Over on another thread, down in comments, a discussion of Boron as an arthritis treatment and nutrient has broken out. So I’ve decided to put some information in a posting where it will be easier to find later.

The other thread is:

I went through all the calculations once and made up a solution of borax such that 1/4 tsp of the dilute solution was the correct dose. I’ll see if I can find those notes and add the result here. If not, I’ll work it out again… IIRC it was a close to saturated solution.

Then did some more calculating and realized the amount of borax in a weekly dose was about what would stick to the flatish end surface of a moist finger… (well under 1/8 tsp). So now I mostly just dampen the ‘pinky’ end and ‘dip / lick’… once a week at most is about it for me.

Since the stuff was sold for washing, and folks would soak their hands (and pans) in it for hours “in the old days”, I figure I’m not pushing it that much ;-)

The toxic dose was something like 2 1/2 grams / kg. (I need to find the human number again) I’m about 100 kg, so that made the toxic dose about 250 grams. IIRC that was about 1/2 CUP of the powder… so you have some headroom before you hit ‘toxic’.

Borax, given the E number E285, is used as a food additive in some countries, but is banned in the US. As a consequence, certain foods, such as caviar, produced for sale in the US contain higher levels of salt to assist preservation. Its use as a cooking ingredient is to add a firm rubbery texture to the food, or as a preservative. In oriental cooking it is mostly used for its texturing properties. In Asia, Borax (Chinese: 硼砂; pinyin: péng​ shā​) or (Chinese: 月石; pinyin: yuè shí​) was found to have been added to some Chinese foods like hand-pulled noodles lamian and some rice noodles like Shahe fen, Kway Teow, and Chee Cheong Fun recipes. In Indonesia it is a common, but forbidden, additive to such foods as noodles, bakso (meatballs), and steamed rice. The country’s Directorate of Consumer Protection warns of the risk of liver cancer with high consumption over a period of 5–10 years.

So don’t eat it by the bucket in caviar and noodles over a decade…

Borax, sodium tetraborate decahydrate, is not acutely toxic. Its LD50 (median lethal dose) score is tested at 2.66 g/kg in rats: a significant dose of the chemical is needed to cause severe symptoms or death. The lethal dose is not necessarily the same for humans.

Sufficient exposure to borax dust can cause respiratory and skin irritation. Ingestion may cause gastrointestinal distress including nausea, persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Effects on the vascular system and brain include headaches and lethargy, but are less frequent. “In severe poisonings, a beefy red skin rash affecting palms, soles, buttocks and scrotum has been described. With severe poisoning, erythematous and exfoliative rash, unconsciousness, respiratory depression, and renal failure.

Boric acid solutions used as an eye wash or on abraded skin are known to be particularly toxic to infants, especially after repeated use, because of the slow elimination rate.

Borax was added to the Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list on 16 December 2010. The SVHC candidate list is part of the EU Regulations on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals 2006 (REACH), and the addition was based on the revised classification of Borax as toxic for reproduction category 1B under the CLP Regulations. Substances and mixtures imported into the EU which contain Borax are now required to be labelled with the warnings “May damage fertility” and “May damage the unborn child”.

One wonders at just what level they are finding those effects. I suspect “quite high”.

Nobody seems to know what it does, or how much is needed, but there are good indications that you need SOME, or bad things happen, and that the body regulates it to keep what it has if intake is too low:

Determining human dietary requirements for boron.
Sutherland B, Strong P, King JC.

Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.

A dietary requirement is defined as the lowest continuing intake of a nutrient that for a specified indicator of adequacy, will maintain a defined level of nutriture in an individual. An essential dietary component is one that the body cannot synthesize in sufficient quantities to maintain health. Recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) are based on estimates of the dietary requirements, and are designed to prevent deficiency diseases and promote health through an adequate diet.

In 1996, the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) began a revision process of the RDAs using as criteria specific indicators of adequacy and functional end points for reducing the risk of chronic disease. Boron (B) is a dietary component, and evidence from animal studies indicates that it is a dietary essential; it cannot be synthesized in tissues, and organisms exposed to very low levels of B show developmental defects. In humans, there is evidence of homeostatic regulation of B and an interrelationship with bone metabolism.

To understand better the relationship between dietary B and B homeostasis, we measured the dietary B intake and urinary B losses in seven male participants of a controlled metabolic study of Zn homeostasis. Average dietary B intake for the repeated menu days, days 1, 2, and 3, was 4.56, 1.87, and 4.75 mg/d, respectively. Urinary B excretion during the 42-d collection period averaged 3.20 +/- 0.41 mg/d. When dietary B was low, urinary B loss (2.92 mg/d) was significantly lower than when B intake was higher (3.15 and 3.54 mg/d). Our study showed that urinary B excretion changes rapidly with changes in B intake, indicating that the kidney is the site of homeostatic regulation. To enable establishment of a dietary requirement for B in the future, further research of homeostatic regulation and functional markers of B metabolism need to be performed, followed by epidemiological studies to identify health conditions associated with inadequate dietary B.

So you need it, but they don’t know why, and you need some, but not a whole lot, but just how much is, er, a work in progress…

That excretion increases rapidly when in excess tells me that if I stay down in the “fraction of a gram” range every few days I’m likely OK.

What does it do? Nobody knows for sure, but where it is found gives a clue:

Boron (B) is a trace mineral essential for plants. Boron has only recently been established as an mineral of nutritional significance to humans and animals. Although this mineral has not been officially recognised as essential by the National Academies of Science, there is growing consensus within the scientific and medical community of its role in a number of physiological functions primarily calcium and bone metabolism.
Boron is found in most tissues but is primarily concentrated in the bone, spleen and thyroid.

It is common for minerals to be concentrated in the tissues that use them the most. So it looks to have involvement in bone and thyroid, and perhaps some immune activity as the spleen is part of the immune system.

That would imply that a shortage would show up as some kind of bone and / or immune problem, and perhaps as an energy metabolism defect (thyroxin).

It goes on to list some speculative effects. I say ‘speculative’ even though this claims to be based on ‘studies’ simply because it is work in the early stages.

Several studies have provided evidence that this trace mineral is required in calcium and bone metabolism to help prevent bone loss associated with osteoporosis

Several studies have also shown an association between sufficient boron intake and a reduction in the incidence of tooth decay.

Studies have also linked optimal intakes of boron with enhanced memory, alertness and cognitive function.

Some studies have shown that boron supplementation of 3 milligrams per day results in both calcium and magnesium retention and elevations in serum concentrations of testosterone and oestrogen.

Men who consume optimal intakes of boron also have decreased risk of developing prostate cancers.

Elderly individuals benefit from supplementing their diet with 2 to 3 milligrams per day of boron due to a reduced ability to absorb calcium.

Some research findings have indicated that boron is a “dynamic” trace element that can affect the metabolism of other substances involved in many processes including hormones such as oestrogen and thyroid hormone.

I found this statement interesting (though it may be self serving as the site looks to be a seller of mineral suppliments and the top level page says they are using Utah Great Salt Lake as their source.)


No recommendations or Daily Values have been established. Typical daily intakes in the United States vary between 0.5 milligrams to 7 milligrams. Those consuming Westernised diets consume between 0.1 to 0.5 milligrams of boron per day.

IFF that is true, then the supposition is that most folks on a white bread, mayo, and coke diet are deficient in Boron. As an essential plant nutrient, those of us eating our collards and kale are likely OK.

