Boron is used for boron deficiency, menstrual cramps, and vaginal yeast infections. It is sometimes used for athletic performance, osteoarthritis, weak or brittle bones (osteoporosis), and other conditions, but there is no good scientific research to support these other uses.
Boron was used as a food preservative between 1870 and 1920, and during World Wars I and II.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Likely Effective for
- Boron deficiency. Taking boron by mouth prevents boron deficiency.
Possibly Effective for
- Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). Some research shows that taking boron 10 mg by mouth daily around the time of menstrual bleeding reduces pain in young women with painful periods.
- Vaginal yeast infections. Some research shows that boric acid, used inside the vagina, can successfully treat yeast infections (candidiasis), including infections that do not seem to get better with other medications and treatments. However, the quality of this research is in question.
Possibly Ineffective for
- Athletic performance. Taking boron by mouth does not seem to improve body mass, muscle mass, or testosterone levels in male bodybuilders.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age. Early research shows that taking boron by mouth might improve learning, memory, and fine motor skills in older people.
- Osteoarthritis. Early research shows that boron might be useful for decreasing pain related to arthritis.
- Weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis). Early research shows that taking boron by mouth daily doesn't improve bone mass in postmenopausal women.
- Skin damage caused by radiation therapy (radiation dermatitis). Early research shows that applying a boron-based gel 4 times a day on the skin area undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer might prevent skin rash related to radiation.
- Other conditions.
When applied into the vagina: Boric acid, a common form of boron, is LIKELY SAFE when used vaginally for up to six months. It can cause a sensation of vaginal burning.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Children: Boron is LIKELY SAFE when used in doses less than the Upper Tolerable Limit (UL) (see dosage section below). Boron is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in higher doses. Large quantities of boron can cause poisoning. Boric acid powder, a common form of boron, is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when applied in large amounts to prevent diaper rash.
Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Boron might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, avoid supplemental boron or high amounts of boron from foods.
Kidney disease or problems with kidney function: Do not take boron supplements if you have kidney problems. The kidneys have to work hard to flush out boron.
Estrogens interacts with BORON
Boron might increase estrogen levels in the body. Taking boron along with estrogens might cause too much estrogen in the body.
Be cautious with this combination
- For painful periods: Boron 10 mg daily from two days before until three days after the start of menstrual flow.
- There is no Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for boron since an essential biological role for it has not been identified. People consume varying amounts of boron depending on their diet. Diets considered to be high in boron provide approximately 3.25 mg of boron per 2000 kcal per day. Diets considered to be low in boron provide 0.25 mg of boron per 2000 kcal per day.
The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), the maximum dose at which no harmful effects would be expected, is 20 mg per day for adults and pregnant or breast-feeding women over 19 years of age.
- For vaginal infections: 600 mg of boric acid powder once or twice a day.
- General: There is no Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for boron since an essential biological role for it has not been identified. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), the maximum dose at which no harmful effects would be expected, is 17 mg per day for adolescents 14 to 18 years of age and pregnant or breast-feeding women 14 to 18 years of age. For children 9 to 13 years old, the UL is 11 mg per day; children 4 to 8 years old, 6 mg per day; and children 1 to 3 years old, 3 mg per day. A UL has not been established for infants.
Beattie, J. H. and Peace, H. S. The influence of a low-boron diet and boron supplementation on bone, major mineral and sex steroid metabolism in postmenopausal women. Br J Nutr 1993;69(3):871-884. View abstract.
Benevolenskaia, L. I., Toroptsova, N. V., Nikitinskaia, O. A., Sharapova, E. P., Korotkova, T. A., Rozhinskaia, L. I., Marova, E. I., Dzeranova, L. K., Molitvoslovova, N. N., Men'shikova, L. V., Grudinina, O. V., Lesniak, O. M., Evstigneeva, L. P., Smetnik, V. P., Shestakova, I. G., and Kuznetsov, S. I. [Vitrum osteomag in prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women: results of the comparative open multicenter trial]. Ter.Arkh. 2004;76(11):88-93. View abstract.
Biquet I, Collette J, Dauphin JF, and et al. Prevention of postmenopausal bone loss by administration of boron. Osteoporos Int 1996;6 Suppl 1:249.
Chapin, R. E. and Ku, W. W. The reproductive toxicity of boric acid. Environ Health Perspect. 1994;102 Suppl 7:87-91. View abstract.
Fukuda, R., Hirode, M., Mori, I., Chatani, F., Morishima, H., and Mayahara, H. Collaborative work to evaluate toxicity on male reproductive organs by repeated dose studies in rats 24). Testicular toxicity of boric acid after 2- and 4-week administration periods. J Toxicol Sci 2000;25 Spec No:233-239. View abstract.
Garabrant, D. H., Bernstein, L., Peters, J. M., and Smith, T. J. Respiratory and eye irritation from boron oxide and boric acid dusts. J Occup Med 1984;26(8):584-586. View abstract.
