Common names: Boron
ÒÒ...Ethno or other evidence of efficacy.
Safety rating:●...Little exposure or very minor concerns.
What is Boron?
The element boron (B, atomic number 5) is found in deposits in the earth's crust at a concentration of about 0.001%. It is obtained in the form of its compounds and never in its elemental state. Environmental boron is taken up by plants in trace amounts, thereby contributing to dietary boron intake.
In medicine, the element boron often is most commonly found in the form of boric acid and sodium borate.
What is it used for?Miscellaneous uses
Boron has been used in nuclear chemistry as a neutron absorber. It also has been added to other metals to form harder alloys. In medicine, boron is most commonly found in the form of boric acid, which is used as a topical astringent and anti-infective, as well as an ophthalmologic irrigant. Sodium borate is bacteriostatic and commonly is added to cold creams, eye washes, and mouth rinses.
Over-the-counter supplements containing boron compounds are purported to enhance mental power, sometimes citing poorly substantiated studies that found alterations in the electroencephalogram in the presence of a low-boron diet. These studies also reported a correlation between a low-boron diet and a decrease in mental alertness. There is no evidence, however, that diet supplementations of boron compounds, above the levels derived from a normal balanced diet, can enhance mental acuity or improve alertness.
Sprinkled in crevices and corners, boric acid powder controls rodents and insects. Boron compounds are used to enhance the cell selectivity of radiation therapy.
What is the recommended dosage?
Boron has been studied in several clinical studies at a wide range of doses. Daily dosage of 2.5 to 6 mg as boron has been administered for osteoarthritis and strength conditioning. Intravaginal boric acid (600 mg daily) was administered for vulvovaginal candidiasis.
How safe is it?Contraindications
Contraindications have not yet been identified.Pregnancy/nursing
Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.Interactions
None well documented.Side Effects
There is little or no clinical data about the adverse effects of boron; boron compounds can be toxic to humans.Toxicities
While boric acid, borates, and other compounds containing boron are used medicinally, they potentially are toxic if ingested or absorbed through nonintact skin.
- Boron. Review of Natural Products. factsandcomparisons4.0 [online]. 2005. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed April 16, 2007.
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