Signs of Deficiency

In animals (with a vitamin D deficiency) fed low amounts of boron there were increases in total calcium loss, interruption with the use of insulin, fat and glucose as well as diminished bone development. In closely monitored studies, humans fed a diet low in boron exhibited similar changes as witnessed in the boron deficient animals. Low intakes of boron may also aggravate the symptoms of arthritis. It reduces blood ionised calcium and calcitonin levels and elevates urinary calcium loss in humans, while adequate supplementation inhibits these conditions.


Low levels of boron can cause increase urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium.

I do find the “Obesity Epidemic” and the “Diabetes Epidemic” in modern western society oddly concordant with the things listed here. Involvement with insulin and fat metabolism.

The following claims assert an evidentiary chain back to known Universities. I’m assuming those are valid, but if someone wants to follow back to the original papers and read them and / or post the links, that would be nice. (I’m way over scheduled right now). References are listed at the bottom of the link.


Researchers at the International Symposium on Health Effects of Boron and its Compounds held at the University of California at Irvine report that boron levels in arthritic patients are low and that the arthritis rates are typically higher in regions where boron intakes are the lowest. However, in patients that supplemented their diet with boron, bone density is much greater. In one clinical trial comprised of patients with severe osteoarthritis, patients were given either 6 milligrams of boron or placebo. Half of the patients improved compared to only 10 % of subjects taking placebos.

Cognitive Function

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Center, boron is essential for mental function, hand-eye coordination, attention span, perception and short and long-term memory.5Comparing spectral analysis of electroencephalographic data of low boron intake compared to high boron intake, there was a significant increase in the proportion of low-frequency activity and a decrease in the proportion of higher frequency activity (an effect often observed in general malnutrition or heavy metal toxicity). In addition, low boron intake resulted in “significantly poorer” performance on tasks emphasising: manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, attention, perception, encoding and short- term memory and long-term memory.5

Prostate Cancer

Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles conclude that men whose diets had the most boron, at least 1.8 milligrams of boron per day, had less than one-third as many prostate cancers as men who consumed less than 0.9 milligrams per day.8

Immune Function

There is emerging evidence that dietary boron aids the immune system by reducing the incidence and severity of inflammatory disease. Researchers believe boron facilitates the normal inflammatory process by reducing the activity of serine proteases, enzymes that are typically elevated during the normal inflammatory process.9


Boron can help prevent against postmenopausal osteoporosis. Researchers at the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture found that women who supplemented their diet with 3 milligrams of boron excreted approximately 40 % less calcium, one-third less magnesium and slightly less phosphorous through their urine than they had prior to supplementation.4

These folks have an odd theory about Fluorine displacing Iodine from the thyroid (that might be interesting to explore ‘someday’) but also list the “old recipe” for boron supplementation via Borax.

Upon searching for ways to detoxify fluoride from the body I came across an old remedy for arthritis: Borax (Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate), yes the old 20 Mule Team Borax for your laundry. These believers are diluting 1/8 teaspoon into 2 liters (just over 1/2 gallon) of water for arthritis and fungal infections and drinking it several times a week. I was intrigued by what I found.

While I wouldn’t recommend taking this acid into your system as it may upset your body’s pH balance, I see how these folks back before the days of identiying nutrients, would notice an improvement with the extra Boron in their diet. My chemistry knowledge has me leaning much closer toward taking Boron supplements such as the one developed by a Dr. Newnham or simply trying to get more trace minerals out of my diet, like by cooking more bone stock from pasture fed animals. Please read the following article that I found about Dr. Rex Newnham, who spear-headed much research regarding Boron deficiency correlating with arthritis.

While the makers of Boraxo have information about just what plants have boron in them:—the-marker-of-a-healthy-diet

Measuring the boron content in healthy diets starts with determining how much boron is available in each different nutritional source. The first noteworthy morsel in Rainey’s research is that some high boron foods are not ones that people immediately identify as boron-rich. It’s no surprise that fruits like avocados, cherries and grapes are relatively high in boron. Almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts make sense, too. But did you know that scallops, mussels and clams have about as much boron as parsnips, beets and rutabaga (swedes)?

For junk food junkies, there’s also good news. Licorice, chocolate and popcorn are high boron foods – with almost as much boron as oranges. And gourmets can rest assured: a glass of wine contributes about the same amount of boron to the diet as a glass of prune juice.

Once Rainey had established a nutrient data base quantifying boron content by food group, her next step was to find out how much people were eating. Her findings for where people in six different countries get their boron are included in this issue’s ‘Boron boutique’.

Not surprisingly, she found some overlap in which foods contributed the most boron to diets in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, Egypt and Kenya. Potatoes made every country’s top ten list, for instance.

What also emerged was the fact that the rural agricultural cultures surveyed tend to rely on a shorter list of food and beverages for their dietary intake – and for their boron intake. The list of the top 15 foods that contribute boron to people’s diets in Mexico, Egypt and Kenya constituted between 80 and 94 percent of their boron intake; in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, the top 15 contributors only accounted for between 48 and 63 percent of total boron intake.

(That link gave me a ‘pick your region to continue’ and then I had to close a window and, well ‘do stuff’ to get back to the article, so I’ve quoted most of it here).

In short, it looks like boiling bones to make soup stock “the old fashioned way” is a good thing. Adding potatoes and fruits too. Along with root vegetables. Oh, and don’t forget the fruit juice or wine… washing down that chocolate… It also looks like ‘sea foods’ help too. (Not surprising, since minerals are essentially 100% available to sea creatures).

In Conclusion

This is just a quick couple of pointers. If you find other better pointers / articles, let us all know. As it’s after 3 A.M. right now and I was supposed to be sleeping some time ago, this is necessarily a ‘fast posting’. So incomplete.

In general, I think there is sufficient evidence for a Boron deficiency in the average American diet, and potentially any “advanced Western diet”; simply based on the lower than “wild” level of whole plants in our modern diet and that fact that we tend not to eat the thyroid, spleen and bones of domestic farm animals. Perhaps those of us who eat whole sardines do better…

At any rate, I can see an easy case for low consumption of the source materials, in the context of a significant need, leading to a chronic shortage.

I have no idea what kind of ‘recovery profile’ might exist or how long it takes to ‘notice something’. Heck, it might well be one of those minerals where it is hard to get to a truly deficient state simply because some is in just about all things we eat. Still, the difference between ‘some’ and ‘optimal’ may well matter.

For me, I noticed a bit more ‘energized’ feeling after starting Boron supplementation. The arthritic tendency mostly seems to modulate with what I eat, but I think there was some improvement. Then again, I’ve not been really regular about intake, so who knows.

Subscribe to feed


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Food, Science Bits and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Boron

  1. EM – It also intrigued me. Since my mum recently had an operation to remove cataracts, and that is due to Calcium going where it shouldn’t (soft tissues rather than bones), it seems that Boron deficiency may be a bit more prevalent than I’d realised. I can’t add too many links before dropping into the spam queue, but there’s a WHO report at and googling for Boron concentrations in soil does get you some nice maps of the States showing where it is likely. Dr. Newnham’s observations of the links between arthritis and low boron in the soil looks pretty convincing.

