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Boron as the sodium salt has been used by man for over 2500 years as a flux for welding gold and as an embalming agent by the Egyptians. As supplies became easier to get, namely from Italy, boric acid and borax became increasingly used as a mild antiseptic, especially for eyes and burns.

For the last 200 years, boric acid has often been used as a food preservative, but this use has been recently stopped because it tended to disguise food that was unfit for use as being in a reasonable condition for use. People must have ingested considerable quantities without any ill effect during this period. Much has been used as a simple home remedy for stings and burns, and as a powder to prevent rash.

Boric acid and borax in a 2-3% solution will prevent the growth of most bacteria and will kill many fungi. These substances are readily absorbed by damaged skin and by mucous membranes. 50% of borate is eliminated via the kidneys in the first 12 hours, and 90% of the remainder is gone within a week, in all but extreme doses. Borates are slightly astringent and will tend to allay the pain of burns and wounds. If the dry powder is introduced to the nose, it can bring on sneezing and lacrimation.

These substances are not dangerously toxic, but large doses can be dangerous. Some workers have shown that 3gm boric acid or 5gm borax have no effect on the adult human, while others have reported symptoms at 1-2gm per day. No one is likely to take too much in their food even if they do use a supplement that has only a few milligrams per tablet. Greater absorption is likely to come from a mouthwash or if a borate is applied to damaged skin.

Extensive laboratory studies on both man and animal have not shown the exact role of boron in their metabolism. Patients have been given 10gm per day for extended periods and were still excreting boron after 7 weeks. The acute toxic dose for an adult is from 20-60gm in a single dose, but infants have died with 5gm, yet others lived after being given 9gm boric acid.

In many countries, a boron supplement is being used as a food supplement, and no claims are made, but satisfied users soon tell other people who need it. Over 250,000 people have used a particular supplement with the claim that it corrects between 80 and 90% of all arthritis. No untoward side effects have been noted, but there are some useful side-effects, such as would be noticed if boron were the limiting factor in a person's well-being. Cardiopathies have been corrected, vision has been improved, psoriasis has been much improved, balance has been corrected. Arthritis in horses, cattle, dogs, deer, and goats have all been corrected.

As we use more and more phosphates on our food crops, the availability of soil boron is decreased. It is estimated that most people in western societies ingest about 2mg boron daily. This is based on the analysis of school meals in the U.S.A, but analyses earlier in this century put the figure at 8mg. Observations suggest that boron intake at the level of 5-6mg per day is consistent with the prevention of arthritis. A higher dose may be required for treatment.

Sources of boron include non-citrus fruits such as plums, red grapes, apples, pears, and avocados, as well as in legumes and nuts. It is also present in significant amounts in coffee and red wine. Dried fruits contain a much higher amount of boron than fresh fruit. For example, fresh plums contain 0.45 mg of boron per 100g, but the same weight of dried prunes (about 12 prunes) contains 2.15mg of boron. The typical dietary boron consumption in humans is 1-2 mg/day for adults, but boron requirements may be as high as 9-12mg per day.

The prevalence of arthritis seems to follow inversely the availability of boron in the soil. Jamaica has the least boron and 70% with arthritis. Mauritius has very little and has arthritis. Northern Thailand is very short of boron and much arthritis, but no figures are available. In Fiji, the Indians have much more arthritis than do the Fijians, and the reason is that Indians eat mostly rice while Fijians eat mostly starch root vegetables, which contains more boron.

No protective effect of boron has been noted against breast, colorectal, uterine, cervical, or skin cancers.
 

 
 

Boron can help with the following:
 
 
Circulation  Cardiomyopathy

Inflammation

  Psoriatic Arthritis
 Patients of psoriatic arthritis feel relief from pain by topical application of 1.5% boric acid with 3% zinc oxide ointment.

Mental

  Poor Memory
 Boron appears to play a significant role in human brain function and cognitive performance. In multiple studies, older men and women showed statistically significant impairment in cognitive function on a low-boron diet in comparison to a diet ample in boron. Manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, attention, perception, encoding, short-term and long-term memory all suffered on a lower boron diet. [Environ Health Perspect, 1994 (102) Suppl 7: pp.65-72]

Metabolic

  Metabolic Diet Type
  Lipo-Oxidative Type

Musculo-Skeletal

  Rheumatoid Arthritis
 There is increasing evidence that boron is an essential trace element for both man and animal. It does influence calcium and magnesium metabolism, and this is possibly through the parathyroid gland. It does alleviate and seems to cure arthritis either by acting against whatever organism may cause rheumatoid diseases and/or as a membrane catalyst that permits repair of damaged cartilage and collagen.

  Osteoarthritis
 Dr. Newnham, Ph.D., D.O., N.D. has demonstrated clear demographic evidence for the usefulness of boron in treating or preventing both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The prevalence of arthritis seems to follow inversely the availability of boron in the soil. [Australian & New Zealand Association for Advancement of Science. 1979]

Based on work done at Oxford in the Agriculture Faculty it is believed that at the cellular level mineral metabolism is similar with both plants and man. If this can be relied on, then boron is a membrane catalyst which allows various ions to pass through the cell membrane, particularly phosphates to support synthesis of ATP. This will give energy for efficient repair. It is obvious that in osteo arthritis the cartilage is worn out, if it is because it lacks the necessary energy for cell division, it explains the action of boron. [Boron and Membrane Function in Plants. Metals and Micronutrients: Uptake and Utilization by Plants. Academic Press; 1983: Ch. 6]

Boron influences calcium and magnesium metabolism, possibly through the parathyroid gland. It does alleviate and seems to cure arthritis either by acting against whatever organism may cause rheumatoid diseases and/or as a membrane catalyst that permits repair of damaged cartilage and collagen.

