, and difficulty in learning and retaining information.
In one clinical trial, researchers found that boron may play a role in enhancing brain function and improving cognitive performance.
2. It may balance hormones
Boron can balance both male and female (testosterone and estrogen) hormones. This could help promote fertility in men while improving postmenopausal symptoms in women. It may even relieve symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome.
In one small study, postmenopausal women were fed a diet containing 0.25 mg of boron for 119 days, after which they were switched to a 3 mg boron supplement taken daily for another 48 days. At the end of the study, boron supplementation decreased urinary excretion of magnesium and calcium and total plasma calcium concentration, but increased serum estradiol and testosterone.
3. Promotes healthy muscle mass
Boron is a common ingredient in some protein powders. This is because it increases testosterone production, which is an essential hormone in muscle mass, fat loss, and increased energy.
4. Promotes healthy skin
Boron has been shown to facilitate wound healing. According to research, a topical application of 3% boric acid solution to deep wounds reduced the time required in intensive care by two-thirds.
5. Supports cardiovascular health
Though it’s not considered an essential nutrient, boron appears to play a role in supporting cardiovascular health. According to a study done in 2012, boron helps reduce levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, which can lead to better cardiovascular health. Additionally, boron has been shown to help keep blood vessels healthy and functioning properly.
6. Treats and prevents yeast infections
Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the candida fungus. This fungus is normally present in small amounts in the body, but it can multiply and cause an infection when the environment is favorable for its growth.
Boron inhibits the growth of candida and other fungi. It does this by disrupting the cell membranes of these organisms and preventing them from multiplying.
Boron also has antifungal and antibacterial properties. This means that it can help to kill the candida fungus and prevent it from causing an infection.
If you are prone to yeast infections, or if you have one currently, you may want to consider adding boron to your diet or taking supplements.
7. Fights diabetes
When it comes to diabetes, boron helps to regulate blood sugar levels. It also promotes insulin production and sensitivity, which are both essential for managing diabetes. Boron also helps to reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease and nerve damage.
In addition, studies have shown that diabetic patients who supplemented with boron experienced a significant reduction in glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels. HbA1c is a measure of average blood glucose control over a period of 3 months.
The higher your HbA1c level, the greater your risk of diabetes-related complications. Supplementing with boron reduced these levels by an average of 2%, making it an effective natural supplement for those looking to manage their condition naturally.
8. Keeps the body hydrated
One of the most important functions of boron is to keep the body hydrated. It does this by helping the body absorb and use water more efficiently. This is especially important in hot weather or during exercise when the body can lose a lot of water through sweating. Boron also helps to regulate blood sugar levels, which can prevent dehydration and other related problems such as dizziness, fatigue, and headaches.
Risks and Side Effects
Dietary boron is largely considered safe. However, like any other supplement, a high intake of boron supplements can be potentially harmful and dangerous.
Taking anything more than 20 mg of boron per day will be considered too much. Always limit your intake to less than 20 mg a day if using supplements and if possible, keep your intake at between 3-6 mg a day (unless you are working closely with a doctor).
Symptoms of too much boron in the body are quite rare, but one may experience things like
- Abdominal discomfort
- Skin issues
But again, supplements are not always the best option unless you really need them. Research shows that food sources like apples, beans, and potatoes are just enough to get your body what it needs.
Boron isn’t a mineral that’s talked about very often – and it’s possible you never even knew it existed! But it does, and there are many good reasons to pay attention to the boron in your diet.
Boron is an essential trace mineral found naturally in some foods. It can also be taken as a supplement.
It’s used to build healthy joints, strong bones and treat bone conditions like osteoarthritis, promote brain function, and improve thinking skills. It also helps regulate hormonal levels by increasing testosterone and estrogen levels, and aiding muscles building.
Boron is readily available in most foods that people are likely to consume, and that should be enough to cater to your needs. However, if you must take a supplement, limit your intake to 3 -6 milligrams a day and only exceed this level if there is a strong reason, such as if your doctor thinks the benefits outweigh the risks.
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