Elixir of Life
Elixir of life, healing, reinvigorating, consolidating…
*This is not medical advice*
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I noticed something… lol
A few months ago, I started taking trace minerals. I don’t take many supplements besides mega doses of fish oil and vitamin D daily and occasionally I take beef liver capsules and magnesium. I noticed after starting the trace mineral supplement I no longer scar. I noted this at first after a bug bite on my ankle that would usually cause inflammation and turn a deep purple then brown never became the scar that would usually take several weeks to fade. Also, a few weeks ago, I burned myself while cooking and again I noticed I healed rapidly and was left with no scar. Incidentally, I noticed in general my skin has looked amazing. The only thing new had been the trace minerals supplement that I add to my water before a workout. I went and grabbed the bottle and examined the ingredients. I am familiar with all the other the minerals listed which I am purposely leaving out because depending on brand the content will vary. Boron was the only one that stood out as the one I was least familiar with. So, I started googling to make sure I wasn’t suffering from Holistic Derangement Syndrome (lol) and that the effects I noticed were evidence based and not just superstitions. A little research yielded that my subjective assessments were correct. It seems boron may be the elixir of life. In fact, it may be the essential element that gave us life…
Boron is classified as a metalloid, having properties of both metals and nonmetals: it and conducts electricity at high temperatures; but at room temperature, is it an insulator. It was used as a food preservative during WW1. Boron is used in tile glaze, washing powder, antiseptics, flame retardants, heat resistant glass, and nuclear reactors. Boron is an essential mineral for most plants.
Boron may have played an essential role in the prebiotic origins of genetic material. Boron is essential in the formation and stabilization of RNA it influences the formation of ribofuranose from formaldehyde, which feeds the prebiotic metabolic cycle. Boron is thought to have provided the thermal and chemical stability necessary for the development of life on Earth. Essential to the development of RNA, boron selectively increases the stability of ribose over all other aldopentose’s. A current theory is that ribose accumulation occurred in borate rich environments in the pre-RNA world, setting the stage for the development of RNA. This borate-complex formation might have sequestered ribose from the isomerization and decomposition reactions, resulting in its selective stabilization in accumulated ribose in borate rich environments.
Boron is part of the human diet, but daily intake varies widely depending on the proportions of various food groups in the diet and on the boron concentrations in the soil. Nearly all the boron in the United States comes from three counties in California Kern, San Bernadino, and Inyo. A diverse, fruit and vegetable diet is estimated to provide approximately 1.5 to 3 mg/d of boron. Fruits, leafy vegetables, nuts, and legumes are rich in boron. Fermented beverages (i.e., wine, cider, and beer) are also sources of boron. Meat, fish, and dairy products are poor sources. Peanuts and peanut butter, other nuts, raisins, wine, and avocado are sources of boron. Perhaps the benefits vegans report is related to the higher levels of boron in their diet. The U.S. Institute of Medicine has not confirmed that boron is an essential nutrient for humans, so no RDA has been set. Several studies stated adult dietary intake is estimated at 0.9 to 1.4 mg/day, what is absorbed is mostly excreted in urine. As stated above, no recommended levels have been set for boron, only an upper intake level (UL) of 20 mg/day. Excess boron is quickly excreted and does not accumulate in tissue. Boron is also capable of being absorbed through the skin.
