Sure, the word “boron” probably makes you think of a sci-fi movie character, but funky name aside, boron is actually a vital trace mineral required for your physical health.
That’s because it’s an “activator,” as described in the journal PLoSOne, which means it assists in or activates many functions in the body. A study in the journal Integrative Medicine, for example, shows that boron increases the body’s ability to absorb calcium and magnesium.
A boron deficiency can be serious—rendering cells unable to properly transfer nutrients—but luckily, boron is abundant in foods (to name a few: dates, avocado, soybeans, nuts, chickpeas, peanut butter, kidney beans). People who don’t have a varied diet can consider a boron supplement.
Here are five important ways boron contributes to your health:
1. Boron For The Bones
One of boron’s superpowers is in the bone-building process. According to a study done by the journal FASEB, boron initiates estrogen by helping convert vitamin D into an active state. Then, estrogen improves the absorption of calcium.
Boron also helps to prevent vitamin D deficiency, which is linked to osteoporosis. That’s because when the bone’s metabolic function is working correctly, osteoporosis is less likely to occur, indicates a study in Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism. If osteoporosis is diagnosed, boron can play a major role in helping the body replace lost calcium.
2. Boron For Teeth & Gum Health
Got strong teeth? You may have boron to thank. Boron also plays an important role in healthy teeth, gums, and the prevention of tooth decay. By converting the vitamin D to its active form, it increases calcium uptake and absorption into the bones and teeth. If you do have tooth decay, you could kick up the amount of boron in your diet, or via supplements.
3. Boron For Arthritis
The journal Environ Health Perspect also shows that boron may assist in preventing some forms of arthritis. In fact, the study says that in some places in the world where boron intake is typically low, incidence of arthritis is higher. On the other hand, areas of the world with higher intakes of boron have lower levels of arthritis.
4. Boron & Hormones
Another FASEB study also shows that boron can affect the metabolism of steroid hormones—especially the sex hormones. Supplementing with boron increases low testosterone levels in men and estrogen levels in menopausal women. This could be great news for those who want to jumpstart their libido. Or for weight lifters who want to boost their testosterone levels.
Boron bonus points: The mineral may also provide some relief from vaginal yeast infections. According to American Family Physician, women can use a 600-mg vaginal suppository administered twice daily for 14 days.
5. Boron for Cognitive Performance
Looking to improve your cognitive function? Boron may be able to support that. According to a study done by Biological Trace Element Research, low levels of boron may be linked to poor performance of motor speed tasks, poor attention span and short-term memory, and poor dexterity.