Not too many people know much about this simple little mineral, but boron actually plays an integral role in many processes of the body, particularly maintaining bone density!
First, before we get into just how boron helps, let's understand what bones are made up of and how they maintain their density. Bones are living and growing tissue and are constantly breaking down as well as being remodeled through a process we call osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Osteoblasts are what remodel the bones through remineralization, where as osteoclasts are what break down bone and resorption. Osteoblasts are much more frequent and present in our earlier years, up until the ages of our late 20's and 30's, for they are primarily mediated by our hormones and metabolism. This is why it is so vital to maintain a robust metabolism and hormonal levels in our peak years so as to build a strong foundation and maintain bone density as we age.
In terms of what our bones are made up of, the osteoblasts and osteoclasts are cells that make up part of the structure. Then we have a type of cell called osteoid, which is the non-mineral organic part of the bone matrix made of collagen and non-collagenous proteins. Lastly, we have the minerals that make up the inorganic mineral salts deposited within the matrix of the bone.
This is when it gets interesting!
Did you know that 99% of the calcium in our bodies is found in bones?
That 50-60% of our magnesium is there as well, colocalizing with hydroxyapatite, influencing the size and strength of hydroxyapatite crystals?
Or that 85% of our phosphorus is there too?
As well as 29% of our zinc stores, an average of 30% of our manganese and even other trace minerals such as silica, vanadium and iron?
I'm sure you're thinking now "this all great information, but what about boron, the whole point to this article?"
Well, boron actually plays an integral role in maintaining the structure of bone, specifically in retaining key minerals that make it up, such as calcium and magnesium. Aside form phosphorus, these two minerals make up the majority of our skeletal structure, and when stress is high, we tend to break our tissues down to reach for minerals as a source of energy.
Ever had high levels of calcium or magnesium on your HTMA and can't figure out why? A lack of boron could very well be the answer! It's main mechanism is to "cap" both calcium and magnesium inside the cells so it doesn't leave. This isn't to say when the body is stressed it won't try and use these two minerals per say, but boron acts as a mediator in signaling to the system that both calcium and magnesium are not up for grabs so easily. It reduces inflammation and has other mechanisms of action as you'll continue to read.
Second, it has also been shown to help stimulate bone growth in vitamin D deficient animals as well as increase the mechanism of mineralization of osteoblasts. Remember that cell that we spoke of that the beginning that helps rebuild bone? That one. It does so by regulating certain expressions of genes related to specific hormones that influence bone growth such as estrogen, testosterone, and as mentioned, vitamin D.
Which brings me to my next point. Boron has been shown to help increase sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone), particularly in those with lower levels and post menopausal age. This is extremely important considering the risk of osteoporosis in our older years. Our steroid hormones play a vital role in maintaining and building bone through the mechanism of action in increasing osteoblasts (such as what boron helps with). Both of these hormones are anabolic, they are made for growth, hence reflecting in the maintenance and even in the regeneration of bone density.
Lastly, boron has also been shown to help reduce oxidative stress of potential toxicities, such as heavy metals like arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, mercury, and lead. Coincidentally, all of these metals have an affinity in building up in tissues, particularly bones, and in simply using 3mg of boron a day, studies show that when paired with a heavy metal protocol, there is less stress on the system.
If you're interested in integrating some boron into your health regime, Upgraded Formulas has a few products that may be of interest!
There is the Boron supplement which you take individually.
We have the Upgraded Calcium which is formulated with boron and magnesium.
We also have the Upgraded Memory which has a bit of boron too, for boron has also been shown to reduce inflammation levels.
Hope this has helped and provided some insight on how there is definitely nothing boring about boron!
Rooting for your health,
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach