Boron, Curious Cancer Killer

October 04, 2021

Boron - Curious Cancer Killer

You've heard of borax for your laundry, but did you really know anything about boron? How about "spallation", the way boron is made? Yup, spallation. It's cosmic rays at the speed of light hitting a nitrogen-14 molecule and in an instant of nuclear physics wizardry, knocking off some protons to make Berylium, that decays to boron. Boron, element 5 in the periodic table, is lighter than carbon, element 6 in the table. Being made high in the atmosphere accounts for why it floats down to earth and settles on plants.

Animals that eat plants that grow outside get plenty of boron. Humans that eat animals that eat plants (hunter-gatherers and herders) get 6-10 mg a day of boron and have less than 10% osteoarthritis. Of course, they do because boron keeps drifting down out of the atmosphere and settling on plants. In America today, many of us get less than 1 mg of boron a day. We eat animals raised on corn and beans, not green grass. We have 70% osteoarthritis. So, there is evidence that boron plays a pretty big role in bone health. (Just Google boron and osteoarthritis and you will come away taking 3 mg a day for the rest of your life.)

But it's cancer we are interested in. A study using NHANES data (our national nutritional study) was our first hint. It looked at 95 prostate cancer patients compared to 8700 controls and examined their boron intake. Those in the highest quartile of boron had a 46 % reduction in risk. That seemed impressive. Then it was challenged with another report using the NHANES data saying it wasn't true.

Now, a study from Turkey is our key takeaway for today. Turkey, by chance, has the highest deposits of boron in the world, and large parts of Turkey have quite high levels in their local water. Researchers in Turkey decided to compare rates of cervical cancer in areas with high boron (8.4 mg, 472 women) versus low boron (1.4 mg, 587 women). Their average age was 41. They were all relatively less affluent. What they found was quite surprising. There were 15 cases of cellular changes consistent with early cervical cancer (Positive Pap Smear) in the low boron area. There were zero among the high boron women. Zero. Let me repeat that. Zero. P-value , 0.05. Not a huge study but zero is impressive. Now, boron is known to interfere with the duplication of papillomavirus, the virus that activates vertical cancer.

Let's add lung cancer to the cancer list. In a study of women who got lung cancer (763 women) versus 838 controls, the researchers found that the women who were in the highest quartile of boron had 49 percent less lung cancer. Wow! And the effect was most pronounced if they were on hormone replacement therapy. Better yet!

Now, these studies done in America are all looking at boron intakes of 1-2 mg a day, as we are very low in America. We are just scratching at the bottom end compared to Turkish women. The WHO says 1-13 mg a day is enough. There is data suggesting that <0.3 mg a day results in slower brain function.

www.What will Work for me. This strikes me as one of those understudied, misunderstood, supercheap trace minerals that we are underserved with. The research on it is far from solid. But bone health is pretty solid. And there is no such thing as healthy bones that doesn't include healthy other parts of you. If I had lung or prostate cancer, I would be on 8 mg a day of boron in a heartbeat. What I do know for certain is that our current health care system will never, ever study boron. There is no money it in and our health system is a profit-driven, disease treatment system. I'm sure there is "too much" too. What that is? I'm taking 3 mg a day. My hands have very minimally swollen joints. I like that.

References: Oncology Reports, Cancer Causes Control, Clinical Education, Environmental Toxicology, Integrative Medicine, Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, Wikipedia, NIH, Critical Rev Food Sci Nutr.

Pop Quiz

1, How is boron made? Answer: Spallation - cosmic rays knocking nitrogen around and whacking out a couple of protons, high up in the stratosphere.

2. How does that affect me? Answer: Boron is always drifting down from above and settling on plants, working its way into our food chain. The more plants we eat, and the more animals raised on plants, the more boron we get.

3. What was the boron effect in Turkey on cervical cancer? Answer: The women drinking 8 mg a day of boron in their water had zero cases of positive pap smears, versus the control group that had 15.

4. Is that a credible study? Answer: Like all research, it calls for a larger study. But the statistical analysis says it is valid and meaningful. Worthy of taking seriously.

5. What other organ has good evidence for boron related help? Answer: Bones. If you want strong bones, add boron. (Prunes have a lot. Eat prunes)