Boron is classified as a trace mineral, which means the body requires it in small amounts to support numerous functions. You can find it in foods such as almonds, prunes, avocados and hazelnuts, among others. A boron deficiency can result in a host of problems, ranging from arthritis and muscle pain to depression. While many people overlook boron, the benefits of including it in your diet are substantial.
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The most commonly prescribed use of boron is for arthritis relief. Ninety-five percent of patients report experiencing relief from their arthritis symptoms within 1 to 3 months of starting a boron regimen, according to the book "Beating Arthritis & Beating Osteoporosis" by Dr. Rex E. Newnham. The review in the 2003 issue of "Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition" explains that boron works by strengthening the bones and improves the uptake of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. uptake. The review states that not only does boron improve bone strength and improve arthritis, it also lowers cholesterol and improves brain function. As you age, boron takes on an increasingly important role in osteoporosis prevention by strengthening the bones and decreasing porosity.
Dr. Newnham also believes that boron can reduce some allergies. Rheumatoid arthritis is often inflamed by allergies and parasites. Boron can kill off the inflammatory bodies and lead to some relief within a week of starting the regimen, claims Regenerative Nutrition. Unfortunately, it probably won't help you to stop sneezing over your ragweed allergy.
Contrary to popular belief, Dr. Newnham argues that there is research to support the notion that fluoride in the form added to tap water is not beneficial to the teeth. Boron may prevent tooth decay by reacting with fluoride; in essence, these two substances cancel each other out. Boron also aids in metabolizing minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are essential to bone health. A deficiency in boron can even lead to receding gum line. The June 2010 issue of "Biological Trace Element Research" reports a study that shows that boron helps strengthen tooth enamel.
Boron increases levels of estrogen in women and testosterone in men, according to VitaminsHealthGuide.com. It is used to help regulate hormones, especially in women going through menopause. Dr. Newnham found that women who began a boron regimen reported significant increase in sex drive within a very short period of time. Hot flashes were also reduced, notes Regenerative Nutrition. According to the October 2005 issue of "Maturitas," boron is sometimes used in herbal preparations to help relieve menopausal symptoms.
If you suffer from depression, mental fatigue or memory loss, it could be that boron is the missing link. While there are many other causes of these symptoms, adequate levels of boron are required for healthy mental function. A study conducted by Dr. Alexander G. Schauss on a class of medical school students, and cited on the website Vitamin Research Products, has shown it to significantly improve mental alertness when taken as a daily supplement for several months. The April 2008 issue of "Nutrition Reviews" reports that boron intake improves brain function and even boosts the immune system.