The body needs access to certain minerals to function normally. Each mineral plays its role in the maintenance of a healthy body.
Boron is one of these minerals. It is found in several food sources, as well as in the environment around us.
Several functions in the body depend on a healthy dose of boron. In men and women, hormone regulation is affected by the level of boron that is available. Bone health also depends on this mineral, and it may play a role in the functioning of the brain.
Boron deficiency has become a relatively well-discussed topic. It is often a concern among vegetation – which is essential to providing the human body with nutritional content. Among the worldwide human population, boron deficiency also seems to pose a health problem.
In this post, we consider what a boron deficiency is. We also consider the symptoms that may signal such a deficiency, as well as the potential causes.
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What is Boron Deficiency?
Boron deficiency is a condition where there is a lack of boron in a person’s body. This mineral plays a role in hormone production, growth, bone health, and more. When boron uptake is suppressed or eats too little foods with boron, it may affect the mineral’s levels in their body.
The body needs a very low concentration of boron to remain healthy. Even at a low b concentration, the mineral can provide several functions in the body. It also interacts with other nutrients that play essential roles.
When boron deficiency develops, a person may also develop a calcium deficiency. In some individuals, a magnesium deficiency had also developed following a decline in boron levels.
Due to the role that boron plays in bones and the brain, symptoms of a deficiency often develop in these two systems. People with a boron deficiency generally tend to experience poor cognitive function. Alertness becomes suppressed due to the adverse effects on the brain. Additionally, there may be a poor uptake of calcium in the bones. In turn, this leads to a range of potential risks.
Boron also has an important role to play in male health. Men with boron deficiency have risks related to their prostate and even the reproductive system. With this in mind, a boron deficiency test is often done to assist in the diagnosis process in men with low testosterone levels. While it is not a definite cause, it is still a potential risk that doctors take into consideration.
Boron deficiency is not only an important medical topic among human patients. Vegetation may also experience adverse effects when boron levels in the soil are low. Boron is vital for root growth in plants. The plants absorb it. An appropriate nutrient solution, with a more organic option for fertilizer, is often used to reduce the risk of boron deficiency in plants.
What are the symptoms of Boron Deficiency?
Boron has several roles to play in the body. This is why it is generally important for people to be able to recognize the condition. With early detection of boron deficiency, treatment will generally be more effective. It is also easier to help a person reach a balance in boron when treatment is provided during an early stage of the deficiency.
With this in mind, understanding symptoms that may signal a deficiency in boron are important. When a person develops these symptoms, they should consult a doctor. Some tests can help to determine if the patient may have too little boron in their blood. In such a scenario, the person should consider the available potential treatment options.
Studies and evidence on signs related to boron deficiency are somewhat limited at the moment. Further studies are still being conducted. This will assist in providing more accurate data on how boron deficiency will affect the person. The symptoms experienced may also differ between multiple patients.
There are a few general symptoms that have been identified. These may include:
- Brain function may be impaired in some people. This could include a reduction in a person’s mental alertness. The ability to focus may also be adversely affected.
- In postmenopausal women, there have been reports of a significant reduction in estrogen levels. This may be due to a higher level of magnesium excretion. Additionally, excretion of calcium through urination may also be increased with a boron deficiency.
- When calcium and magnesium excretion through urine is increased, the person may develop problems with their bone mineral density. This, in turn, could lead to potential bone pain and poor bone health. The risk of osteoarthritis might also be increased with a continuous deficiency in this mineral.
- There may be a reduction in vitamin D levels in the body when boron levels are too low. This is due to the role that boron plays in the metabolization of vitamin D. In particular, studies show a reduced level of 25-hydroxy vitamin D in the blood. This can lead to problems related to vitamin D deficiency too.
- Boron also seems to assist in keeping the body free of cancerous growths and cells. Some studies had been able to provide evidence on this matter. It seems like people with an appropriate boron intake have a lower risk of developing certain cancers. In women, there seems to be a higher risk of cervical cancer in the presence of a boron deficiency.
- In men, boron plays a role in the production of testosterone. When a deficiency develops, there may be implications that affect testosterone production. This could lead to a decrease in serum testosterone levels. In turn, the man may experience issues with their fertility, a low libido, and additional adverse effects.
- There also seems to be a link between boron and the prostate in men. Among studies, it has been found that a higher intake of boron relates to smaller prostate size. This is an ideal that men generally tend to aim for. With an enlarged prostate, a condition like benign prostatic hyperplasia can develop. Thus, with boron deficiency, an enlarged prostate may also become a risk for the man.