Goldbloom RB and Goldbloom A. Boron acid poisoning: report of four cases and a review of 109 cases from the world literature. J Pediatrics 1953;43(6):631-643.
Hunt, C. D. The biochemical effects of physiologic amounts of dietary boron in animal nutrition models. Environ Health Perspect. 1994;102 Suppl 7:35-43. View abstract.
Hunt, C. D., Herbel, J. L., and 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;9(2):171-182. View abstract.
Hunt, C. D., Herbel, J. L., and Nielsen, F. H. Metabolic responses of postmenopausal women to supplemental dietary boron and aluminum during usual and low magnesium intake: boron, calcium, and magnesium absorption and retention and blood mineral concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr 1997;65(3):803-813. View abstract.
Ishii, Y., Fujizuka, N., Takahashi, T., Shimizu, K., Tuchida, A., Yano, S., Naruse, T., and Chishiro, T. A fatal case of acute boric acid poisoning. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 1993;31(2):345-352. View abstract.
Jansen, J. A., Andersen, J., and Schou, J. S. Boric acid single dose pharmacokinetics after intravenous administration to man. Arch.Toxicol. 1984;55(1):64-67. View abstract.
Lee, I. P., Sherins, R. J., and Dixon, R. L. Evidence for induction of germinal aplasia in male rats by environmental exposure to boron. Toxicol.Appl.Pharmacol 1978;45(2):577-590. View abstract.
Limaye, S. and Weightman, W. Effect of an ointment containing boric acid, zinc oxide, starch and petrolatum on psoriasis. Australas.J Dermatol. 1997;38(4):185-186. View abstract.
Linden, C. H., Hall, A. H., Kulig, K. W., and Rumack, B. H. Acute ingestions of boric acid. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 1986;24(4):269-279. View abstract.
Litovitz, T. L., Klein-Schwartz, W., Oderda, G. M., and Schmitz, B. F. Clinical manifestations of toxicity in a series of 784 boric acid ingestions. Am J Emerg.Med 1988;6(3):209-213. View abstract.
Murray, F. J. A human health risk assessment of boron (boric acid and borax) in drinking water. Regul.Toxicol Pharmacol. 1995;22(3):221-230. View abstract.
Newnham RE. The role of boron in human nutrition. J Applied Nutrition 1994;46(3):81-85.
Nielsen FH and Penland JG. Boron supplementation of peri-menopausal women affects boron metabolism and indices associated with macromineral metabolism, hormonal status and immune function. J Trace Elements Experimental Med 1999;12(3):251-261.
Orley, J. Nystatin versus boric acid powder in vulvovaginal candidiasis. Am J Obstet.Gynecol. 12-15-1982;144(8):992-993. View abstract.
Prutting, S. M. and Cerveny, J. D. Boric acid vaginal suppositories: a brief review. Infect.Dis Obstet.Gynecol. 1998;6(4):191-194. View abstract.
Restuccio, A., Mortensen, M. E., and Kelley, M. T. Fatal ingestion of boric acid in an adult. Am J Emerg.Med 1992;10(6):545-547. View abstract.
Shinohara, Y. T. and Tasker, S. A. Successful use of boric acid to control azole-refractory Candida vaginitis in a woman with AIDS. J Acquir.Immune.Defic.Syndr.Hum.Retrovirol. 11-1-1997;16(3):219-220. View abstract.
Travers RL and Rennie GC. Clinical trial: boron and arthritis. The results of a double blind pilot study. Townsend Lett Doctors 1990;360-362.
Travers RL, Rennie GC, and Newnham RE. Boron and arthritis: the results of a double-blind pilot study. J Nutritional Med 1990;1:127-132.
Valdes-Dapena MA and Arey JB. Boric acid poisoning. J Pediatr 1962;61:531-546.
Van Slyke, K. K., Michel, V. P., and Rein, M. F. The boric acid powder treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis. J Am Coll.Health Assoc 1981;30(3):107-109. View abstract.
Wallace, J. M., Hannon-Fletcher, M. P., Robson, P. J., Gilmore, W. S., Hubbard, S. A., and Strain, J. J. Boron supplementation and activated factor VII in healthy men. Eur.J Clin Nutr. 2002;56(11):1102-1107. View abstract.
Woods, W. G. An introduction to boron: history, sources, uses, and chemistry. Environ.Health Perspect. 1994;102 Suppl 7:5-11. View abstract.
Acs N, Banhidy F, Puho E, Czeizel AE. Teratogenic effects of vaginal boric acid treatment during pregnancy. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 2006;93:55-6. View abstract.
Aysan E, Idiz UO, Elmas L, Saglam EK, Akgun Z, Yucel SB. Effects of boron-based gel on radiation-induced dermatitis in breast cancer: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Invest Surg 2017;30(3):187-192. doi: 10.1080/08941939.2016.1232449. View abstract.
