There has been a real craze for testosterone boosters in recent years, and there are many reasons for this widespread popularity.
The fact that men lose their ability to produce optimal testosterone levels as they age is one. Another is that modern lifestyles tend to contribute to testosterone deficiency. Finally, the fitness industry is pushing testosterone boosting as a way to improve gym performance and muscle growth — rightfully so, mind you.
Boron, both by itself and as a popular ingredient in many testosterone boosters, is claimed to raise testosterone levels. We’re here to see how true this claim is and how reliable this substance really is.
Boron: A mineral with a golden reputation
Boron is a unique element on the periodic table as it is the only non-metal element in group 13 of the table. It comes in several forms but the most commonly found one is amorphous boron which doesn’t react with water, acids, oxygen, or alkalis.
It isn’t present in nature in its basic form, but we can also find it as borax, kernite, boric acid, and colemanite.
We can find boron compounds in air, soil, and water. Humanity isn’t a major contributor to the natural presence of boron, as only a few major human endeavors actually produce boron. Exposure to boron and harmful accumulation of the substance is highly unlikely in nature. Plants absorb it from the ground, and herbivores get it from plants. The build-up in animals and soil are very rare, though.
Humans get most of their boron from water, air, vegetables, and store-bought products. The recommended intake for an average human is 2 mg of boron per day. Our bodies can hold up to 18 mg of boron in total without getting any adverse symptoms.
When it comes to toxicity, 5 g of boric acid is enough to cause negative side effects, which include throat, nose, and eye irritation. An amount of 20 g may put a person in mortal danger.
The connection between boron and testosterone
For those searching for a quick answer, yes, boron can boost testosterone levels. When it comes to research and studies that back up these claims, we’re still some time away from getting a clear-cut answer on the why and how. Like with a lot of testosterone-boosting substances on the current market, there are quite a few studies that give conflicting results and conclusions
The claim goes that boron can help improve testosterone levels in three major ways:
A comparative study by Mohammad Reza Naghii et al. from 2010 shows that an intake of 10 mg of boron per day for a week can significantly reduce estradiol (a form of estrogen). There was a 39% reduction in estradiol levels after a week of supplementation, but it’s worth noting that no significant change was documented after a single dose.On the other hand, a similar study by M R Naghii and S Samman from 1998 showed quite the opposite. They also dosed boron intake at 10 mg a day but found that after four weeks of supplementation, subjects showed an increase in estradiol from an average of 51.9 pmol/mL to an average of 73.9 pmol/L. Sure, it’s an older study, but this doesn’t make it completely irrelevant.
Improves Vitamin D levels
One of the prominent reasons why men experience reduced testosterone production is vitamin D deficiency. It has been shown by both animal and human studies that boron can be a catalyst for better vitamin absorption. After 64 days of boron deprivation, subjects were introduced to boron again. After 49 days of boron replenishment, they noted a 39% increase in vitamin D levels.
Being that this isn’t the only study that shows this kind of result, we can safely say that this is a legitimate way boron can boost testosterone levels. Still, it’s worth noting that if the cause of your T deficiency is not vitamin D, this won’t help you get them back to normal.
It is well documented that the sex hormone binding globulin plays a major factor when it comes to free testosterone levels. Boron is quite capable of reducing the presence of SHBG and therefore increasing the levels of bioavailable testosterone. SHBG tends to get higher in older men, so boron supplementation is especially effective in older age groups.
A study by Naghii et al., conducted on eight healthy male subjects, gave more than a few positive results. The researchers noted an increase in free testosterone from 11.83 pg/mL to 15.18 pg/mL after boron supplementation. Inflammatory markers dropped by a lot too. Cortisol levels jumped a bit, and levels of dihydrotestosterone and vitamin D too.
So, even though there are some conflicting studies about the effects of boron on testosterone levels, we can safely say that it can indeed help combat deficiency in men.
Other health benefits
Boron seems to be a substance that just keeps on giving. Along with boosting testosterone levels, it is also beneficial to several other aspects of our health.
Proinflammatory cytokines are known to cause lung and breast cancer, obesity, and insulin resistance. Boron is known to limit the effects of proinflammatory cytokines, therefore, protecting our bodies from developing these diseases but also combats regular inflammations.
Improving joint health
Due to its anti-inflammatory effects on the joints, it is often prescribed to people that are dealing with arthritis.