What causes Boron Deficiency?
There are risk factors and causes that have been associated with a boron deficiency. Men and women should understand what these potential causes are. This helps the individual understand if they are at a higher risk of developing a deficiency in this mineral. It also ensures a person can identify potential causes if they do suffer from a boron deficiency.
The major cause behind boron deficiency lies within the dieting habits of the population. A lot of people are following unhealthy diets. The convenience offered by fast-food chains and food trucks has made many turn toward these when they need to eat during lunch.
Unfortunately, this is also where the issue with mineral and vitamin deficiencies comes into play. The foods provided at these locations generally contain what many people would refer to as empty calories.
Empty calories generally refer to food that adds to the daily caloric consumption but does not add any value. This means there are no vitamins, minerals, or other important nutrients in the food. If there are any, they may be present at a very low level.
By continuing to rely on these foods, a person puts themselves at risk of a boron deficiency. Thus, the number of risk factors and causes would be the failure to consume high boron foods.
Another factor that affects boron deficiency is the poorly described dietary recommendations. While there are some general guidelines, scientists have not yet provided an accurate view of how much boron is needed each day. Thus, even when following recommendations, a person may still not obtain enough of the mineral. On the other hand, daily recommendations may even be too much for some people.
In addition to these, genetics need to be taken into consideration too. There seem to be genes involved in the process of boron metabolism. Researchers have found that boron levels in the blood are very similar between relatives. This shows that the metabolism of the mineral may depend on the genetic makeup of a person.
With this in mind, genetics might also put a person at risk of a boron deficiency. If the individual has family members who experience a deficiency in the mineral, their risk may be increased.
It is also important to note that there is a severe issue with boron deficiency in crops and plants. A plant leaf relies on boron for several functions. When soil boron levels are low, it may lead to a poor boron concentration in the plants. When this happens, the person will not obtain as much boron when consuming those plants.
How can you treat Boron Deficiency?
Before treatment for a boron deficiency can be commenced, the patient needs to undergo a test. This test will determine the level of boron in the person’s blood. The concentration in human subjects differs significantly between individuals.
The average concentration will generally vary from 30 ppm to 50 ppm. This, however, is only provided as a guideline. The total boron level can also be measured in mg. In humans, the boron range generally falls between 3mg and can go up to 20mg.
If the doctor identifies a low level of boron, they may provide appropriate treatment to the patient. This will include the use of a supplement that contains boron. The doctor may provide the patient with a basic boron supplement if the deficiency is not severe. The goal here is to help restore normal levels of the mineral in the patient’s body.
By creating a better balance of boron in the body, the deficiency symptoms may subside. This may also help to reduce the risk of complications associated with a boron deficiency.
A more severe Boron deficiency may require a higher level of boron supplementation. This is especially the case if the deficiency symptoms have a serious impact on a person’s life.
A doctor may also consider whether additional deficiencies are present in the patient. With a blood test, more than just boron may be tested. The doctor may also order tests for calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium levels. These have close relations to boron. When boron deficiency happens, these minerals and vitamins may also be affected.
If there is more than just a boron deficiency, additional supplements may be provided to the person. This might include the use of a multivitamin. In other cases, individual supplements at specific strengths may rather be provided to the individual.
Boron food sources
There are several potential sources of boron that people consume in their everyday diets. It is possible to utilize a supplement that contains boron. However, for best results, it is generally advised that a person considers eating more foods that contain the mineral.
Leafy green vegetables are the best source of boron. Spinach, kale, and other vegetables classified as leafy greens generally contain a high mineral concentration. With regular consumption of these vegetables, many people are able to maintain a healthy level of boron in their bodies.
These, however, are not the only sources of boron. Several other foods, including some foods and vegetables, are also excellent sources of the mineral. Below, we share a list of essential foods to consume to maintain a healthy boron concentration in the body.
- Dried beans
In addition to these, the majority of fruits that are not classified as citrus also contains some boron.
It is best to consume a combination of this food. Due to the large number of foods that contain boron, it is generally easy to include these items in a person’s daily diet.
For example, grains and leafy green vegetables can form part of a single meal. This adds two sources of boron to the meal, helping the individual reach their daily intake goal.
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A deficiency in boron can cause serious problems with the well-being of the human body. The mineral is critical for brain and bone health. It also assists in the regulation of hormones in the body. Recognizing signs of a boron deficiency early on is important. This helps to ensure boron deficiency treatment is initiated before complications may develop.
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