Nutrients

  Vitamin D Requirement
 Testing in animals has demonstrated that boron enhances the efficacy of vitamin D by reducing the negative effects (especially on glucose and triglyceride metabolism) of a vitamin D deficiency. [J Trace Elem Exp Med, 1996 (9): pp.117-132]

Risks

  Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer
 Men who ingested the greatest amount of boron were 64% less likely to develop prostate cancer compared to men who consumed the least amount of boron. The study compared dietary patterns of 76 men with prostate cancer to that of over 7,000 males without cancer. The greater the quantity of boron-rich foods consumed, the greater the reduction in risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Men in the lowest quartile of boron consumption ate roughly one slice of fruit per day, while those in the highest quartile consumed 3.5 servings of fruit per day plus one serving of nuts. [Annual Experimental Biology conference in Florida - FASEB J 15:A1089, 2001]

Skin-Hair-Nails

  Psoriasis

Tumors, Malignant

  Prostate Cancer
 Boric acid (boron) has decreased PSA levels by 87% and reduced tumor size in a prostate cancer mouse model. Mice receiving 1.7 or 9.0 mg/kg/day of boric acid solution orally had decreases in tumor size by 38% and 25%, respectively. [Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res 2002 (43): p.77] The same groups had drops in PSA (prostate-specific antigen) of 88.6% and 86.4%, respectively. The control group receiving only water had no drop in PSA or decrease in tumor size.

PSA is not only a biomarker of prostate cancer activity but also a functional enzyme produced by prostate cancer cells that acts to promote its very own tumor growth. More study is needed to confirm the use of boron in prostate cancer, although a good study has shown that a higher intake of boron is associatted with a lower risk of prostate cancer in men.

Uro-Genital

  Vaginitis/Vaginal Infection
 Boric acid capsules inserted deeply into the vagina, twice per day, have been used with great success as a treatment for yeast vaginitis. In one study of 100 women with chronic yeast vaginitis who had failed to respond to various over-the-counter or prescription anti-fungal medicines, 98% successfully treated their infections with boric acid capsules over a period of 2-4 weeks. [Antifungal agents vs boric acid for treating chronic mycotic vulvovaginitis. J Reprod Med 1977;36: pp.593-7]

You can make your own boric acid capsules by purchasing boric acid powder at most drug stores and "0" (single 'ought') capsules from a health food store. Treatment may only require 5-7 days of use. If recurrent yeast infections have been a problem, they can be prevented by using one capsule of boric acid vaginally at bedtime twice per week, beginning one week after menstruation. The use of a panty liner is recommended.

If you find that the boric acid irritates your external genitalia you can protect the tissue with vitamin E oil (preferred) or Vaseline.
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended







GLOSSARY

Acute:  An illness or symptom of sudden onset, which generally has a short duration.

Antiseptic:  Inhibiting growth of infectious organisms.

Arthritis:  Inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness, and resulting from infection, trauma, degenerative changes, metabolic disturbances, or other causes. It occurs in various forms, such as bacterial arthritis, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is characterized by a gradual loss of cartilage and often an overgrowth of bone at the joints.

Astringent:  Agent causing contraction, especially after topical application.

Bacteria:  Microscopic germs. Some bacteria are "harmful" and can cause disease, while other "friendly" bacteria protect the body from harmful invading organisms.

Boron:  A mineral that may play a role in maintaining strong bones, affecting calcium and magnesium metabolism and proper membrane function.

Flux:  Profuse discharge from a body cavity.

Gram:  (gm): A metric unit of weight, there being approximately 28 grams in one ounce.

Metabolism:  The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.

Milligram:  (mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.

Mucous Membranes:  The membranes, such as the mouse, nose, anus, and vagina, that line the cavities and canals of the body which communicate with the air.

Psoriasis:  An inherited skin disorder in which there are red patches with thick, dry silvery scales. It is caused by the body making too-many skin cells. Sores may be anywhere on the body but are more common on the arms, scalp, ears, and the pubic area. A swelling of small joints may go along with the skin disease.

Sodium:  An essential mineral that our bodies regulate and conserve. Excess sodium retention increases the fluid volume (edema) and low sodium leads to less fluid and relative dehydration. The adult body averages a total content of over 100 grams of sodium, of which a surprising one-third is in bone. A small amount of sodium does get into cell interiors, but this represents only about ten percent of the body content. The remaining 57 percent or so of the body sodium content is in the fluid immediately surrounding the cells, where it is the major cation (positive ion). The role of sodium in the extracellular fluid is maintaining osmotic equilibrium (the proper difference in ions dissolved in the fluids inside and outside the cell) and extracellular fluid volume. Sodium is also involved in nerve impulse transmission, muscle tone and nutrient transport. All of these functions are interrelated with potassium.