    If you overdose by a bit, it looks like the kidneys get rid of it, but if there isn’t enough then the body chemistry doesn’t work right. The reproductive issues seem to have been at excessive doses, and at this level standard table salt shows more problems – Paracelsus was right that the poison is in the dose. Eating a cupful of the stuff seems pretty silly, and this is around the human-related dosage the rats were getting.

    Although I can’t find a Boron map of France, it is mentioned that a sandy and slightly acid soil (such as I have) will more likely be Boron-deficient. I’ll run some tests on the vines and see if I see a difference on the tendency to side-shoot. Since grapes are quite high in Boron, then it’s likely that the level here is somewhat lower than it should be.

    Since it seems that Boron is concentrated at the growing tips of plants, this could be a reason for some of the traditional harvesting techniques for tea-making.

    With so little downside and a possible massive upside, it seems reasonable to test it personally. I have some Borax here and have been taking small amounts (30mg or so) the last couple of days – no major effects noted, but maybe my head is working a bit better (could be placebo effect, though). Having had odd joint-pains for a few years, it will be interesting to see if there is any longer-term effects.

  2. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: Eat some asparagus imported from SA. In my country asparagus growers use calcium – boron compounds:

    Two experiments were conducted in which asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) was grown in sand culture with boron (B) levels varied by applying 11 rates of B in nutrient solution (0–6.4 mg l−1) in one experiment and 4 rates (0.8–12 mg l−1) in a second experiment. Maximum plant growth occurred when the B concentration in solution was 1.6 mg l−1. Shoot growth increased rapidly as the B concentration in the shoots rose to 50 μg g−1 DM. Maximum shoot growth occurred in the range 120–300 μg g−1 DM with comparatively little decline in growth up to 400 μg g−1 DM. Root growth declined when B concentrations in the root rose above 40 μg g−1 DM. The increased levels of B had no effect on the total plant concentration of nitrogen, phosphorus, copper and molybdenum but the concentrations of potassium, sulphur, calcium, magnesium, sodium, manganese and zinc increased. The effect on iron concentration was variable and inconclusive. Sulphur, potassium, sodium and zinc concentrations increased in the roots and except for a decline in potassium levels they all remained constant in the shoots. Calcium, magnesium and manganese concentrations rose in both the shoot and roots. This work confirms the high B requirement of asparagus.
    Asparagus are cultivated in big areas along the deserted coasts of Peru:

  3. sadbutmadlad says:

    Another of those unintended consequences of thinking that you have to make the human environment ultra-clean, ultra-safe, ultra-natural, and remove anything that is not required because it might be dangerous especially in quantities above normal use. Except that science is still finding out what is really dangerous and what is not. I wonder why they haven’t done anything about overdosing on H2O.

    Asthma seems to be due to being too clean and removing all dirt from the immediate environment. So it seems to be the case with Boron and arthritis.

  4. Petrossa says:

    I found this in


    Boron deficiency. Taking boron orally is effective for preventing boron deficiency (7135).
    Vulvovaginitis. Some research shows that boric acid, the most common form of boron, used Intravaginally, can treat candidiasis and other vaginal fungal infections, including resistant and chronic infections (15443,15444,15446,15449,15450,15451,15453); however, this research is limited by low study quality.
    According to one analysis, boric acid capsules 600 mg inserted intravaginally provide a cure rate of 92% compared to 64% with nystatin 100,000 units for vaginal Candida albicans yeast infections (15444).
    For Candida glabrata yeast infections, which are less prevalent than Candida albicans, some evidence shows that intravaginal boric acid capsules are effective in about 65% to 70% of azole-resistant infections; however, boric acid capsules appear to be less effective than intravaginal flucytosine (Ancobon) (15445,15454). For Candida krusei infections, which are rare and resistant to azole antifungal treatment, boric acid capsules also appear to be effective in some cases (15448).
    Athletic performance. Taking boron orally doesn’t seem to help increase lean body mass, muscle mass, or testosterone levels (944).
    Cognitive function. There is preliminary evidence that taking boron orally might improve cognitive function and fine motor skills in older people (943).
    Osteoarthritis. Preliminary evidence suggests that boron might be useful for decreasing symptoms of osteoarthritis (941).
    More evidence is needed to rate boron for these uses.
    Mechanism of Action:

    Boron is a trace mineral for which a clear biological function in humans has not been established. Boric acid is the most common form of boron.
    When taken orally, boron is excreted unchanged in the urine, with a half-life of 21 hours (7135). Boric acid has minimal systemic absorption when used intravaginally. Serum levels are typically undetectable (15446).
    Boron is well-absorbed from dietary beverages including prune and grape juice; wine; coffee; milk; and in some geographical locations, water (7135). Avocados, peanuts, pecans, apples, dried beans, and potatoes also contain boron (7135).
    There is some evidence, though, that boron might have a role in reproduction and development (945,7135).
    Boron seems to be important in mineral metabolism and membrane function (943). Diets higher in boron seem to increase serum 17-beta-estradiol levels in postmenopausal women using estrogen replacement therapy (945). Supplemental boron may increase serum estradiol levels in postmenopausal women (945) and healthy men (937).
    Boron together with exercise seems to result in lower serum magnesium levels and modestly lower serum phosphorus concentrations (942). The lower serum phosphorus concentrations are diminished by exercise (940).
    Preliminary evidence suggests that boron may have a role in hand-eye coordination, attention span, and short-term memory (7135).
    Boric acid is used for vulvovaginitis due to its activity against Candida albicans and Candida glabrata (15444,15445,15446).
    There is concern that boric acid has teratogenic effects and can result in birth defects when used intravaginally by pregnant women (15443,15645,15646). Boric acid is thought to be an inhibitor of histone deacetylases, which results in histone hyperacetylation. In specific tissues, histone hyperacetylation is associated with skeletal malformations (15644).”

    Personally i take Boswellia for arthritis

    Osteoarthritis. Some clinical research shows that taking specific Indian frankincense extracts can reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis. In two clinical trials, using a specific Indian frankincense extract (5-Loxin) 100 mg daily or 250 mg daily significantly improved pain and functionality scores in patients with osteoarthritis after 90 days of treatment. Pain scores were reduced by about 32% to 65%. Patients began to have significant improvement within 7 days of treatment. The extract used in this study was standardized and enriched to contain 30% of the boswellic acid AKBA (17948,17949). One clinical trial evaluated another specific Indian frankincense extract (Aflapin) 100 mg daily. This extract significantly improved pain and functionality scores in patients with osteoarthritis after 90 days of treatment. Pain scores were reduced by about 47%. Patients began to have significant improvement within 7 days of treatment. The extract used in this study was standardized and enriched to contain 20% of the boswellic acid AKBA (17949).

    In a preliminary crossover trial, taking a different Indian frankincense extract 333 mg daily also significantly reduced symptoms of osteoarthritis, such as knee pain and swelling (12432).

    Ulcerative colitis. Two clinical trials show that taking Indian frankincense can improve some symptoms of ulcerative colitis and some pathological measures. In one study, taking Indian frankincense 350 mg three times daily significantly improved symptoms and disease markers in patients with ulcerative colitis. In this study, about 82% of patients taking Indian frankincense went into remission compared to 75% taking sulfasalazine (1709). In another preliminary clinical study, taking Indian frankincense 300 mg three times for 6 weeks improved symptoms and some measures of disease pathology in about 90% of patients. In this study 70% of patients taking Indian frankincense went into remission compared to 40% taking sulfasalazine 3 grams daily (12438).

