Boron deficiency is a pathology which may occur in animals due to a lack of boron. A report given by E. Wayne Johnson et al. at the 2005 Alan D. Leman Swine Conference suggests that boron deficiency produces osteochondrosis in swine that is correctable by addition of 50 ppm of boron to the diet. The amount of boron required by animals and humans is not yet well established.
According to some natural therapy researchers, topsoil used over long periods of time for agriculture become boron-deficient to some extent, and humans eating produce from boron-rich soils have reduced incidence of arthritis and osteoporosis.
Information on boron deficiency in humans is minimal; however, it appears a deficiency in boron impacts mineral metabolism, cognitive function, steroid hormone and vitamin levels, and bone integrity. (20) Boron-deficient diets have resulted in embryological defects in some but not all animals (e.g., not in rodents), pointing to a possible role in reproduction and/or development. Limited growth is also commonly noted in boron-depleted animals, while boron-deficient chicks present increased insulin secretion.
Clinical Applications Anemia
Boron supplementation to subjects who had previously followed a dietary regimen deficient in boron resulted in increases in blood hemoglobin concentrations, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, and decreases in hematocrit, red cell count and platelet count.
Osteo- and Rheumatoid Arthritis
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 20 subjects with osteoarthritis, half of the subjects receiving a daily supplement containing 6 mg boron noted subjective improvement in their condition.
Clinical commentary suggests children with juvenile arthritis (Still's disease) improve with boron supplementation (6-9 mg daily).
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis might experience an aggravation of symptoms (Herxheimer response) for 1-3 weeks, but generally notice improvement within four weeks of beginning boron supplementation (6-9 mg daily).
Collectively, data indicate that boron might play a role in human brain function, alertness, and cognitive performance. In humans, low boron intake compared to high boron intake was associated with poor short- and long-term memory, eye-hand coordination, and manual dexterity. (26) Boron deficiency has also been associated with decreased brain electrical activity similar to brainwave patterns observed in nonspecific malnutrition.