by Michelle K Armstrong
Boron is a mineral; it is the naturally occurring fifth metalloid element. It is considered to be a poison even though it is essential for plant growth and more recently it has been suggested that it is also essential for humans as well. We get our daily boron intake from consuming plants, fruits and vegetables.
Boron has never been viewed as an essential mineral required by our body. Although traces of it can always be found in our body, it was viewed simply as a mineral that existed in plants that we consume and tolerate and is permitted to pass naturally through the body with no significant effect.
However in the early 1980s Dr Rex an Australian arthritis sufferer began to investigate the importance of boron in our diets and whether there was a link between boron and arthritis. His researched spanned over a decade. He traveled the world and studied how different levels of boron in the soil could affect arthritis. He observed various populations around the world.
He hypothesised that areas where the soil was rich in boron arthritis would be minimal and vice versa.
While visiting Africa he noticed that Africans who ate maize grown from boron rich soil only had 3% arthritis in their population. However when they moved to the big cities and began to eat processed commercially grown maize, arthritis levels rose to 20%. The question was why this was happening. Their diet had not dramatically changed, so what was causing the higher levels of arthritis. With further investigation he came to realize that the foods that they had been consuming in the cities was commercially grown. Fertilizers had been used to grow the crops. The soil had not been given the chance to replenish the natural minerals. The fertilizers forced the plants to grow big and lush but did not provide it with the natural minerals that were found naturally in the soil. For example a native maize plant would only produce approximately 1kg of grain compared to 10kg of grain produced by the a well fertilized hybrid maze plant. However the 1kg of native maize had the same amount of natural minerals including boron as the 10kg of commercially grown hybrid maize. It was like scrapping a tiny bit of butter over a lot of bread. There was more quantity but lacked the quality.
Also, in the far north-west of Australia and parts of New Zealand in areas such as the Carnarvon, that is well known for being a place for elderly people to visit to relieve their arthritis. Dr Rex employed a number of school leavers to carry out a survey. The survey found that arthritis was almost unheard of within the local population. They had an amazing 1% population suffering arthritis compared to 20% around most other towns. Dr Rex investigated further and found that it was not the climate that was having the arthritis relieving affect but the geo-thermal waters. The Geo-thermal water was naturally bringing an abundance of minerals including boron to the surface where plants and crops were grown. As a result the foods contained higher levels of boron and so protected the local population that consumed the plants from arthritis.
Further to Dr Rex?s findings the Royal Melbourne Hospital carried out a study as well. They conducted a double-blind trial. One of the groups was treated with boron supplements and the other was given a placebo. The results showed that 70% of those who completed the trial felt much better from taking boron supplements compared to only 12% feeling better from taking a placebo.
The U.S. Human Nutrition Research Centre in North Dakota' investigated how exactly boron could be helping to relieve and cure arthritis. They found that boron worked by helping a gland called the parathyroid that controls the mineralization of bones.
Dr Rex?s research concluded that a lack of the boron mineral can have significant effects on the maintenance of healthy bones. His research suggested that there was an important relationship between Boron and vitamin D. Boron was found to be essential in the activation of Vitamin D, which controls the absorption and utilization of calcium in the body.
He also noticed that arthritis sufferers consuming higher levels of Boron showed significantly reduced levels of calcium and magnesium passing through their urine. It was becoming clear that Boron was helping the body to conserve the magnesium and calcium. Providing the body with a much better chance of utilizing these minerals in maintaining bone and cartilage amongst other things, so preventing bone demineralization and arthritis.
Now I can?t say that I have ever used boron myself to help cure arthritis, for this reason it?s not something I would personally recommend. However for those of you who have already tried other remedies but to no avail. Increasing boron intake may be an option. Although Dr Rex has carried some research, compared to other remedies and ailments there has been very little and so arguably not all the possible side effects are known.
Although Dr Rex didn?t report any adverse side effects in his studies and surveys. I would still contact a doctor or nutritionist before beginning any treatment. They will be able to provide you with up to date information concerning medical research on boron and also monitor your progress and any side effects that the treatment may have.
Whether Boron really does work or not, I just don?t know, but, the reasoning behind his research is sound. Give the body the nutrients that it requires and it will heal itself.