    Asthma. There is some preliminary evidence that taking Indian frankincense extract orally might help asthma. It may improve force expiratory volume (FEV), reduce the number of asthma attacks, and decrease dyspnea and rhonchi (1708).

    Crohn’s disease. There is preliminary evidence that taking Indian frankincense extract orally might reduce some symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. One clinical study found that it worked as well as mesalamine (Asacol, Pentasa) for Crohn’s disease (12436); however, other clinical research shows that taking Indian frankincense 800 mg orally three times a day did not increase rates of remissions and quality of life any more than placebo in patients with Crohn’s disease (17241).

    Rheumatoid arthritis. There is conflicting research about the usefulness of Indian frankincense extract taken orally for rheumatoid arthritis (12433,12434).”

    More evidence is needed to rate Indian frankincense for these uses.

  5. Tim Clark says:

    [And gourmets can rest assured: a glass of wine contributes about the same amount of boron to the diet as a glass of prune juice.]

    Flavonoids, copper and boron. I’ve got to go to the liquor store. Bye

  6. Pascvaks says:

    OK! So my dear old Dad used to sprinkle a little boric acid in his shoes every now and then. When I got old enough for my feet to stink, I’d do the same every now and then too. One little jar from the local Rx seemed to last years and years. I guess our feet didn’t stink so’s we noticed as bad as some. Now if I get you right, boric acid powder is good on feet and the occassional ‘pest’ (6/8 legged kind) but I shouldn’t wet my pinky and take an occassional dip; it ain’t the same as borax (and when you say borax you’re not talking about ‘detergents’ in the washing machine kind?). Got it! OK, haven’t looked yet, borax is sold where? Walgreen’s or Walmart? Or the local ‘Feed ‘n Seed Co-Op’?;-)

    PS: Understand it’s also used in Nuclear Reactors, this stuff is wild!

  7. Pascvaks – looks like Boric Acid is going to work just as well as Borax, just need a little less weight of it but not enough to really notice. It’ll ionise anyway, so you get the Borate ion in solution whether it’s the acid or the salt that you use. In any case, this Borax is the one used for washing and cleaning, but will probably be stocked in an old-fashioned hardware store. I’ll leave it to the stateside people to say in which shops they’ve found it.

    Boron is a light nucleus, so when it is hit by (for example) a neutron it tends to get knocked around rather than split. It thus changes nuclear energy into useful heat whilst also slowing the neutrons down. Slow neutrons are more likely to be captured by a nucleus and thus produce a fission with a few more fast neutrons to continue the chain reaction. The Boron thus changes a nuclear reactor from a seriously dangerous fast-neutron emitter to something tamer that is more useful.

  8. adolfogiurfa says:

    Anyway you could try the more soluble compound: sodium octoborate.

  9. omanuel says:

    @EM Smith

    Boron (B) is element #5, and behaves chemically like element #13, aluminum (Al).

    Concern has been expressed that trace levels of Al from aluminum cookware might contribute to mental deterioration. Have you seen anything about B causing mental deterioration?


  10. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Omanuel: What you say about aluminum is true and it was published many years ago in “Readers´Digest”. Aluminum easily reacts with alkalies and it oxidizes readily in air when cleaned of its protective Al2O3 layer. Our “ALUMINUM GENERATION” is doomed to develop Alzheimer´s disease. Aluminum cookware should be banned. Aluminum in human body it is a trace mineral, its amount ranges between 50 and 150 mg.
    Its potential is highly electronegative, where its presence precipitates (reduces) other more electropositive metals needed in the correct functioning of the human body.
    Magnesium, potassium, calcium, instead, are beneficial and being more electronegative could help removing Aluminum from the body:
    Balanced half-reaction Eo / V  
    Li+ + e- Li(s) -3.045
    K+ + e- K(s) -2.925
    Cs+ + e- Cs(s) -2.910
    Ba2+ + 2e- Ba(s) -2.906
    Ca2+ + 2e- Ca(s) -2.866
    Na+ + e- Na(s) -2.714
    Ce3+ + 3e- Ce(s) -2.480
    Mg2+ + 2e- Mg(s) -2.363
    Th4+ + 4e- Th(s) -1.900
    Be2+ + 2e- Be(s) -1.850
    U3+ + 3e- U(s) -1.798
    Al3+ + 3e- Al(s) -1.662

  11. Pascvaks says:

    Bet the ‘No Stick’ plastic coating on the aluminuminum pans doesn’t help for more than a second either. (Jus’ guessin;-)

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    Nice link and info. Looks like in the USA we’re moving away from boron rich foods (fruits, nuts, wine) and having more boron poor foods ( dairy, meat, grain, beer, soda).


    I like asparagus…


    Yeah, we’re getting way to much “processed to just the things we know you need” and not enough of the “everything in the field including what we don’t know”…

    FWIW as an allergy sufferer, it’s more related to parasites than dirt. As we’ve eliminated all the usual parasites (especially malaria) from the western world, we’ve got this Big Gun immune response on a hair trigger just itching for something to attack ;-)


    Nice find.

    I especially like the reference to boron as helping cognitive function. (It ties in with the aluminum issue,IMHO)

    @Tim Clark:

    Yeah, it’s looking like lots of good stuff showing up in wine…


    Any boron source commonly available ought to be fine as it’s the elemental boron you want. Personally I like “20 Mule Team Borax” from the grocery store as the taste is kind of pleasant. I remember dilute boric acid eye wash as being less pleasant, but still ok to the taste (but it’s a bit dilute).

    Borax also kills ants like boric acid powder. Being “not so bright” they get coated in the powder and clean themselves off. That gives something way high for a dose (far more than 1/2 cup would be for us) so in the toxic range. Lasts forever behind a counter or in a wall too…


    The level of concern over Aluminum is way over the top IMHO. Boron has no such concern in evidence. To the extent there is some Aluminum ‘issue’, I’d expect it to be from Aluminum being substituted in a Boron pathway. As noted in the link above, Boron looks to sharpen mental acuity, not slow it down. More an Alzheimer Syndrome below…


    The non-stick coating prevents acid attack of the metal, so strongly reduces aluminum leaching, not that there’s much risk from Aluminum anyway.


    I know Aluminum is a hot button for you, but the evidence really is much more ambiguous. Many studies have significant flaws, not a lot of causality, and mostly a lot of correlation of Al deposits in Alzheimer plaques AFTER they have formed.

    Some evidence for higher rates of Alzheimer Syndrome in areas with acidic water (then the Leap Off The Cliff Of Conclusion that it is Aluminum when LOTS of metals are higher in acidic water) but little to no causality shown for folks drinking highly available Aluminum Hydroxide antacids by the gallon for years.

    In short, it looks like in many ways Aluminum isn’t causal, just hanging out in the neighborhood when ‘things go wrong’. Also, iron is similarly implicated and zinc is worse; yet essential for life. So taking any zinc supplements?