Boron is an essential plant nutrient required for maintaining the integrity of cell walls. Boron has low toxicity in mammals. Elemental boron is relatively nontoxic to humans and animals, toxicity is like that of table salt. An intake of 4 g/day of boric acid was reported without incident, but more than this is considered toxic in more than a few doses. Intakes of more than 0.5 grams per day for 50 days cause minor digestive problems suggestive of toxicity. It is more toxic to bugs and is used as an insecticide, against ants, fleas, and cockroaches. Boron is mostly used in chemical compounds. About half of all production consumed globally is an additive in fiberglass for insulation and structural materials. In 1777, boric acid was recognized in the hot springs near Florence, Italy, at which point it became known as sal sedativum, known for its medical benefits. Boron is used in treatment of swimming pools due to its antiseptic, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
Several studies have demonstrated how important a nutrient boron is for human health. Boron has been proven to be an important because it (1) is essential for the growth and maintenance of bone; (2) improves wound healing; (3) beneficially impacts the body’s use of estrogen, testosterone, and vitamin D; (4) boosts magnesium absorption; (5) reduces levels of inflammatory biomarkers, such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor (6) raises levels of antioxidant enzymes; (7) protects against pesticide-induced oxidative stress and heavy-metal toxicity; (8) improves the brains electrical activity, cognitive performance, and short-term memory; (9) influences the formation and activity of key biomolecules, demonstrating preventive and therapeutic effects in a number of cancers, such as prostate, cervical, and lung cancers, and multiple and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; and (11) may help ameliorate the adverse effects of traditional chemotherapeutic agents. In none of the numerous studies conducted to date, however, do boron’s beneficial effects appear at intakes > 3 mg/day in people 18 years of age and up. The absence of studies showing harm compared to the substantial number of articles showing benefits support the consideration of boron supplementation of 3 mg/d for any individual who is consuming a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables or who is at risk for or has osteopenia; osteoporosis; osteoarthritis or breast, prostate, or lung cancer.
Boron and Bone Growth
Boron is essential for healthy bones., playing an important role in osteogenesis. In 1985, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducted an experiment in which postmenopausal women who had been put on a low-boron diet, their urine calcium loss was reduced by 44%. Boron supplementation has repeatedly been shown to markedly reduce urinary excretion of both calcium and magnesium and to increase serum levels of estradiol and calcium absorption in peri- and postmenopausal women. Boron also beneficially impacts vitamin-D utilization, it can even stimulate bone growth in the setting of vitamin D deficiency. In a 2010, study on Boron and osteogenesis it was determined to induce mineralization of osteoblasts by regulating the expression of genes related to tissue mineralization and the actions of key hormones (estradiol, testosterone, and vitamin D) involved in osteogenesis.
Boron and Wound Healing
Boron has been shown to significantly improve wound healing. Application of a 3% boric acid solution to deep wounds reduced the time required in intensive care in one study. In vitro research using human fibroblasts showed that a boric-acid solution improved wound healing through action on the extracellular matrix. The most common cells in animal connective tissue, fibroblasts the cells that make up animal and human connective tissue makeup the extracellular matrix with collagen and play a critical role in wound healing. Boron facilitates the activity of key enzymes in fibroblasts, thus improving extracellular matrix turnover. Boron regulates the messenger RNA expression of a wide range of extracellular matrix proteins, not only those involved in wound repair but also the mineralizing tissue-associated proteins of the collagen type like osteopontin and others. The effects of these actions boost osteoblast cell viability, proliferation, and morphology as well as the mineralization of bone cells. Boron also regulates multifunctional growth factors that induce formation of new cartilage and bone. Keratinocyte proliferation and migration are essential for the reconstruction of the cutaneous barrier after skin injury. Thermal waters rich in trace elements (e.g., boron and manganese), are known to be able to improve wound healing. In order to understand the mechanism one study investigated the in vitro modulation of keratinocyte migration and proliferation by boron and manganese salts, which are present in high concentrations in some thermal waters. The in vitro study demonstrated that incubating keratinocytes for 24 h with boron salts at concentrations between 0.5 and 10 mg/ml or manganese salts accelerated wound closure compared with the control medium. Boron and manganese act on wound healing mainly by increasing the migration of keratinocytes. A study has demonstrated that a 3% boric acid solution increased the secretion of collagen, allowing the formation of new extra cellular matrix. Boron may act on wound healing at both the epidermal and dermal levels. Oral administration of boron in addition to topical treatment has been found to contribute the wound healing due to the antioxidant property of boron in the wound healing process.
