Boron or Boric Acid – An In-Depth Overview
What Is it?
Boron is a chemical element and mineral, which naturally exists in food and the environment.
Boron supplements are used for medicinal purposes. Boron helps to build muscles, strong bones, increase testosterone levels, improve muscle coordination, thinking skills and treat osteoarthritis.
The most common form of boron is boric acid, which is contained in capsules that are used by women for the treatment of yeast infections in the vagina. Boric acid can also be used as an eye wash or for the prevention of infection or as an astringent, by applying it to the skin. Between 1870 and 1920, and during the two World Wars, Boron was used as a food preservative.
Boron has several other names such as Acide Borique, Atomic number 5, Bore, Boric Acid, B (chemical symbol), etc.
How Effective Is Boron?
Based on scientific evidence, the effectiveness of Boron is rated by the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database in the following scale:
Boron is likely effective for the:
- Prevention of boron deficiency
- Treatment of vaginal infections
Boron is possibly ineffective for the:
- Enhancement of athletic performance
There is insufficient evidence regarding effectiveness of Boron for the:
- Improvement of coordination and thinking in aged people
- Increase of testosterone
- Treatment of bone loss, Treatment of osteoarthritis
How Does it Work?
The way other minerals like magnesium and phosphorus are handled by the body is seemingly affected by Boron. The levels of estrogen in healthy and in older, post-menopausal women are also seemingly increased by Boron. It is believed that healthy and mental function is maintained by estrogen. Yeast that causes vaginal infections can also be killed by using the most common form of boron, i.e. boric acid.
Is Boron Safe to Use?
As long as Boron is taken in a dosage less than the Upper Tolerable Limit (UL), it is “likely safe” for adults and children. A man’s ability to father a child can be potentially harmed if the dosage of Boron is exceeded more than 20 mg per day, which is the UL for adults.
Poisoning can be caused by large quantities of boron. Convulsions, depression, diarrhea, headaches, inflammation and peeling of the skin, irritability, tremors, vomiting and weakness are among the signs of poisoning. For up to six months, the common form of boron, boric acid is likely safe to be used vaginally.
Precautions and Warnings
Breast-feeding and pregnancy: Breast-feeding and pregnant women age 19 to 50 can safely take doses of Boron less than 20 mg per day. Higher dosages can cause harm. The use of boric acid should be avoided by pregnant women as it can likely cause birth defects in their unborn child.
Hormone-sensitive condition like breast cancer, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer or uterine fibroids: Boron has the tendency to increase estrogen levels and those suffering from a condition that might worsen due to an increase in estrogen levels should avoid the use of boron supplements.
Kidney disease or kidney function-related problems: Those suffering from kidney problems should avoid taking boron supplements. Since boron has to be flushed out by the kidneys, this can cause them to work harder.
How is Boron used?
Based on research, the following is the appropriate dosage of taking Boron:
There is no specific Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for using Boron, but there is a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) that people should keep in mind when taking boron. Per 2000 kcal per day, approximately 3.25 mg of boron by diets rich in this element. Adults and breast-feeding or pregnant women over the age of 19 should only take up to 20 mg of boron per day. Children between the ages of 9 to 13 can be given a dose of boron up to 11 mg per day. Children between 4 and 8 can be given a dose of boron up to 6 mg per day. Children 1 to 3 can be given a dose of boron up to 3 mg per day. A dosage of boron for infants has not yet been established.
Up to 600 mg of boric acid powder can be applied once or twice per day for vaginal infections.
Up to 600 mg of boric acid powder can be applied twice per week to prevent recurring Candida (yeast) infections.
Boron does not detrimentally interact with foods, but it can potentially interact with other herbs, medications and supplements, so people should be careful when using boron.