    6.The reported interactions of aluminium with œ-amyloid protein (the major component of AD plaques) and with purified paired helical filament tau protein (the major component of neurofibrillary tangles NFTs). The neurotoxicity of œ-amyloid and the formation of plaque deposits is dependent on its aggregation, which has been found to be promoted by low millimolar concentrations of aluminium, iron and zinc (Mantyh et al., 1993). However, this pattern of results has been attributed to iodination-induced alteration of the œ-protein structure by (Bush et al. 1994), who reported that zinc is a much more potent metallic ion aggregator of native œ-protein than aluminium, being active at low micromolar concentrations. In vitro studies have failed to induce Alzheimer-type paired helical filaments (PHFs) in any cellular system. However, human neuroblastoma cells in tissue culture, exposed to aluminium, exhibit epitopes found in AD tangles. (Mesco et al. 1991) reported aluminium induction of the well-known Alz50 epitope-recognizing NFT, and (Guy et al. 1991) reported the development of an epitope, recognized by an antibody staining for NFT and neuropil threads. Alz50 expression is also observed in experimental aluminium encephalopathy. (Shin et al. 1994) have found that aluminium binds to and stabilizes paired helical filament tau, both in vitro and in vivo. Although aluminium-stabilized PHF tau induced co-deposition of œ-protein in vivo, the relevance of these recent unconfirmed findings to AD is as yet unclear.

    To me, it looks far more like a protein defect that then collects the metal ions as a symptom, rather than cause, but that then some metal ions, notably zinc, can increase the rate of the process. First things go wrong, THEN the metals get involved, and zinc more than aluminum.

    It seems likely that the causation and pathogenesis of AD is multi-factorial
    (i.e. it may be regarded as a syndrome rather than a disease) and that genetic factors and environmental factors each contribute to a greater or lesser extent in the individual case. Recent genetic studies show that in a small proportion of dominant familial cases, a single point mutation near or in the œ-protein segment of the amyloid precursor protein is necessary to cause the disease – a situation of great theoretical importance despte its rarity (Goate et al., 1991).

    Other familial AD pedigrees have been linked to a locus on chromosome 14
    (St. George-Hyslop et al., 1992; van Broeckhoven et al.,1992). Apo-E allele status is also a major risk factor, the presence of one E4 allele conveying a relative risk of about 3 (Saunders iet al., 1993). Other environmental risk factors include low educational and socio-economic status, and head injury (van Duijin et al., 1991).It is against this knowledge base that the possible contribution of aluminium to AD must be evaluated.

    Epidemiological studies on AD and environmental aluminium levels

    Many studies have examined risk factors for AD. Among the many case control studies that have been carried out, head trauma, family history, thyroid status, maternal age, child with Down syndrome all stand out as important risk factors (van Duijn et al., 1991).

    Aluminium exposure as a single risk factor began to be examined in the early 1980s, when reports of the increased level of aluminium in brains of AD patients suggested that this might also be a factor. The availability of water-borne aluminium measurements in many public water supplies and of readily available vital statistics made the study of this exposure relatively accessible.

    Studies that examine the relationship between aluminium in drinking-water and AD have been carried out in five separate populations: Norway (Flaten, 1990), Ontario, Canada (Neri & Hewitt,1991; McLachlan, 1996), France (Michel et al., 1991; Jaqmin et al., 1994), Switzerland (Wettstein et al., 1991) and England (Martyn et al., 1989). These are summarized in Table . Several studies examined the water aluminium-AD relationship in the course of investigating other associations (Wood et al., 1988; Frecker, 1991). In addition, exposure from aluminium-containing antiperspirants (Graves et al.,1990) and aluminium-containing antacids (Flaten et al., 1991) have also been explored as risk factors for dementia and/or AD.

    Each of the studies that relate aluminium in drinking-water to AD can be assessed systematically for comparability of exposed and control groups, precision of exposure assessment and outcome definition. Ideally, exposed and control groups should be controlled for age, sex, socio-economic status and other variables that can confound results (e.g., education, family history, etc.). Exposure should include concentration and duration for each member of the study group and include a dose range which can be used to assess dose- response relationships. The outcome should be measured preferably by standard criteria, not by surrogates (e.g., dementia for AD).

    A critical review of the epidemiologic evidence indicates that a real association between aluminum in drinking water and dementia (including AD) cannot be dismissed. However, all of the study designs had inherent weaknesses and the results could easily be produced by confounding variables. Since AD appears to be a multifactorial genetic disease, there is room for environmental factors. However, it is very unlikely that a single environmental factor such as aluminum in drinking water constitutes a sufficient explanation. An interpretation favoured by the authors is that aluminum is neurotoxic and may have a dementing effect independent of the pathological processes associated with AD. The positive findings in the drinking water studies would, therefore, constitute an additive effect. Iatrogenic exposure during dialysis of chronic renal patients clearly indicates that aluminum is a potent neurotoxin. Although the evidence is weaker, there a are also suggestions of mild neuropsychological disturbances in occupationally exposed individuals.

    There’s a whole lot more at the link.

    Folks working in metal refining breathing fumes for years. Welders. Etc.

    At best there is a minor reduction in some cognition in some of those folks after relatively extreme exposure (but what other metals were they also exposed to?…) Up against that you must put that Al is in just about all water everywhere. Feldspar rocks make up 60% of the crust of the planet and they have Al in them.

    Feldspars (KAlSi3O8 – NaAlSi3O8 – CaAl2Si2O8) are a group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals which make up as much as 60% of the Earth’s crust.

    Feldspars crystallize from magma in both intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks, as veins, and are also present in many types of metamorphic rock. Rock formed almost entirely of calcic plagioclase feldspar (see below) is known as anorthosite. Feldspars are also found in many types of sedimentary rock.

    So we’ve evolved, as living beings, in a world full of Aluminum. I have trouble accepting that relatively normal levels of it are problematic… and cookware is pretty inert to most things (especially the plastic coated ones, where I’d worry more about the plastic than the aluminum…)

    No, I’d not cook tomato sauce in a bare aluminum pan (it WILL etch it – lost a favored small pressure cooker that way when I left some sauce in it by accident and left for a ‘long weekend’. Had a pinhole in it when I returned…) nor would I use aluminum foil over a lasagna (did that once, too, and got nice little dark pin holes in the aluminum where it touched the sauce.) But clearly I’m more worried about the pans and the esthetics than any impact on me…

    As near as I can tell, it is a defect in a particular brain protein (perhaps made worse with the accumulated errors of transcription with age, and with a clear genetic component of various degrees depending on the particular genes) that THEN forms plaques. Those, THEN absorb excess metal ions (with Zinc being worse than Aluminum) that can subsequently lead to the development of various ‘tangles’ and such. So remove all aluminum, you will likely just get more zinc involvement… and Iron… High Aluminum diets might enable a somewhat faster onset, but are not causal (in that you don’t get kids getting Alzheimers nor do you get massive population of Alzheimers patients in the ulcer wards).

    Also note that the amount of aluminum to which you are likely to be exposed is significantly determined by the acidity of your drinking water; cooking pots not so much… So if it really worries you, put in a water softener and / or do an alkalizing precipitation first.

    Me? I’m just not seeing enough reason to care…

    (Hey, I worked in a hospital and watched folks drink aluminum hydroxide by the gallon for years with no significant effect on mental status. If it were causal, something would happen…)

  13. Pascvaks says:

    FWIW Recent TV notes-

    Boron Carbide – the ‘plate’ of Body Armor for US forces today; tough stuff but lighter than armored steel

    One Theory – Contraband American ‘Aluminum Powder’ for British WWI mines was the second (after the German Torpedo) explosion that sank The Lusitania. (Aluminum Powder is bad stuff, like grain dust in Midwest grain elevators;-) Lawrence Livermore folks did tests and thought it was more likely a fluke, a ‘Perfect Shot’ at the most critical part of the ship that caused a –seconds later– boiler explosion that sank it so fast. The Germans only fired one torpedo.
    NOTE: The program tried to make the point that with, and since, the sinking of the Lusitania, “Non-Combatant” ceased to mean anything and we’re targets now; ‘gone with the wind’ or is it ‘dust in the wind’? I don’t think wars have ever made too much distinction between combatant and non-combatant; it had more to do with one’s ‘proximity’ to things and events.

