Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, and More

Research suggests that boron may be an effective way to treat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Boron is a naturally occurring chemical found in many plants and foods. Although health professionals do not currently recommend boron as an essential nutrient, it is available in supplement form. It usually comes in 3 milligram (mg) capsules.

This article takes a closer look at boron, its benefits, side effects, and what people need to know before taking boron as a supplement.

Boron is a trace element. It occurs naturally in many plants and foods, in volcanic spring waters and in mineral deposits around the world.

The following foods are rich sources boron:

The majority of people in the United States get most of their boron intake from coffee, milk, apples, beans, and potatoes because they tend to eat large amounts.

Vegetarians tend to get the most boron from their diets because they generally eat more plant-based foods, which are good sources of boron.

Boron plays an important role in reducing enzymes that cause an inflammatory response, reducing joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

Boron has anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve arthritis symptoms.

A 2015 review of boron benefits found that increased boron intake (3–10 mg per day) was associated with fewer cases of osteoarthritis, reducing cases by up to 60%. The review also found that people with osteoarthritis had lower boron concentrations than people without osteoarthritis.

A 2018 review found that people with rheumatoid arthritis also had lower boron levels.

People with poor bone health may wish to speak with a doctor about using boron supplements to replenish calcium and magnesium stores. Supplements can help by reducing the amount of boron the body loses through urine.

The 2018 review also highlighted how boron may support overall bone health, especially in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis. It can do this by reducing the loss of essential minerals and increasing calcium and vitamin D levels.

Besides its benefits for arthritis and bone health, boron may have several positive effects on other health conditions. For example, applying boric acid inside the vagina can help treat yeast infections, especially when other treatments have failed.

Researchers are also studying boron as a potential treatment for malignant brain tumors and other forms of cancer. Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) delivers a form of boron directly to tumors before exposing them to thermal neutrons. This results in a higher dose going to the tumor compared to surrounding tissue. However, research and clinical trials are still ongoing in this area, so it may be a few years before BNCT enters the mainstream.

According to Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), a low boron intake may increase the risk of lung cancer, prostate cancer and cervical cancer. Thus, increased boron intake may be associated with reduced cancer risk, although confirmation of this would require more clinical studies.

Additionally, crisaborole is a topical boron product for the treatment of eczema.

People can buy boron as 3mg daily supplements. It is available online and in many health food stores. It is important to note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently approve supplements including boron, so quality may vary.

The Royal Society of Chemistry estimates that people get about 2 mg of boron per day from food alone.

According to the ODS, a safe boron intake can be between 1 to 13 mg per day.

No research suggests that boron has interactions with other medications. Additionally, there are no data suggesting adverse effects of high boron intakes from food or water.

However, in high doses, boron can be dangerous. A dose of 15,000 to 20,000mg can be fatal in adults, while high boron intakes in babies can cause anemia, seizures, rashes, and thinning hair.

the ODS lists the symptoms of boron toxicity as follows:

The Arthritis Foundation lists nine vitamins and supplements that can relieve arthritis symptoms, including joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation:

  1. SAMe or S-adenosylmethionine: It can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It can also stimulate cartilage growth. Versus Arthritis recommends taking SAMe under the supervision of a doctor at a dose of approximately 400 to 1600 mg per day.
  2. Boswellia serrata (Indian incense): It can help relieve pain, reduce inflammation, prevent cartilage loss, and suppress immune system response. A systematic review 2020 found that it reduced pain and stiffness and improved joint function in hundreds of people with osteoarthritis.
  3. capsaicin or Capsicum frutescens: Available as a topical treatment or a patch, it can help reduce joint pain by more than 50%.
  4. Turmeric/curcumin or Curcuma longa: Reduces joint pain and swelling in people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
  5. Unsaponifiable avocado-soya: A 2020 review suggests it blocks chemicals that increase the inflammatory response, protects synovial cells that line joints, and may help regenerate connective tissue. It can also help reduce pain and stiffness.
  6. Cat’s claw or Uncaria tomentosa: This can inhibit the inflammatory response in the body and boost the immune system.
  7. Fish oil: This can block inflammatory responses in the body and increase anti-inflammatory chemicals (resolvins). It can reduce joint stiffness and pain.
  8. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA): Similar to fish oil, GLA converts into anti-inflammatory chemicals in the body, helping to reduce joint pain and stiffness and improving grip strength.
  9. Ginger: This can reduce the inflammatory reactions and pain associated with arthritis. A 2020 review A decade of trials have found oral and topical ginger to be a promising treatment for chronic pain.

Boron is a natural trace element found in plants and foods. It is available as a health supplement.

Boron can help relieve symptoms and pain associated with arthritis.

Although there is no recommended daily intake for boron, experts suggest that a dose between 1 and 13 mg per day is safe. Higher doses can have serious side effects.

Other vitamin supplements, such as SAMe or turmeric, may also help relieve arthritis symptoms and reduce pain and inflammation.

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