Boron and Sex Hormones
Boron supplementation has been shown in several studies to increase sex hormones in both men and women. A study in 1987 showed that boron repletion in postmenopausal women, who were previously on a low-boron diet, significantly increased their serum estradiol and testosterone levels. Testosterone more than doubled, similar findings of a similar increase in serum levels of healthy males after 4 weeks of dietary supplementation with boron. One study found 1 week of boron supplementation saw a significant increase in free testosterone, and significant decreases in estradiol. All the inflammatory biomarkers that were measured also decreased such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein by approximately 50%, and tumor necrosis factor by approximately 30%. The significant decrease in the men’s plasma of estradiol after 1 week of boron supplementation suggests a higher rate of conversion of total testosterone to free testosterone. Boron seems to be an androgen amplifier. 98% of testosterone is bound to proteins in the blood, principally to sex hormone–binding globulin, and are not bioavailable because bound hormones cannot exit capillaries. Elevation of unbound free testosterone with boron supplementation may have significant beneficial benefits for aging men that typically have lower levels of free testosterone. A study on goats revealed that dietary boron supplementation increased the sperm output, sperm motility and enhanced the immune and antioxidant defense capacity in male goats. The improved semen quality was attributed to enhanced expression of testicular SERPIN, a crucial protein for the regulation of spermatogenesis process.
Boron and Vitamin-D Deficiency
Boron has been shown to increase serum levels of vitamin D in deficient individuals in human studies. A study done in Serbia with supplementation beginning during the fall transition to winter, when vitamin-D status would be expected to worsen demonstrated that boron supplementation caused vitamin D levels to rise, an average rise of 20%. Boron increases the biological half-life and bioavailability of vitamin D. Boron’s beneficial effects on bone metabolism are due in part to the roles it plays in both producing estradiol in women and in increasing its biological half-life and that of vitamin D. Nutritional boron can inhibit a range of microsomal enzymes that catabolize estradiol and Vitamin D.
Boron and Magnesium
Boron significantly improves magnesium absorption and deposition in bone, due to boron’s inhibition of estradiol degradation. Magnesium’s importance, in bone is demonstrative of the ramifications of boron insufficiency. About 60% of the magnesium in the human body is found in bone, where it helps regulate calcium metabolism. Magnesium is required in osteoblasts and osteoclasts and in all living cells, within which magnesium is fundamental for ATP production and serves as the cofactor of more than 300 enzymes involved in lipid, protein, and nucleic acid synthesis.
Boron and Anti-Inflammation
Several studies have indicated that boron reduces levels of inflammatory biomarkers. One week of boron supplementation resulted in a 20% decrease in the plasma concentration of tumor necrosis factor and approximately 50% n plasma concentration of C reactive protein (CRP). Elevated CRP is associated with an increased risk for breast cancer, obesity and metabolic syndrome in children, atherosclerosis, unstable angina, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, metastatic prostate cancer, lung cancer, adult depression, depression in childhood and psychosis in young adult life, coronary heart disease, and stroke.
Boron and Osteoarthritis
Epidemiological evidence, case reports, and controlled animal and human studies have provided evidence for the use of boron as an effective treatment for osteoarthritis. Examining the relationship between boron administration and osteoarthritis prevalence around the world, researchers discovered that in areas where boron intake is greater, incidence of arthritis ranges from 0% to 10% compared to much higher rates in areas with low boron intake. The boron concentration has been found to be lower in the femur heads, bones, and synovial fluid of osteoarthritis patients compared with individuals without osteoarthritis. Human clinical evidence for boron’s use in the treatment of osteoarthritis was first provided by a double-blind, placebo-controlled supplementation trial conducted in Australia, in which a significantly favorable response to a supplement of 6 mg of boron per day, 50% of subjects receiving supplemental boron improved compared with only 10% of those receiving the placebo. Researchers hypothesize that boron’s anti-inflammatory effects are enhanced by boosting free-radical scavenging by raising levels of antioxidant enzymes in blood and cells. In a recent study, boron protected animals chronically exposed to low levels of malathion, a widely used pesticide that causes oxidative stress even at the low levels at which humans are exposed to it in the food supply. Boron decreased malathion-induced oxidative stress, enhanced antioxidant defense mechanisms, and regenerated damaged liver, kidney, and brain tissues in rats.