  14. jim2 says:

    Telephone poles are, at least as of several years ago, treated with creosote or chromated copper arsenate. The solution can’t be forced into the center of the pole. Boron compounds are inserted as spikes into holes drilled into the pole, near the bottom. The holes are sealed with wooden plugs. The boron compounds are soluble and are carried throughout the portion of the pole below ground. This help preserve the center of the pole.

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    Has some info on toxic effects at what look to me like relatively high concentrations ( and likely for long periods of time that that’s less clear). So it looks like the “damp fingertip” method might make a high concentration spot on the tongue… which implies that the 1/8 tsp / gallon concentration in drinking water approach is the safer one.

    Boron is also still used in caviar preservation in Russia and some other countries in / near Europe. Perhaps part of the French health profile comes from consumption of therapeutic boron in all that caviar they like ;-)

    Also looks like fairly high levels are used in some Asian foods. There was a Hong Kong page that looked at how much was in some foods that found pretty high levels.

    11,000 mg/kg …. yes, that’s 11 grams / kg.

    Looks to me like fairly high doses are regularly tolerated and have been in a lot of foods for a long time. IMHO it looks like a dose related toxicity that has onset at about 1/2 the LD 50 level, so somewhere around 1/4 cup of borax for someone my size. Kidneys dump it, but if you swamp that mechanism, can be problematic. All in all, it looks like low concentrations mostly just wash through, and modest ones are a reasonable food preservative / anti-fungal but high levels / concentrations are to be avoided.

    OK, guess I need to mix it in water prior to consumption ;-)

    I think I’ll try 1/32 tsp in a L of wine and see how it tastes… or maybe in a L of beer… (Water is for washing ;-)

  16. EM – in beer you just won’t notice it. In plain water, it just tastes a bit more like “spa” water. The concentration I’m using is 1/2 tsp Borax in 1/2 litre, then take 1 tsp of this as a dose 3 times per day mixed in what I’m drinking. Diluting it first and then adding the diluted mix to whatever just makes measurement easier.

    Looks like we aren’t going to get anywhere near a damaging dose at these levels and there’s quite a major plus if our diet is a bit short on Boron. Since the unneeded Boron gets chucked out by the kidneys, it would seem that we can’t store it – it needs to be constantly in the diet.

    Humans don’t manufacture Vitamin C, but chimps and most other apes do. The loss of the ability to make our own would not be a problem when the diet is always high in it, but is a problem with some diets. Possibly in the past Boron, like water and Vitamin C, was always in the diet so no special measures needed to be taken by the body to conserve it.

  17. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. and Jim “Borax also kills ants like boric acid powder. Being “not so bright” they get coated in the powder and clean themselves off. ”

    As Jim point out, there are commerical boron based wood preservers. You can also make a good wood preserver with borax, boric acid and antifreeze.

  18. jim2 says:

    J.C. I had a carpenter ant infestation in my patio 4×4 posts. These ants typically have multiple nests, so treating just one won’t eliminate them. They also prefer protein certain times of the year and carbs other times. I mixed 2-3% by volume borax with either sugar or eggs. In the case of eggs, I added glycerin to keep it moist and cooked the egg mixture in the microwave. After several weeks, the ants were dead and I no longer saw lines of them marching at night. The workers took the food to the queens and thereby killed the satellite colonies.
    An interesting side story concerns a spider. As I was watching the ants on a post one night, one “ant” ran out, grabbed another ant, and pulled it into a hole. I saw two of these “ants” over time. They ran around quickly in kind of a jerky manner. I managed to capture one. It turned out to be a spider that mimics carpenter ants. The two front legs mimicked the antennae and the coloration and body shape was similar to those of the ant. I’m guessing the spider also had the chemical signature of the ants, otherwise I’m thinking they would have been found out and killed.

  19. BobN says:

    I started trying Borax. I put a half teaspoon in a quart of water and am taking 1 teaspoon 3 times a day. So far no ill affects. To early for any good!

  20. Jason Calley says:

    @ jim2 “It turned out to be a spider that mimics carpenter ants.”

    Wow! That is very cool. One of the best things about being bright and curious is that you constantly get to discover and witness things like that. How neat!

    Now, if only we can find a spider that looks like a politician…. :)

  21. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    How could you!!

    Now I have an image of the Perfect Politician… A spider standing on four hind legs, in a suit, with one hand shaking yours, the other on your shoulder, and 2 left over for picking your pockets while two eyes stair directly into yours and the other eyes both keep a eye out for observers while inspecting your pockets… Might be worth it if they had a taste for other politicians ;-)

  22. jim2 says:

    I have pix.

  23. twawki says:

    I passed the post onto my brother who has severe arthritis and can be in a wheelchair from the pain. His response was as follows;
    ” I had my first dose today and the effect was almost immediate. I’ve been in hideous ****** pain for some time now and all of a sudden it feels like its grip has weakened, and I can feel myself relaxing. Have just had my second dose and am on my way to bed – makes me very sleepy”.
    I also have an autoimmune disorder & started trying today as well. Felt a bit strange n itchy will see how we both go with time.

  24. Twawki – Jason Calley also was a bit itchy, but he was using pretty high dosage. It may be that starting off with small dosage would reduce the discomfort, and increase till you find your tolerance-level.

    I haven’t noticed side effects apart from maybe a few extra aches in the morning, but I didn’t expect to be that short of Boron to notice the difference. I think my head is working a bit better, though. Once I’ve tried it for a while, I’ll discuss it with my mum (she’s 89) since she seems to have some arthritis in one knee. It’s also supposed to help with age-related memory loss, so might also be very useful.

    I am quite amazed that something so simple can make such a difference, and I hope you report further on progress with you and your brother.

  25. BobN says:

    @twawki – Its great to hear your brother is doing better. I have RA and have been taking it for about a week on a very low dose. I started low because I’m very sensitive to a lot of things, so I am always cautious on new things. I feel better after a week and hope I’m not getting a placebo affect. I will have a good idea in a week or so if its real.

    The itching does sound like maybe to much too soon.

    I have a very strong urge to take more when I take a sip, its real strange sensation, my body just wants to keep drinking. I wonder if any one else has had that sensation.

