Boron Rich Diet
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Boron sounds a bit boring doesn’t it? But Boron is certainly not boring for your body. It’s an amazing mineral that not many people know much about, let alone consider if they are getting enough of it from their diet.
What is Boron good for?
If you look up boron you may find that it enhances mental power, muscle co-ordination and alertness. But one of boron’s super-hero jobs is to work with magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K to strengthen our bones.
What happens if you don’t have enough Boron?
Without boron, you may get an increased risk of osteoporosis (brittle bones), and your nails and hair may be weaker. Boron has also been used as a paste for vaginal candidiasis (thrush) symptoms of itchiness and burning, as it has quite a soothing calming and alkalizing effect on the delicate tissue of the vaginal area.
Another of boron’s attributes is that it helps to clear glutamate from the brain, which is an excitatory neurotransmitter that often creates nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, decreased eye movements (called strabismus) and other reactions, similar to those of mono sodium glutamate (MSG).
Too much glutamate can burn out your nerve cells and create neurological symptoms. Zinc helps to reduce glutamate damage.
Apart from eating boron rich foods and avoiding MSG, another way to keep glutamate under control is to eliminate gluten and casein from your diet, because they increase glutamate in your body and brain (not good). You should also eliminate glutamate – and anything sounding like glutamate – including aspartates and aspartamine (artificial sugar) from your food and supplements.
Glutamine is a frequently recommended supplement, but glutamate and glutamine can change into each other. This means the use of glutamine, say for gastro-intestinal support, can actually increase the level of glutamate doe some people.
Elevated levels of glutamate deplete your levels of glutathione (GSH), which is a very important antioxidant and metal detox agent used by your liver. Depleted GSH leads to increased inflammation, which can exacerbate leaky gut.
What blocks or interferes with Boron uptake?
Strangely enough, even though we use boron to help our bones, if we have too much calcium, it can block the absorption of boron. Manganese is another mineral that can block the uptake of boron. Copper is a mineral that is synergistic (works with) with boron to assist in absorption.
I know that this might be confusing, but the good news is that this sort of thing usually happens more often with supplemental forms of minerals. Often when we try to boost one mineral with a supplement it can block another. This can good if we are working to clear heavy metals for example, or to clear an excess of a mineral that we have accumulated for various reasons.
An expert nutritional practitioner who has been trained to work in this area can help you to bring balance to your body. The good news is that most whole foods are already synergistically balanced by nature to provide all the right nutrients you need.
What foods are rich in Boron?
Many plant-based foods offer wonderful amounts of boron. Some of the best include: hazelnuts, peanuts, brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, avocado, broccoli, bananas, prunes, oranges, red grapes, apples, pears, raisins, most vegetables, chickpeas, and many other beans and legumes.
How much Boron do I need?
The recommended amount scientists say we need is around 2-7 mg daily or up to 20mg therapeutically. For example, this may equate to ¼ of an avocado to get 2mg. But if you want to ensure you are getting more to strengthen your nails, hair, and bones, and keep your brain alert and muscles co-ordinated, eat plenty of veggies in your diet, a banana, and a few nuts each day, and that way you will obtain plenty of boron.
If you feel that you are eating plenty of boron rich foods and your nails and bones still feel weak, then with the help of your practitioner investigate whether you have enough vitamin D in your blood, and you are digesting your food well enough to get this super (not so boring after all) mineral where it is needed.
And as your mum might have told you, “Chew your food well”.
Before you commence a new diet, see your medical or health care professional for qualified guidance about what foods and supplements are best for your body. While on the diet do not stop any medications or supplements previously prescribed unless advised otherwise by your medical or health care professional.
During the early stages of a new diet, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, headaches or body aches, which may occur because your body is detoxifying. However, if you are unsure about a symptom at any time, check immediately with your medical or health care professional.