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What is Boron?

Life Extension, September 2021


The trace mineral boron provides profound anti-cancer effects, in addition to maintaining stronger bones.

Boron is a trace mineral found in the earth’s crust and in water. Its importance in human health has been underestimated.

Boron has been shown to have actions against specific types of malignancies, such as:

  • Cervical cancer: The country Turkey has an extremely low incidence of cervical cancer, and scientists partially attribute this to its boron-rich soil.1 When comparing women who live in boron-rich regions versus boron-poor regions of Turkey, not a single woman living in the boron-rich regions had any indication of cervical cancer.2(The mean dietary intake of boron for women in this group was 8.41 mg/day.) Boron interferes with the life cycle of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a contributing factor in approximately 95% of all cervical cancers.1 Considering that HPV viruses are increasingly implicated in head and neck cancers,3,4 supplementation with this ultra-low-cost mineral could have significant benefits in protecting against this malignancy that is increasing in prevalence.

  • Lung cancer: A study conducted at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center between 1995 and 2005 found that increased boron intake was associated with a lower risk of lung cancer in postmenopausal women who were taking hormone replacement therapy.

  • Prostate cancer: Studies point to boron’s ability to inhibit the growth and spread of prostate cancer cells. In one study, when mice were exposed to boric acid, their tumors shrank by as much as 38%.6 One analysis found that increased dietary boron intake was associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer.7

Several human and animal studies have confirmed the important connection between boron and bone health.

Boron prevents calcium loss,8 while also alleviating the bone problems associated with magnesium and vitamin D deficiency.9 All of these nutrients help maintain bone density.

A study in female rats revealed the harmful effects a deficiency in boron has on bones, including:10

  • Decreased bone volume fraction, a measure of bone strength,

  • Decreased thickness of the bone’s spongy inner layer, and

  • Decreased maximum force needed to break the femur.

And in a study of post-menopausal women, supplementation with3 mg of boron per day prevented calcium loss and bone demineralization by reducing urinary excretion of both calcium and magnesium.8

In addition to its bone and anti-cancer benefits, there are nine additional reasons boron is an important trace mineral vital for health and longevity. It has been shown to:1

  1. Greatly improve wound healing,

  2. Beneficially impact the body’s use of estrogen, testosterone, and vitamin D,

  3. Boost magnesium absorption,

  4. Reduce levels of inflammatory biomarkers, such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α),

  5. Raise levels of antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase,

  6. Protect against pesticide-induced oxidative stress and heavy-metal toxicity,

  7. Improve the brain’s electrical activity, which may explain its benefits for cognitive performance, and short-term memory in the elderly,

  8. Influence the formation and activity of key biomolecules, such as S-adenosyl methionine (SAM-e) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), and

  9. Potentially help ameliorate the adverse effects of traditional chemotherapeutic agents.

Because the amount of boron varies in the soil, based on geographical location, obtaining enough boron through diet alone can be difficult.