  26. E.M.Smith says:


    I, er, “like the flavor”… so sometimes on a “pinky dip”, I’ve gone back for a “double dip”… Usually after that I don’t want more. Not sure if it is the body saying “Yes! That’s what we need!” and then being happy; or if I’m just burning out the tastebuds after two doses and they want a break to start tasting again ;-)

    I have noticed, too, that after a couple of days, I tend to forget to take it again. Almost like the bod is saying “Got enough now, thanks. No, don’t bother with more right now…”

    FWIW, I’ve bought some more Epsom Salts, and I’m going to try a “1 3/4 cups Epsom, 1/4 cup Borax” bath salt mix. I figure since 1/2 cup injested is the LD-50, and by far most of it will NOT be absorbed, being a “1/4 Cup and most goes down the drain” ought to be way safe. Besides, as a kid we used to put a cup of it in a tub and wash all sorts of things by hand… and I lived ;-)

    I did put a couple of ‘dabs’ of saturated solution on some skin spots (of decades duration) and it has cured them. Not sure what they were, but some kind of bug had made little 1 cm spots (in a nice ‘where the right hand finger tips land on the thigh seated in a swim suit” pattern…) I think I picked them up when swimming in a “God only knows what and he ain’t tellin’ ” pond years ago. Or after “playing in the dirt” and then resting… At any rate, something from the fingers got to the thin skin of the thigh and settled in. Never spread, but had a slightly dark (like a thick freckle) look and a slightly dry aspect. Just figured it for a fungus or??? Over the years I’d tried a few things, that didn’t work. A couple of days of saturated borax dabs and they just sort of ‘dried up and peeled off’. (The skin under being a bit pink and thin, but otherwise OK. Typical when a fungus has been living in the ‘freshly dead’ layer; moist enough to live, deep enough to avoid surface meds, and ‘dead enough skin’ that blood born meds don’t touch it either.)

    So I’ve been thinking maybe a ‘whole body dip’ even if a lot less saturated might be a ‘good thing’ to just make sure the surface has been gently de-bugged… Nothing specific, just sort of a ‘strong washing’… If nothing else, it might keep the ants off me ;-)

  27. BobN says:

    @EM – Interesting you had a 2 dipper urge! I noticed my urge to take more is less than when I started. Your skin thing is interesting. I have a patch on my leg that gets crusty, flakes off, itches and starts getting crusty again. I have put everything I can think of, but it comes back. It will get a shot of Borax and see what happens.

  28. Jason Calley says:

    OK, here is an anecdotal report after about two weeks of daily boron supplement — basically E.M.s moist finger dosage daily except for higher doses the first couple days. Some background: The reason why I was trying this in the first place is that I developed a locked up right thumb about six weeks ago. I woke up one morning and my right thumb was stiff, especially the first joint (the one closest to thumb tip.) I could bend it, but it sort of “popped” (both visibly and quite audibly) when I bent it. Oddly, my left thumb was stiff just a little, but not nearly so much. I had not done any injury to either that I was aware of. Over the next three days my right thumb got worse and worse until I could only barely bend that joint, and when I did it was VERY painful. It would lock in a bent position and I actually had to grab it with my other hand to straighten it out with a loud “POP!” I was unable to write normally and any strong grasping was out of the question. Luckily the second joint (near the base of the thumb) was still mobile, though sore, so I had some thumb usage. Hence some research and a trip to the store to buy a box of borax.

    Results? I can use my thumb again. Let me rephrase that. I CAN USE MY THUMB AGAIN!! I noticed an improvement after about a week or so, and in the last few days it has gotten progressively better. I can flex my thumb, no snap or pop, and while it is still a bit sore at both first and second joints, it seems to be getting better on a daily basis. My left thumb seems normal.

    I suspect that in my case the cause was more of a bump on a tendon rubbing over a bone, rather than actual joint damage, but without X-rays it is difficult to tell. Anyway, I am (almost) cured, so I am happy. Now, what does this prove? No proof of anything. It could very well be coincidence; a single data point does not give much certainly — but it is at least one data point. Still, I plan on continuing some boron supplementation for a while at least. I will post with any developments.

  29. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Jason: E.M. story began with arthrosis and arthritis. Well, I have found that, provided you don´t have problems with Glucose, sweetening with two teaspoons of Honey Bee makes wonders disappearing pains related to both illnesses. It really works for one of the hardest thing to remove, which is sciatic pain.

  30. BobN says:

    I love on a farm and my wife has complained the dishes were always cloudy and the silverware didn’t shine. She put a teaspoon in the Dish washer and everything came out like new. Not only do I feel better I look better eating with all the shiny dishes and silverware.

  31. Adolfo – do the bees sit on the spoons OK? (Sorry, couldn’t resist that….) For sciatic pain, there is a specific pressure-point you need to apply a thumb to for about 10 seconds, then sharply release the pressure. The osteopath that taught me this said it works in about 90% of cases, and I can say it works on both me and my mum. You may need to repeat the treatment after a year or two. The position is in the middle of the “dimple” just behind and below the ball of the femur. You’ll feel it as a different texture of the muscle – somewhat of a lump in the muscle. Difficult to describe in words. Since sciatica is in general a nerve pain only, putting pressure on the “lump” and then quickly letting go lets blood through the stiff bit of muscle and removes some of the lactic acid build-up. This allows more blood to pass through, removing the rest. When the lump is relaxed it stops putting pressure on the nerve, which caused the pain in the first place. If you can find the right position from my description, this will probably fix your problem. At least that one….

    Bob – we keep on finding more uses for Borax. Since you’re on a farm, and the waste water will end up watering the land anyway, you’ll also be increasing the Boron content of the soil, which is low where you are. You could get better vegetables.

  32. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    Sounds like an “acute event” to me. Those are not often dietary. Then again, chronic things often start with what looks like an acute event…

    Ran into a web page / paper that showed Boron has an effect of increased production of testosterone in men and estrogen in women; causing men to be bolder and women to have less menopause symptoms. Need to find the link again, though…

    Looks like it reduces calcium and magnesium loss via the kidneys as well. So the spouse is going to get back on it ( I didn’t know she had stopped…) as extra calcium in the urine is causal of some kinds of kidney stones.

    Generally, it has more effect if you are also magnesium deficient and looks to be a co-factor in several other metal metabolism processes (so has effect on both calcium and magnesium in bones and who knows what all else).

    But generally: Nice you hear you are feeling better!


    Also that it directly moderated two types of white blood cells implicated in auto-immune problems; so it looks to directly reduce autoimmune response in addition to modification of calcium loss from bones.

    FWIW, I did my first “bath salts” with Borax. Nice effect. 6 oz of Epson Salts and 4 oz of Borax. Smooth silky feeling to the skin. Mild exfoliative effect ( some dead skin could be rubbed off in places with too thick a layer). Felt just kind of happy and relaxed and slightly more ‘centered’ and ‘energized’ afterwards. I’m sure most of it came from the hot bath, and some has already been identified as an Epsom Salts effect, but some small amount of “more” was there, and I think that’s from the Boron. No negative effects noticed and I soaked until the water was getting ‘not warm enough’ ;-)


    One other treatment that works, even if a bit rough, is to have bee stings. Nobody is sure why it works, but for some time afterwards, the other pains are diminished / gone. Sometimes for several days, though IIRC the usual treatment is one sting / day. Could be that some “bee stuff” in the honey is related.


    You ask them nicely! And provide a tiny little chair… ;-)

    BTW, if something is a needed trace mineral for some metabolic processes, having it in limited supply can cause all sorts of problems. It’s a “miracle” when restored to normal… Yet, it does NOTHING if you are already sufficient in that mineral. Makes it hard to prove causality in multifactor issues. So, say, 30% of folks have a genetic tendency to autoimmune disorders, 40% have a specific environmental antigen as causal, and 30% have a dietary deficiency that causes the same problem. Then providing a ‘supplement’ to a test group will have 30% claim it was helpful, but 70% say it does nothing. Given the placebo effect confounder, that can be hard to find as a causal result. At the same time, 40% will respond to environmental changes and all of them may respond to specific drugs (like inflammation suppression). Gets to be very hard to sort that out.