Boron and Brain Heath and as Treatment for Cancer
Assessments of brain electrical activity in both animals and humans have shown that boron deprivation results in decreased brain electrical activity, resulting in poorer performance on tasks of motor speed and dexterity, attention, and short-term memory. Boron significantly reduced all genotoxic effects that were induced by low doses of heavy metals like arsenic trioxide, colloidal bismuth subcitrate, cadmium chloride, mercury chloride, and lead chloride as assessed in human blood cultures in one study. Boron-containing compounds have been shown to be potent anti-osteoporotic, anti-inflammatory, and antineoplastic agents both in vitro and in vivo as well. Boron containing agents may have potential for treating cancer and neurological diseases due to their abilities to alter gene expression, induce growth arrest or apoptosis of tumor cells, and stimulate normal cell differentiation. Boron rich diets and regions where the soil and water are rich in boron correlate with lower risks of several types of cancer, including prostate, breast, cervical, and lung cancers. Boron enriched diets have been found to result in significant decreases in risk for prostate and cervical cancer and to decrease risk of lung cancer in smoking women. According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, risk of prostate cancer was 52% lower in men whose diets supplied more than 1.8 mg/d of boron compared with those whose dietary boron intake was less. Boric acid decreased the size of prostate tumors in mice and markedly reduced levels of insulin-like growth factor. In another study none of the women from a boron rich region had any cytopathological indications of cervical cancer; cytopathological findings were present in women from the boron poor areas. Boron may have cancer-preventive actions like those of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is known to reduce lung cancer. A 10-year study (1995–2005), conducted at the University of Texas’s MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, on the joint effects of boron intake and HRT use on lung-cancer risk. Women whose intake of boron was low and who did not use HRT were at substantially increased risk. For all women, decreased boron intake was associated with increasing odds of lung cancer corresponding. One explanation for boron’s reduction in lung cancer risk was that postmenopausal women with high dietary boron intake, as well as HRT users, have higher levels of estradiol competing for estrogen receptors with cigarette smoke carcinogens. If correct, then increasing boron intake during HRT will also reduce the carcinogenic potential of carcinogens from cigarette smoke.
Boron-based drugs are now being developed for use as therapeutic agents with anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and other disease-specific activities. Bortezomib, which contains boron as an active element, has been approved as a proteasome inhibitor for the treatment of multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. An in vitro study found that boric acid can help protect against genotoxicity and cytotoxicity that are induced by paclitaxel, an anticancer drug commonly used to treat breast, ovarian, and lung cancers.
Boron in clinical use as boric acid is used as a topical antifungal in women who have failed standard antifungal therapy with azole drugs has been used sporadically for decades to treat yeast infections as it inhibits yeast growth.
Boron status is not routinely measured in clinical practice. The symptoms associated boron toxicity as seen in accidental consumption of boric acid or borax, contained in some household cleaning products and pesticides, include nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, skin flushing, rash, excitation, convulsions, depression, and vascular collapse. The large amount of boron consumed in people who accidentally consumed and had boron toxicity ranged from 18 to 9,713 mg, and most were children younger than 6 years old. Boron toxicity can also cause headache, hypothermia, restlessness, weariness, renal injury, dermatitis, alopecia, anorexia, and indigestion. In infants, high boron intakes have caused anemia, seizures, erythema, and thin hair. Extremely high doses of boron can be fatal; for example, 15,000 to 20,000 mg can cause death in adults.
In addition to the trace minerals supplement I take, I have added a stand-alone boron supplement to my routine. What do you think, does it seem like boron could be ius vitae? I really was unable to find much negative about its effects on health, most of what I read is encouraging. Once again this is not medical advice, and I would urge anyone thinking of supplementing with boron to consult with your medical provider first.
Alexandrovna’s Newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.