Bleys J, Navas-Acien A, Guallar E. Serum selenium and diabetes in U.S. adults. Diabetes Care 2007;30:829-34. View abstract.
Di Renzo F, Cappelletti G, Broccia ML, et al. Boric acid inhibits embryonic histone deacetylases: a suggested mechanism to explain boric acid-related teratogenicity. Appl Pharmacol 2007;220:178-85. View abstract.
Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002. Available at: www.nap.edu/books/0309072794/html/.
Green NR, Ferrando AA. Plasma boron and the effects of boron supplementation in males. Environ Health Perspect 1994;102:73-7. View abstract.
Guaschino S, De Seta F, Sartore A, et al. Efficacy of maintenance therapy with topical boric acid in comparison with oral itraconazole in the treatment of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2001;184:598-602. View abstract.
Heindel JJ, Price CJ, Field EA, et al. Developmental toxicity of boric acid in mice and rats. Fundam Appl Toxicol 1992;18:266-77. View abstract.
Hjelm C, Harari F, Vahter M. Pre- and postnatal environmental boron exposure and infant growth: results from a mother-child cohort in northern Argentina. Environ Res 2019;171:60-8. View abstract.
Jovanovic R, Congema E, Nguyen HT. Antifungal agents vs. boric acid for treating chronic mycotic vulvovaginitis. J Reprod Med 1991;36:593-7. View abstract.
Kuru R, Yilmaz S, Balan G, et al. Boron-rich diet may regulate blood lipid profile and prevent obesity: a non-drug and self-controlled clinical trial. J Trace Elem Med Biol 2019;54:191-8. View abstract.
Makela P, Leaman D, Sobel JD. Vulvovaginal trichosporonosis. Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol 2003;11:131-3. View abstract.
Meacham SL, Taper LJ, Volpe SL. Effect of boron supplementation on blood and urinary calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, and urinary boron in athletic and sedentary women. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;61:341-5. View abstract.
Meacham SL, Taper LJ, Volpe SL. Effects of boron supplementation on bone mineral density and dietary, blood, and urinary calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and boron in female athletes. Environ Health Perspect 1994;102(Suppl 7):79-82. View abstract.
Naghii MR, Samman S. The effect of boron supplementation on its urinary excretion and selected cardiovascular risk factors in healthy male subjects. Biol Trace Elem Res 1997;56:273-86. View abstract.
Newnham RE. Essentiality of boron for healthy bones and joints. Environ Health Perspect 1994;102:83-5. View abstract.
Nielsen FH, Hunt CD, Mullen LM, Hunt JR. Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women. FASEB J 1987;1:394-7. View abstract.
Nielsen FH. Biochemical and physiologic consequences of boron deprivation in humans. Environ Health Perspect 1994;102:59-63.. View abstract.
Nikkhah S, Dolatian M, Naghii MR, Zaeri F, Taheri SM. Effects of boron supplementation on the severity and duration of pain in primary dysmenorrhea. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2015;21(2):79-83. View abstract.
Penland JG. Dietary boron, brain function, and cognitive performance. Environ Health Perspect 1994;102:65-72. View abstract.
Rein MF. Current therapy of vulvovaginitis. Sex Transm Dis 1981;8:316-20. View abstract.
Ringdahl EN. Treatment of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. Am Fam Physician 2000;61:3306-12, 3317. View abstract.
Shils M, Olson A, Shike M. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lea and Febiger, 1994.
Singh S, Sobel JD, Bhargava P, et al. Vaginitis due to Candida krusei: epidemiology, clinical aspects, and therapy. Clin Infect Dis 2002;35:1066-70. View abstract.
Sobel JD, Chaim W, Nagappan V, Leaman D. Treatment of vaginitis caused by Candida glabrata: use of topical boric acid and flucytosine. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2003;189:1297-300. View abstract.
Sobel JD, Chaim W. Treatment of Torulopsis glabrata vaginitis: retrospective review of boric acid therapy. Clin Infect Dis 1997;24:649-52. View abstract.
Swate TE, Weed JC. Boric acid treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis. Obstet Gynecol 1974;43:893-5. View abstract.
Thai L, Hart LL. Boric acid vaginal suppositories. Ann Pharmacother 1993;27:1355-7. View abstract.
Usuda K, Kono K, Iguchi K, et al. Hemodialysis effect on serum boron level in the patients with long term hemodialysis. Sci Total Environ 1996;191:283-90. View abstract.
Van Kessel K, Assefi N, Marrazzo J, Eckert L. Common complementary and alternative therapies for yeast vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis: a systematic review. Obstet Gynecol Surv 2003;58:351-8. View abstract.
Van Slyke KK, Michel VP, Rein MF. Treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis with boric acid powder. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1981;141:145-8. View abstract.
Volpe SL, Taper LJ, Meacham S. The relationship between boron and magnesium status and bone mineral density in the human: a review. Magnes Res 1993;6:291-6.. View abstract.
You Might Also Like
CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.
This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.