If men take 10 mg boron every day for a week with their breakfast, their free testosterone levels rise by almost thirty percent and their estradiol goes down by forty percent, sports scientists at the University of Medical Sciences in Teheran discovered.
The researchers did an experiment with eight men aged between 29 and 50. The men were given a capsule containing 10 mg of the boron-containing compound disodium tetraborate, which they took with their breakfast. The common name for the compound is borax.
Borax is a permitted food additive in both Iran and the EU. Borax is added to Iranian caviar products to soften the taste; European manufacturers sometimes use E285 to stabilise the acidity of food. Vitamin pills with boron often also contain borax. For someone weighing 100kg, a daily intake of 10 mg borax is just about acceptable according to EU norms.
In the US borax is not permitted as a food additive.
Supplementation increased the concentration of boron in the men’s blood by a factor of 37. The concentration of free testosterone in the men’s blood rose by 28 percent and their estradiol level went down by 39 percent. The concentration of the inflammatory protein TNF-alpha also went down. The researchers therefore conclude that borax supplementation is ‘healthy’.
Researchers at Auburn University previously tried to boost the testosterone level of bodybuilders by giving them 2.5 mg boron per day. [Environ Health Perspect. 1994 Nov;102 Suppl 7:73-7.] It didn’t work. Perhaps a higher dose boron supplement would have had more effect.
Although studies done in the eighties indicate that borax [structural formula shown above] has almost no carcinogenic effect [Am J Ind Med. 1985; 7(1): 31-43.], regulatory authorities have become less sure of the safety of borax over the years. The Indonesian government, which has outlawed the use of borax in food, warns that long-term consumption of the substance over a period of five years raises the risk of liver cancer. [pkditjenpdn.depdag.go.id]
In addition, toxicologists at the American National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences conclude from animal studies that boron in concentrations of a few millimoles can damage the testes. [Environ Health Perspect. 1994 Nov; 102 Suppl 7:99-105.] These concentrations are considerably higher than the concentration in the blood of the Iranian test subjects.
Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines.
Boron possesses widespread properties in biochemistry and nutrition. Acute supplementation with 11.6 mg of boron resulted in a significant increase in plasma boron concentration. Given such a fast bioavailability, the objective was to determine whether acute (hourly or daily), and weekly supplementation could have any significant biological effects on the steroid hormones and further on some inflammatory biomarkers. Eight healthy male volunteers attended the laboratory on three occasions (days 0, 1 and 7). On the first day (day 0), a blood sample collection at 8.00 A.M was followed by ingestion of placebo with the breakfast. On the next day (supplementation-day 1), similar procedure was followed by ingestion of a capsule containing 10mg of boron. On both occasions blood was collected every 2h for the next 6h. Subjects were requested to consume a capsule of 10mg boron every day with their breakfast, and on the day 7, the blood collection was carried out at 8.00 A.M, again. Boron in plasma increased significantly following hours and weekly consumption. Six hours supplementation showed a significant decrease on sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), high sensitive CRP (hsCRP) and TNF-? level. After one week (in samples taken at 8.00 A.M, only), the mean plasma free testosterone increased and the mean plasma estradiol decreased significantly. Dihydrotestosterone, cortisol and vitamin D was elevated. Also, concentrations of all three inflammatory biomarkers decreased after supplementation. Of note, despite decreased proinflammatory cytokines, based on recent clinical data, this must be the first human study report to show an increase level of free testosterone after boron consumption.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
PMID: 21129941 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]