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Boron: food sources and health benefits

Siski Green / 19 February 2021

Boron, found in fresh fruit, nuts, beans and leafy vegetables, helps the body use calcium

Apples and pears on a table
Boron is found in fresh fruits and leafy green vegetables

Boron is rather unusual in the world of minerals in that scientists aren’t even certain that it’s essential for health. It plays various roles in our health but there isn’t evidence that we need it, in the same way we need other minerals such as calcium or iron, for example.

What is boron used for?

Boron is used by the body to metabolise other minerals and vitamins. It’s important for strong healthy bones – it helps the body absorb calcium by having an effect on how vitamin D works in the body – and it also has an impact on hormone levels both oestrogen and testosterone.

What do we know about boron?

As with other trace minerals that we need to survive, boron deficiency is rare, in fact there isn’t any evidence that it’s even possible to be deficient. There isn’t much research into the effects of ingesting more boron than comes naturally with a varied diet, so while it’s understood that boron has an important role to play, there isn’t evidence that ingesting more will provide any benefits.

What’s the best way to take boron?

Supplementation is not advised unless your doctor prescribes or suggests it. Instead, up your intake of boron-rich foods such as almonds, chickpeas, brazil nuts, bananas and beans to ensure you’re getting enough.

Does boron really work?

As boron is used by the body to improve absorption of other important minerals and nutrients such as magnesium, calcium and so on, it does ‘work’. There is, however, little scientific evidence to show that upping your intake of boron beyond that which you get in your natural diet will show any significant benefit.

There is evidence, however, that people with low vitamin D levels often have low boron levels too. This suggests that the two nutrients work together in some way. There isn’t research to show that upping your intake of boron will help, however.

Where can I get boron?

Borin is most readily found in foods such as kale and spinach, nuts, also prunes, raisins, and grains. Most people get their intake of boron from, apples, potatoes, beans and milk, common foods that are eaten in large enough quantities to provide what the body needs.

How long does boron take to work?

As you are ingesting boron via your diet, you are unlikely to see specific and significant changes until a year or so of upping your intake.

What are the side effects of taking boron?

It’s recommended that you don’t ingest more than 20mg a day (as an adult). If you do take in too much, a likely result is that you would vomit. You may also experience diarrhoea and/or heart palpitations.

Are there any contraindications when taking boron?

There isn’t much research into what can happen if you take supplemental boron while taking other medications, so see your doctor to be sure. If you are ingesting boron via your diet, this should not be of concern.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.