Boron: Late to the Game but Essential to Health
Boron is a little discussed mineral. It is one of a group of minerals called trace minerals. They're named this because our bodies actually need very small quantities of these minerals as opposed to bulk minerals like calcium that actually form structures in our body. In fact, boron wasn't even considered an essential mineral. It wasn't until 1985 that scientists recognized that boron was in fact necessary for the body. Before that, it was believed that we could do without boron with no ill effects.
Boron is important because it helps the body absorb calcium and magnesium. Both of these minerals are essential to maintaining strong, healthy bones. Studies have shown that boron greatly increases the body's utilization of magnesium and calcium.
It is this function that has gained boron some attention in treating arthritis and osteoporosis. Calcium is an important element of the cartilage and join material. In arthritis, the cartilage deteriorates and painful inflammation sets in. By enhancing the utilization of calcium, Boron has often been shown to help with slowing the progression of arthritis. It has also been effective in increasing bone density in osteoporosis.
Boron is also used in the formation of a number of natural steroids. Bodybuilders have found that using it seems to boost testosterone production. Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone; it controls affects muscle mass. More testosterone allows bodybuilders to bulk up more easily. Studies have also shown that it affects the production of estrogen. It has been particularly used in menopausal women and in some studies was an effective replacement for hormone replacement therapy.
There are also suggestions that Boron plays a role in brain function and memory. It seems that boron helps improve memory and may prevent memory loss as we age. A recent study on memory found that magnesium greatly improved memory in lab animals. Boron may have a positive effect on memory by boosting the amount of magnesium available to the brain. The magnesium study also commented on the importance of bio-availability, that is how much of the magnesium was actually absorbed during digestion and made available. Liquid supplements are many times more bio-available than tablets or capsules.
In larger amounts, boron can be toxic. You should always follow the advice of your doctor and the recommended dosage instructions that accompany any supplement you take. Liquid boron supplements will make the mineral more readily absorbed and usable by the body. Consider adding a boron supplement to an existing magnesium and calcium supplement to give their effectiveness a boost. This is one mineral that science took a long time to recognize as beneficial but is now understood to provide a boost to maintaining optimum health.