Boron is now thought to help prevent osteoporosis by reducing the loss of calcium and magnesium in the urine. It may also alleviate menopausal symptoms in women, by increasing the level of oestradiol, a particularly active type of oestrogen. It may also reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
Good food sources
The best sources of boron are fresh fruits, such as apples, pears and grapes, and dried fruits such as apricots and prunes. It is also found in leafy green vegetables, members of the bean family and nuts.
What if your intake is too low?
Insufficient boron may adversely affect the calcium, magnesium and phosphorus balance in the body and cause thinning of the bones, as well as increasing the risks of high blood pressure and arthritis.
When extra may be needed
If you eat mainly refined foods and insufficient fruit.
(Pregnant and breast-feeding women should consult a doctor, midwife, or qualified nutritionist bifore taking any mineral or vitamin supplement.)
Can too much be toxic?
Until recently, boron was used medically only for external application, for example, on the skin as an antiseptic in the form of boric acid. Ingestion of preparations containing boron caused dryness of the skin and problems with the digestive system. However, boron as a supplement, which is taken at a much lower dose, has shown no evidence of toxicity as yet.
Using a supplement
A number of manufacturers now include amounts of boron in commercial preparations which have been designed to alleviate menopausal symptoms or to help maintain strong, healthy bones.