What is boron?

Boron is a mineral that may be an essential nutrient for bones and joints, but its exact function is not yet known [1].

According to some studies, there is more arthritis in the areas with boron intake lower than 1 mg/day [1]. Boron deficiency can cause problems with the muscle coordination and short-term memory [6]. Boron is not accumulated in the body; it is excreted in the urine within few days after consumption [7].

Foods High in Boron

  • PLANT FOODS: nuts, prunes, bananas and other fruits, green vegetables
  • ANIMAL FOODS are not a good source of boron.

Chart 1. Foods High in Boron

FOOD Boron (mg)
Almonds (2 oz, 57 g) 1.3
Prunes (2 oz, 57 g) 1.3
Raisins (2 oz, 57 g) 1.1
Hazelnuts (2 oz, 57 g) 0.9
Peanuts (2 oz, 57 g) 0.8
Banana (1 medium, 200 g) 0.7
Grape juice (1 cup) 0.5
Apple (1 medium, 200 g) 0.5
Green beans (1 cup) 0.4
Water (1 cup, 237 mL) 0.01-0.5

Chart 1 sources: [2,3] NOTE: Potatoes are relatively low in boron, but are a good source, because they are usually eaten in large amounts [3].

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for boron, and the normal blood boron levels have not been determined.

Boron Supplements

Nonprescription oral boron supplements are available as sodium borate. Boron can be also included in multi-mineral products for “bone health.”

Possible Boron Supplements Benefits

There is INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE about the effectiveness of boron in prevention or treatment of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis or vaginal yeast infections or in increasing testosterone levels or improvement of athletic performance or thinking and coordination in old people [8].

Boron Safety: Side Effects and Toxicity

No toxic effects of boron from food and water were found out so far [4]. Boron supplements in therapeutic doses (3 mg/day) are probably safe to use [4]. (153). The estimated Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), the amount that should not cause side effects for boron for adults is 20 mg/day [5].

Boron supplements in large doses (much greater than 20 mg/day) can cause oisoning with skin inflammation and peeling, irritability, tremors, convulsions, weakness, headaches, depression, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting [8].

Who should avoid boron?

Boron may have estrogen-like effects, so anyone who has a health condition that can be worsened by estrogens, should avoid boron supplements [8]. Boron should be also avoided by individuals with kidney failure [8].

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