Boron – An Underrated Mineral that is Important for Hormone Balance and Fertility over the age of 40
Updated: May 7
Boron was a supplement that I started taking about 3 months before I got pregnant naturally at age 43 after 10 years of secondary infertility and recurring pregnancy loss. It wasn’t the only change I made at the time so I didn’t really appreciate the significance of boron until a similar scenario happened to one of my clients who also found out she was pregnant at age 43 after a history of pregnancy loss. My client made other significant changes to her diet, lifestyle, and supplement regime so again we don’t really know for sure if boron played a part in her getting pregnant, but the fact that it has happened twice has made me pay some more attention to this underrated mineral.
I started taking Boron about 3 years ago, 3 months before I conceived at age 43. At the time I felt I was entering the beginning stages of perimenopause and that it would be a useful thing to try as I felt my hormones were out of balance. As a practitioner who worked in a health shop at the time, I would often research supplements and experiment on myself to see what happens and pass on any learnings to my clients. I had a lot of other stuff going on at the time, so I don’t recall noticing a huge difference when I took it, but that is often the case with anything that supports hormones. The changes are often subtle and it can take a few months to notice the benefit.
What is Boron and how does it help with hormone balance?
Boron is an important trace mineral that is often underrated and not talked about, especially in terms of fertility. This may be because there is a lack of knowledge about the importance of boron, but also there is limited clinical research about the mineral and its uses. There still seems to be lots to learn about this mineral.
If you eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, then, in theory, you should be getting enough boron from food, however, there are certainly times in our lives when we could do with supplementing with some extra boron. One of those times would be during perimenopause, menopause, or if you are trying to get pregnant and you are over 40. This is because boron has the ability to increase estrogen and testosterone levels in women, and if you are perimenopausal or trying to conceive over 40 these are the hormones that can start to get erratic and for many women are on a natural decline. Estrogen and testosterone are important not only for egg quality but also for healthy ovulation, healthy libido, and a sense of wellbeing.
When I was doing IVF at age 41, I did the long cycle procedure in which your whole cycle is managed by the fertility clinic using various drugs and hormones. I remember distinctly having to take a drug that suppresses the production of estrogen for about a week, I think it was to get the timing of the cycle within their schedule. So, for about a week I was surviving on little or no estrogen and my goodness I felt terrible. My face seemed puffy and had aged within a week and I started to have hot flushes at night. I remember a colleague at work telling me that there was something different about me and that I looked older. That is the effects of low estrogen, I felt older like I had lost my spark.
Boron is not only important for the production of the good estrogen that we need and testosterone but also plays a role in balancing other reproductive hormones. `Numerous studies indicate that boron intake affects the presence or function of hormones, including vitamin D, estrogen, thyroid hormone, insulin, and progesterone (1)
Ensuring you are getting adequate boron in your diet can increase your fertility, your sense of vitality, and also help to relieve menopausal symptoms and PMS which are the consequences of imbalanced hormones.
` In animal studies, boron depletion is linked with fertility problems and birth defects, which suggests that boron can play a role in healthy reproduction and fetus development (2)
Boron has many beneficial functions
As well as helping to regulate hormones, boron has many other beneficial functions. According to Pizzorno L (2015) boron has proven to be an important trace mineral because:
1. It is essential for the growth and maintenance of bone
2. It greatly improves wound healing
3. It beneficially impacts the body’s use of vitamin D, estrogen, and testosterone
4. It boosts magnesium absorption
5. It reduces levels of inflammatory biomarkers such as high C Reactive Protein (CRP) and tumor necrosis factor (Tnf -a)
6. It raises antioxidant enzymes SOD, catalase, and glutathione
7. It protects against oxidative stress and heavy metal toxicity
8. It improves brain electrical activity, cognitive performance, and short term memory loss.
The following conditions would benefit from increasing levels of boron in the diet:
Arthritis – due to boron’s anti-inflammatory action.
Osteoporosis – Boron helps to strengthen bones, improve bone density and prevent bone loss. Boron helps the body produce and utilise Vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium which are important minerals for bone health.
Brain fog – Boron is considered to be a brain food as it helps to improve brain function, concentration, attention, and memory.
Yeast infections - Boron (in the form of boric acid) is an active ingredient in tablets used to treat yeast infections in women. So, taking some boron as a supplement may help to treat common yeast infections such as Candida Albicans.
Food source of Boron
You may be thinking wow this boron mineral sounds amazing what do I need to eat to increase my boron levels. As mentioned earlier, if you eat well and eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, you should be getting enough boron in your diet. Foods that are rich in boron are:
Avocados Apples Pears Oranges Grapes Leafy greens Peanuts Pecans Red kidney beans Soy beans Lentils
Recommended dietary intake
At this moment in time, there is not a set adequate intake level for boron, despite the many studies showing the beneficial effects of boron. Instead, the United States Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board has set a tolerable upper intake level of 20mg/d for adults (which includes pregnancy and breastfeeding). From the research I have done, levels in the range of 3 – 5 mg a day are generally considered an optimal range, and many supplements on the market are in 3g doses.
According to Levy J (2020), `the risks of consuming this mineral are thought to be minimal, especially from natural food sources. It is widely recognised as being very safe for consumption in both humans and animals. The only caution would be with people with hormone sensitive conditions like breast or prostate cancer, endometriosis or uterine fibroids since supplementing with boron can increase estrogen levels.
I think we will hear more about the benefits of boron as more research is done. Boron’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hormone balancing, and mineral metabolism properties make it a vital part of improving fertility in all females, but especially females over the age of 40. Nielsen H and Macham L (2011) suggest that boron intakes above 1 mg/day could help people live “longer and better”. We can do this simply by eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and pulses. I am up for that.
(1) Nielsen H (PHD) and Meacham S L (PHD) Growing Evidence for Human Health Benefits of Boron, Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2011) 16 (3) 169 -180. (2) Levy J Boron Uses – Boost Bone Density and Much More (2020) sourced from www.draxe.com (3) Pizzaro L Nothing Boring about Boron (2015) Aug 14 (4) 35 – 48, Integrated Medicine Clinical Journal