Honey is a good dietary source of boron.

Boron is a trace mineral that was only recently found to have a role in human physiology and is best known for its beneficial effects on calcium status and bone. 1 2

There are indications boron has the ability to impact a wide array of metabolic processes 3 4  and evidence has been found for boron's influence over:

  • plasma lipid profiles 2
  • brain function 2
  • inflammatory markers 4
  • steroid hormones (boron is able to increase testosterone levels) 3 5

Boron may also have a role in various forms of arthritis including osteoarthrtits, juvenile arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. 2  5

Boron and vitamin D

Boron influences the metabolic activity of many enzymes, including those that metabolize vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium. 2 6 Because of this influence, boron is a necessary cofactor to the body’s proper utilization of vitamin D.

Boron plays a role in bone mineralization through its interaction with vitamin D. 7 It enhances major mineral content in bone and, independently of vitamin D, influences cartilage maturation. 8

Due to its relationship with magnesium and vitamin D, boron may prove beneficial in osteoporosis. 9

Boron and vitamin D deficiency

In animal studies, boron has been shown to counteract the some of the effects of vitamin D deficiency due to its influence over calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus status. 10 11 12 In addition, studies suggest boron has the ability to increase serum 25(OH)D levels. 4 3 10

Another possible way boron mitigates symptoms of vitamin D deficiency is by optimizing utilization of, or conserving, bodily stores of activated vitamin D, also known as calcitriol. 13

Supplementary and dietary boron

There is no official RDA for boron, however it is safe when used in doses less than the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). UL is the maximum dose at which no harmful effects would be expected.

National Academy of Sciences UL for boron

 Dried fruits and nuts are another great source for boron.
  • Children 1-3 years: 3mg
  • Children 4-8 years: 6mg
  • Children 9-13 years: 11mg
  • Adolescents 14-18 years: 17mg
  • Adults: 20mg

Food sources

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • honey
  • dried prunes

Boron Deficiency

Boron deficiency results in decreased blood levels of calcium and calcitonin and increases urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium levels. Boron deficiency also causes decreased serum concentrations of estrogen and testosterone, all of which are associated with calcium loss and bone demineralization.

Boron Toxicity

Because boron is water soluble, risk of toxicity from its use is minimal. Low dose boron supplements have yet to show any toxic effect.

Large quantities of boron can cause digestive upsets, inflammation and peeling, irritability, tremors, convulsions, weakness, headaches, depression, diarrhea, vomiting, or other symptoms. 14


Boron should be avoided by those with kidney disease or limited kidney function and hormone-sensitive conditions such as: 14

  • breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer
  • endometriosis
  • uterine fibroids

Boric acid, a common form of boron, has been linked to birth defects and should not be used by pregnant women. 14

Page last edited: 18 May 2011


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  2. Devirian, T. A. Volpe, S. L. The physiological effects of dietary boron. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2003; 43 (2): 219-31.
  3. Samman, S. Naghii, M. R. Lyons Wall, P. M. Verus, A. P. The nutritional and metabolic effects of boron in humans and animals. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1998 Winter; 66 (1-3): 227-35.
  4. Naghii MR, Mofid M, Asgari AR, Hedayati M, Daneshpour MS. Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2010 Dec 1 [Epub ahead of print];
  5. van Lent, P. L. Krijger, G. C. Hofkens, W. Nievaart, V. A. Sloetjes, A. W. Moss, R. L. Koning, G. A. van den Berg, W. B. Selectively induced death of macrophages in the synovial lining of murine knee joints using 10B-liposomes and boron neutron capture synovectomy. Int J Radiat Biol. 2009; 85 (10): 860-71.
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  7. King, N. Odom, T. W. Sampson, H. W. Yersin, A. G. The effect of in ovo boron supplementation on bone mineralization of the vitamin D-deficient chicken embryo. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1991 Dec; 31 (3): 223-33.
  8. Hunt, C. D. Herbel, J. L. Idso, J. P. Dietary boron modifies the effects of vitamin D3 nutrition on indices of energy substrate utilization and mineral metabolism in the chick. J Bone Miner Res. 1994 Feb; 9 (2): 171-82.
  9. Volpe, S. L. Taper, L. J. Meacham, S. The relationship between boron and magnesium status and bone mineral density in the human: a review. Magnes Res. 1993 Sep; 6 (3): 291-6.
  10. Miljkovic, D. Miljkovic, N. McCarty, M. F. Up-regulatory impact of boron on vitamin D function -- does it reflect inhibition of 24-hydroxylase?. Med Hypotheses. 2004; 63 (6): 1054-6.
  11. Dupre, J. N. Keenan, M. J. Hegsted, M. Brudevold, A. M. Effects of dietary boron in rats fed a vitamin D-deficient diet. Environ Health Perspect. 1994 Nov; 102 Suppl 755-8.
  12. Hunt, C. D. Herbel, J. L. Effects of dietary boron on calcium and mineral metabolism in the streptozotocin-injected, vitamin D3-deprived rat. Magnes Trace Elem. 1991; 10 (5-6): 387-408.
  13. Hunt, C. D. The biochemical effects of physiologic amounts of dietary boron in animal nutrition models. Environ Health Perspect. 1994 Nov; 102 Suppl 735-43.
  14. National Institutes of Health Medline Plus Boron. (11/04/2009):