Their Combined Roles in Maintaining Bone Strength
You have often heard the old saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones …”, but have you ever realized what other dangers exist to your bones? How about deficiencies in magnesium, calcium, and boron? Together, boron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D help to prevent osteoporosis.(4)
Consider the following fact. Sixty-eight percent of all Americans are not getting enough calcium. (2) With back and joint problems affecting greater segments of the population, it would be helpful to know some basic facts. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, calcium is essential to strong bones.
Approximately 75 percent of the United States population is deficient in magnesium. Recent reports show magnesium to be beneficial in migraine headaches, depression, and chronic fatigue syndrome. (2) Properly produced magnesium chelate has reduced PMS [premenstrual syndrome] symptoms.(1) In general, magnesium helps in comfort and relaxation.
You have also heard the old saying: “You are what your eat”. It now appears that a more correct version of that saying should be: “You are what you absorb”. A mineral that is not absorbed cannot get into the bones to strengthen them. The amount absorbed is more important than the quantity consumed.
In the case of calcium, there is widespread use of inorganic forms of calcium for supplementation, such as oyster shells. Yet by properly combining [chelating] calcium with an amino acid [a component of protein] to create an organic chelate, 57 percent more replacement calcium was delivered to the bones than with inorganic calcium.(2)
Chelated minerals provide 3 to 10 times greater absorption than the non-chelated ones, and are thus well worth the small additional cost. Another example is magnesium, which is absorbed 87 percent when properly chelated, but only absorbed 16 percent when taken in an inorganic non-chelated form.(2)
The mineral boron may retard bone loss.(4) Since osteoporosis is occuring in larger numbers of the population, this is important news. Bones have osteoclasts that break down old or damaged bone cells, while the osteoblasts work to replace the lost bone. Osteoporosis occurs when the osteoblasts can not replace lost bone tissue as fast as the osteoclasts break it down. Osteoclasts deplete bone at a faster rate after menopause, leaving women at a greater risk of bone degredation. Boron appears to have a moderating effect on this process.
Is There A Boron – Arthritis Connection?
Over the last decade it has become common knowledge among nutritionally oriented health care practitioners that there seems to be an interesting relationship between lower selenium levels in the soil and higher incidence of breast cancer. As one looks at a map of the USA in which shaded areas represent low levels of selenium in the soil and then compares it to a map where territories with higher reported cases of breast cancer per capita are shaded, the two maps resemble each other to a great extent.
A similar picture is being presented by Rex E. Newnham, Ph.D., D.O., to demonstrate a high probability for a causative relationship between the lack of the mineral boron in the diet and the manifestation of arthritis (as observed in various populations around the world).
In an article published in the Journal of Applied Nutrition,(5) Newnham brings to our attention the following interesting observations:
- Thirty years ago it was observed that a patient with osteoarthritis who lived in Australia in an area where the soil was deficient in boron, responded well to 6 mg. of boron a day. Within three weeks he experienced reduction of swelling and stiffness. Once he was free of symptoms for a full year without taking boron, symptoms returned. After returning to taking boron his condition improved once again within ten days.
- Populations that live in an area where the soil or the drinking water contain high levels of boron are free of arthritis (boron intake of 910 mg./day). Low boron levels in soil or water correlate with much higher than average incidence of arthritis (boron intake of less than 2 mg./day).
- Unpublished information from Australia reveals that thousands of people consumed boron tablets in the form of borax (a cockroach poison containing 10% elemental boron). Surprisingly the use of this product as a nutritional supplement was only promoted by word of mouth.
- Populations in Jamaica, Mauritius and Fiji where either the soil or the diet is low in boron show a higher than average occurrence of arthritis.
- The amount of boron in soil is directly proportional to the amount of organic matter. Therefore, highly fertilized crops (with commercial fertilizer) provide much smaller quantities of boron.
- South African natives who ate a high boron diet had a 3% incidence of arthritis. After they moved into town and changed their diet they fell into the sad statistics of modern city dwellers who average 20% incidence of arthritis.
- Some hot mineral spas in New Zealand where the water boron content is very high acquired the reputation of healing arthritis.
- Animals with arthritic symptoms showed improvement with a dose of 1 mg./25 Kg. of body weight and returned to normal activity.
- The observations which were studied suggest that boron intake at the level of 5-6 mg./day is consistent with prevention of arthritis. A higher dose may be required for treatment.
- Abraham, Dr., University of California – Los Angeles
- Graff, D., Research on Mineral Absoprtion, Weber State University, International Conference on Human Nutrition, 1995
- Heaney, R.P. MD., Creighton University, Calcified Tissue International, 1990
- Mindell, Earl Vitamin Bible, 1991
- Newnham, Ph.D., D.O., Rex E. Journal of Applied Nutrition, (Volume 46, Issue 3, 1994)