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What is a Boron Deficiency?

By April S. Kenyon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A mineral deficiency is defined as a lack of specific amounts of any nutrient that is necessary to human health. Though rare, a boron deficiency might occur in older individuals who require high levels of ionized calcium for bone strength. It has also been discovered boron contributes to cognitive functioning of the brain and mental alertness. A lack of this nutrient may result in depressed brain functioning.

While commonly thought of as an element necessary for plants and animals, in 1985 researchers discovered that boron is also an essential nutrient for humans. Certain levels of boron are necessary for maintaining healthy bones and proper functioning of the brain. This nutrient additionally helps the body to metabolize bulk minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. Boron deficiency is closely associated with a deficit of vitamin D, and generally only occurs in older individuals. Characteristics of a deficiency in boron include osteoporosis, arthritis, and a decrease in mental alertness.

This essential nutrient helps to strengthen and build bones by assisting in the break down and absorption of calcium levels present in the bloodstream. Inadequate amounts of boron can lead to a weakening of the bone structure by decreasing the levels of ionized calcium in the body. Consequently, excess amounts of calcium are excreted from the body and necessary calcitonin is lost.

Deficiency symptoms include weakening of the bones, joint pain, and other symptoms commonly associated with osteoporosis and arthritis. Individuals suffering from a deficiency in boron might excrete calcium in the urine. It is also thought that a boron deficiency might lead to the formation of kidney stones as a result of higher levels of calcium and magnesium deposits in the bloodstream.

Cognitive brain function might also be affected by a boron deficiency, leading to a lack of mental alertness. Studies indicate that boron has an effect on proper functioning of the brain and overall mental awareness. A lack of proper amounts of boron could result in both short and long term memory loss, poor dexterity, and a lack of eye-hand coordination.

Individuals with a boron deficiency can increase levels of the nutrient by consuming foods rich in boron. These include fresh fruits such as apples, grapes, and pears. Leafy vegetables, carrots, nuts, and grains are also good sources of boron. Calcium and vitamin D levels can also be improved by taking boron supplements. This might additionally be of benefit to postmenopausal women who are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, by contributing to the absorption of calcium in the bones.

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Discussion Comments
By anon928946 — On Jan 29, 2014

I think it would be smart to assume you have a boron deficiency. The easiest way to overcome this would be to take boron supplements and see what happens. 30 mg twice a day for 10 days should show impressive improvements. You can get this much boron from taking 1/8 tsp of borax dissolved in water per day.

Please note that borax is not the same thing as boric acid and is not an acid at all. It is no more toxic than table salt.

By fBoyle — On Jul 21, 2013

Boron deficiency can exist in plants too, if the soil doesn't have enough of it. My plants have been doing much better since I started adding fertilizer with boron to my soil.

By discographer — On Jul 21, 2013

@donasmrs-- I'm sure that they did not check your boron levels. It's hard to get doctors to check for basic things like iron and magnesium during blood tests without specifically requesting for it. I highly doubt that a doctor is going to test boron levels without someone pressuring them about it.

You need to go and ask your doctor about it specifically and ask to have it tested. I think a blood test is enough, but they might need a urine sample too.

I'm not sure if there are side effects of having too much boron in the body, but you could also just take a chelated boron supplement and see if you feel better. It's probably best to confirm if you have a deficiency first so that you don't end up taking too much.

By donasmrs — On Jul 20, 2013

I have some of the symptoms of a boron chelate deficiency like stiff joints and joint pain. But I also have arthritis. How do I know whether I have a boron deficiency or not?

I had a check up recently that included a blood test, but I have no idea if they checked for boron or not.

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