    Worse, some of the folks who ‘get better’ with the mineral, may then go on to ‘relapse’ due to the first two cases getting worse and now added mineral will do nothing as they are sufficiently supplied… Casting doubt on the efficacy in the first place.

    Part of why it matters to show mechanism and direct metabolic effects.

    For Boron, it looks like it is helpful in many cases, but some folks are still having other issues that need to be addressed as well. That it has impact on the metabolism is clear, that a deficiency causes problems is also clear, and that it acts on several aspects of metabolism via metabolism of metals (at a minimum) is also clear. That’s enough for me to make sure I have a bit in the diet. That it also clears up some various skin bugs is just gravy… kind of like soap and water kills bacteria on kitchen surfaces… Mostly I just want the surface to look clean, that the bugs die in soap is an added feature ;-)


    So are the pix “up” anywhere?


    So you’re feeling better too, eh? I think we have a pattern.

    I did run into some pages that talked about double blind studies with something like 70% of the boron folks showing benefit while 10% of the “controls” felt some improvement. Maybe I ought to try to find that link again, too… but generally just realize it’s been formally studied and found to have effect.

    Per the looking better and shining… try a 1/2 cup in the bath water…

  33. BobN says:

    When I was a kid a lot of people were taking Vinegar and Honey cocktails. and some swore buy it. I tried it for a while, but didn’t get much help, but that was when my RA was really hitting hard, at that stage almost nothing works.
    I couldn’t find the old recipe, so I googled and came up with the following link.

    As a side note, I have noticed that I always feel better if I eat a lot of grapefruit with salt on it. My joints always seem to have a temporary affect then it goes away.

  34. Interim report – 3 days ago I started my mum (89) on some Borax dissolved in some high-Magnesium (160mg/l) mineral water. This morning she told me that her knee had become less painful and also the pain in the thigh muscles had gone down. These are both problems she’s had for a few years, some times worse than others. This is a pretty instant effect, and we’ll see what happens as she continues. Since she’s had the operation for cataracts, there was a fair risk that a second operation would be necessary – if the Borax treatment avoids that we won’t know, but it’ll be a bit of negative evidence.

    In the personal trials we’re doing here, hopefully we’ll avoid getting the symptoms of deficiency – more negative evidence. Still, I can’t see any downside to it apart from remembering to Keep Taking the Medicine.

    Looks like I’ll need to find a supply of Borax here in France – my little box of it came from the UK quite a few years ago.

  35. Jason Calley says:

    @ Adolfo and E.M.
    A few decades ago I was a member of a bee-keepers association. Several members (out of twenty or so) were older gentlemen with arthritis. They said that one of their main reasons for keeping bees was so that they could get bee stings when their joints became too painful. IIRC, they would get stung every few days, generally positioning the sting close to the most painful joints.

  36. E.M.Smith says:


    A “first look” at grapefruit shows that it is one of the plants where boron levels in the soil matter ( i.e. it needs boron, so must be absorbing it, so it just be in the plants… and as plants concentrate boron in the growing / fruiting parts, likely is concentrated in the fruit.). It also has some rumored effect directly on prostaglandins (but I’ve not chased that one back to ‘how’ and it might be an indirect via a lower level item, like boron…)

    At any rate, it does look like something is going on with Grapefruit. Did find one place saying not to eat grapefruit if on cyclosporine as it interferes with the drug. And not to eat if for folks who have a specific reaction to it (as some folks do).

    I know that for me, eating grapefruit results in fat loss. Not a lot, just a little and steady. I think it causes some kind of metabolic uplift. (But I cover mine in sugar not salt ;-) I really like grapefruit, but nobody else in the family does, so I don’t buy it as often as I ought…

    IIRC, vinegar is also a relatively good source of Boron (if made from apples or grapes – not the factory chemical stuff as it is too pure).

    Not saying that Boron is the key, just noting a pattern for exploration as “possibly common thread”… could be orthogonal, but worth noting.


    Glad to hear “Mum” is doing better. Muscle pains and cramps are common symptoms of various mineral imbalances. Usually in the Ca / Mg ratio but sometimes the Na / K ratio. Don’t know if Boron has any relationship to muscle pains (probably ought to look…)

    Has a home made soap recipe and talks about getting Borax in France. One comment notes that it is in garden supply shops in some places (makes sense as plants clearly need it). Another noted that Boraxo has an office in France.

    Mettalchic 8:52 PM

    I have written SA Borax Francais to see if they would ship me some Borax decahyrate. or other wise known as sodium tetraborate decahydrate. In it’s powdered form.

    Here is thier writing address. I had to write them because I live in Guadeloupe. Which is a small island in the Caribbean that is a part of France. But you can get Borax in France seeing as they manufacture it there..

    SA Borax Francais
    Route De Bourbourg Usine De Coudekerque Branche 59210 Coudekerrque Branche

    Yet some other folks had other ways to find / get it:

    Spalva 2:05 PM

    This is an old post, and I don’t know if this will help you there in Champagne, but I used to find borax at Tang Freres in Paris. Do you have a Chinese supermarket anywhere nearby? Probably not. :-) But you could make a special trip to Paris!
    JO 2:24 PM

    I just looked and you can order Borax from :)
    Evelyne 9:25 PM

    Hi. I ordered borax from here in France and got it by mail 2 days later. You can find borax in pharmacies but it’s much more expensive (5€ per 100 gms) compared to 12€ for 1.5 kgs plus about 7€ shipping from Jary. Can you give me a brand name for the oxygen cleaning powder? Thanks.

    Hope that helps ;-)


    Oddly, I’ve had a few stings (mostly as a kid, some from stepping on them as they worked over the dandylions in the lawn…) One of the things I remember, in addition to the sting itself, was a general metabolic “lift” for a few days after. Like the diffuse venom was influencing other systems and shifting hormone or enzyme levels in some small way. Never enough to be ‘worth it’ to deliberately explore the effect, but I’d not be adverse to trying it if I was having significant joint pain. (Then again, I think I’ve found enough other ways to keep things on track such that I don’t have that much “issue” to deal with ;-)

    Had a couple of wasp stings too… I’d not recommend them for anything for anyone… In one case was reaching into a paper bag of chess men on the back porch (at about 14 years old) and got the sting on the little finger. Half my hand swelled up, clear over the middle finger. Took a day or two to fully resolve, but left a red damaged spot at the injection site that took longer to heal.

    We have a lot to learn from bugs and about venoms…

  37. Steve C says:

    @Jason (5 September 2012 at 4:34 pm) – If you liked those spiders, you’ll love the Shining Guest Ant (Formicoxenus nitidulus) … Nature really is wonderful.

  38. BobN says:

    @ EM – Thanks for the link on the grapefruit. Its funny, I used to eat a grapefruit for lunch every day and was doing well. I retired and broke my routine and quite eating grapefruit every day. May have to restart the routine.
    Feeling a bit better every day with Boron.

    PS – Try salt on your grapefruit, its better than sugar. IMHO

  39. Petrossa says:

    Be careful with grapefruit and medication. It enhances the effects of quite a few medicines.

  40. jim2 says:


    So are the pix “up” anywhere?

    Gee Whiz! I thought you would never ask :)

    I’ll crop and email you the best ones. Probably won’t get a round tuit until this weekend.

  41. Pingback: Boron Aluminum Hypothesis | Musings from the Chiefio

Comments are closed.