Promoting bone health
Boron is thought to promote higher mineral concentration which boosts bone health. It’s especially effective when combining vitamin D and calcium fructoborate.
Elevated muscle coordination
Along with magnesium, boron is known to improve muscle function, which is crucial to athletes and can help with some conditions.
We should note here that boron still hasn’t been completely figured out by the medical community. There are going to be more studies done down the road, but it’s becoming apparent that there are health conditions that stem from boron deficiency.
Why we still don’t know the symptoms of boron deficiency
After going through all these benefits of boron, it might sound a bit weird that the medical community still hasn’t figured out the symptoms of boron deficiency. As a matter of fact, boron is still classified as a non-essential nutrient as we are yet to identify its biological function. It’s slowly becoming apparent, but it has significant interactions with many systems inside our bodies, like calcium metabolization, brain function, insulin, bone formation and maintenance, reproductive organs, hormones, the immune system, etc.
We know that most of the boron we ingest is converted to boric acid and that we absorb most of the boron we consume (85-90%) through our gastrointestinal tract. Unfortunately, we don’t know where exactly that absorption occurs.
We accumulate most of our boron in bones, nails, and hair. Our boron blood levels remain in homeostasis even when we increase boron levels dramatically, but we still don’t understand how it’s regulated.
Due to this, we are unable to determine precisely how much boron intake is optimal and what the symptoms of boron deficiency are.
How to increase boron levels
The Food and Nutrition Board states that they don’t have enough data to determine crucial recommendations when it comes to boron which includes the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), Adequate Intake (AD), Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) and Tolerable Upper Intake Limit (UL). The World Health Organization provided us with an estimate of an “acceptable safe range” for boron intake, which ranges between 1 and 13 mg per day.
We can get boron through two primary ways, diet and supplementation.
Due to the fact that boron doesn’t accumulate in muscles and skin, the primary food sources that contain this substance are plant-based. The biggest sources of boron in the plant world come from fruits, legumes, and tubers. Being plant-based products, beer, wines, and ciders are also decent sources of boron. Coffee, especially instant coffee, is a major source of boron for adults in most of the world. Adolescents tend to get their boron from milk and cheese products, around 20% of their total intake.
Table of top 10 foods with largest boron content:
Mg per serving
Prune juice (1 Cup)
Avocado (½ cup, cubed, raw)
Raisins (1.5 ounces)
Peaches (1 medium-sized)
Grape juice (1 cup)
Apple (1 medium-sized)
Pear (1 medium-sized)
Peanuts (salted, roasted, 1 ounce)
Beans (refried, ½ cup)
Peanut butter (2 tablespoons)
Dietary supplements are the only other way to get access to boron for the general public. The supplement containing boron can be pure boron or a combination of other ingredients, most often other minerals.
It is worth noting that the number that indicates the amount of boron contained in the supplement refers to elemental boron, not the total weight of the compound from which it comes. There are several different compounds that are used in supplements, including:
Boron shows a lot of promise, but we’re just at the beginning of studying its effects, and it will take some time to figure it out. The holes in our understanding of boron may be filled really soon, but so far, we know that it interacts with the testosterone production system helping improve testosterone levels in our bodies. You can use pure boron supplements to achieve this, but boron is a part of many testosterone boosters which combine boron with other testosterone-boosting ingredients for even better results.
Make sure that you don’t go over the recommended daily dosage and if you have any underlying conditions, consult your doctor before you start using the supplement. If you intend to use it for a longer period, you should also consult a doctor or a nutritionist. Hopefully, we’re going to get better recommendations from relevant institutions in the near future so we can get a better understanding of boron’s role in our body and its safety profile.
Yes, boron has been shown to boost testosterone. Still, there are some studies that show that it does not have this ability meaning that there are situations where it doesn’t help. We’re still some time away from knowing everything we need to know about boron.
It can potentially raise testosterone, combat inflammation, and improve magnesium absorption. It also does wonders for bone health and joint health, making it perfect for athletes and people who do resistance training.
In most supplements, we find boron citrate, and manufacturers tend to recommend it. The truth is though that we still don’t really understand the advantages and disadvantages of different types of boron available.
There are three primary reasons why bodybuilders take boron. The first is that it can potentially raise testosterone, the second is that it helps with bone health, and the third is that it helps with reducing inflammation, especially in the joints. All of these benefits are very much desirable in bodybuilding.