An overlooked trace mineral for cancer prevention and bone health
(Naturalhealth365) Cancer prevention is on everyone’s mind. Of course, other diseases like diabetes, dementia and arthritis can not be forgotten. And, for good reason because the numbers are (conventionally-speaking) out of control!
For example, prostate cancer currently affects over 172,000 men in the United States – while an estimated 54.4 million people nationwide suffer from arthritis, a debilitating and painful degenerative joint disease. These two seemingly unrelated conditions may have one surprisingly overlooked mineral in common.
Recent research shows that both of the conditions just mentioned may respond well to treatment with boron, a little-known trace mineral found in plant-based foods. To find out why researchers are excited about boron’s role in cancer prevention – and in supporting joint and bone health – keep reading.
Boron plays a crucial role in bone health
According to researchers, the highest concentrations of boron in the human body are found in the bones – along with skin, nails and hair.
Boron helps the body produce and use vitamin D, essential for bone growth and maintenance. In addition, this beneficial trace mineral helps to regulate levels of the minerals calcium, magnesium and phosphorus – a trio of important players when it comes to building bone.
It also boosts levels of estradiol, a hormone associated with bone health.
Boron reduces the loss of vital calcium from bones, while helping to integrate it into the cartilage of joints – thereby preventing joint deterioration and easing the pain and inflammation of arthritis.
Increasingly, forward-thinking integrative doctors are advising boron to treat rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, the two main forms of the disease.
In addition, a growing number of athletes and bodybuilders use supplementary boron to recover from strenuous exercise and to prevent post-workout pain and stiffness. Boron is also believed to improve muscle mass and strength.
Extensive studies support boron’s ability to prevent osteoporosis and calcium loss
A study published in Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal showed that 3 mg of boron a day helped to prevent the loss of calcium and reduce bone demineralization in postmenopausal women. The researchers noted that the benefit was particularly pronounced in the case of low intake of magnesium – showing that boron can help minimize the effects of insufficient ingestion of other minerals.
In another study, researchers found that boron supplements can increase bone formation and help to protect against osteoporosis in animals. Yet, when it comes to the effects of boron shortages on bone, the research is equally clear.
A 2009 animal study published in Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology showed that insufficient intake of boron can cause reductions in bone volume and strength, while increasing susceptibility to fracture.
Finally, research demonstrated that a combination of boron and fish oil worked to strengthen both cortical bone – the bone’s outer surface – and trabecular bone, the inner layer.
Cancer prevention study: Boron inhibits the growth and spread of cancer cells – and shrinks tumors
Like many disease-fighting natural substances, boron has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities. In addition, it is so strongly antibacterial and antifungal that it was used during World War I as a food preservative when refrigeration wasn’t readily available.
Now, there is research showing that boron may be anticancer as well.
Researchers have found that boron interferes with tumor growth and malignant transformation, and – in one animal study – caused tumors to shrink by 38 percent.
In another study, boron was found to inhibit the growth and spread of prostate cancer cells.
And, a study conducted at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas examined the effects of boron intake on postmenopausal women – when taken with hormone replacement therapy. The team found that increased boron intake could cut lung cancer risk in half, when compared to rates in women with low boron intake and no HRT.
Boron also interferes with the human papillomavirus, or HPV – the primary contributor to cervical cancer.
The takeaway: although more study must be done, boron is showing exciting potential for cancer prevention.
Should I supplement with boron?
Boron levels in foods depend on the soil in which they are grown. If you live in an area in which soil boron levels are low, you may want to consider supplementation.
Low boron levels can cause poor cognition and impaired concentration – otherwise known as “brain fog.” Reduced hand-eye coordination, poor dexterity and imbalances in steroid hormones are other indicators of possible boron deficiency.
Just to be clear: low levels of boron are associated with greater chance of certain diseases. For instance, researchers have discovered that low levels of boron in fluid and tissue are linked with higher incidence of arthritis.
And, in a study involving over 8,800 men published in Oncological Report, researchers analyzed information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that low boron intake was associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Particularly rich dietary sources of boron include nuts, beans, avocados, whole grains, potatoes, apples, berries and plums. In addition, boron can be found in coffee, milk and apples.
Natural health experts may advise boron dosages in the amount of 3 to 6 mg a day.
If you think boron supplementation is for you, discuss the matter first with a knowledgeable integrative healthcare provider.
With research confirming its bone-strengthening and cancer prevention properties, boron is emerging from obscurity and into the spotlight – and taking its place as a safe and natural intervention that can combat disease and improve quality of life.
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