During menopause and postmenopause, bone density decreases. Boron in the diet or taken as a supplement may benefit bone health.

Boron is a trace element that is present in many plant foods. People can also take boron as a supplement.

Boron may affect calcium, vitamin D, and estrogen levels, which all play a part in bone health for menopausal or postmenopausal females.

This article looks at boron, which foods contain it, the potential benefits of boron, and its side effects.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Boron is a mineral and trace element found in many foods. It is also available as a dietary supplement.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), plants require boron for growth and pollination, but experts do not deem it essential for human health. Boron may provide potential benefits for humans, though, including:

  • reproduction and development
  • metabolizing calcium
  • bone formation
  • brain function
  • metabolizing insulin and sources of energy
  • immunity
  • steroid hormone function, including vitamin D and estrogen

Boron may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and help regulate systems within the body.

Boron may be beneficial for some females during menopause and postmenopause. However, there has been little recent research into its effects.

Most females experience menopause between the ages of 45–55 years. During this time, periods stop, and estrogen levels decline, leading to a loss of bone density. Females may lose up to 10% of their bone mass in the 5 years following menopause. This can be a risk factor for osteoporosis.

The NIH reports that boron may play an important role in bone growth and formation. Still, research has shown no clear link between boron supplementation and an improvement in bone mineral density.

How does boron affect bone density?

According to the NIH, a low-boron diet may affect postmenopausal females. The NIH classes a low boron intake as 0.23–0.25 milligrams (mg) boron per 2,000 calories (kcal).

In postmenopausal females, a low boron diet may:

  • increase calcium and magnesium excretion in urine
  • reduce serum concentrations of estrogen

In both males and females, low boron intake may also reduce calcium and vitamin D levels and increase calcitonin and osteocalcin.

Calcitonin is a hormone that helps regulate calcium and phosphate levels in the body. Osteocalcin is a protein found in bones and teeth.

These changes in the body may affect bone mineral density.

According to a 2020 review, boron may have a positive role in calcium metabolism, which may help prevent bone loss and osteoporosis.

The review also noted that boron may increase serum levels of ergocalciferol, a form of vitamin D. This effect is similar to that of estrogen therapy.

Other research shows that animals and humans who ate a diet with boron supplementation had improved bone density.

Learn about how estrogen affects osteoporosis here.

According to the NIH, plant foods such as fruit, tubers, and legumes, are highest in boron. In the United States, the most frequently consumed foods containing boron include:

The following table shows foods high in boron:

FoodAmount of boron
1 cup prune juice1.43 mg
½ cup raw, cubed avocado1.07 mg
1.5 ounces (oz) raisins 0.95 mg
1 medium peach0.80 mg
1 cup grape juice0.76 mg
1 medium apple0.66 mg
1 ounce roasted, salted peanuts0.48 mg
½ cup refried beans0.48 mg

Boron amounts in foods vary depending on where they were grown and the levels of boron in the soil.

According to a 2020 review, supplementing with 3 mg of boron per day may help support bone health and help maintain or prevent loss of bone mineral density. Although there is no recommended daily intake of boron, the upper limit is 20 mg per day for adults aged 19 or over, including pregnant and lactating females.

According to the NIH, the amount of boron in dietary supplements varies between 0.15–6 mg.

The NIH states that blood boron levels tend to remain constant even when a person greatly increases their dietary intake of boron. This suggests that the body has mechanisms for regulating the amount of boron in the blood and may eliminate excess boron in the urine.

Boron in certain forms can be dangerous. Cleaning products and pesticides containing boric acid or sodium borate can be harmful if someone accidentally consumes them. Very high doses of boron can be toxic, and doses of 15,000–20,000 mg can be fatal in adults.

Boron in the diet and in supplements is safe as long as people do not exceed the upper limit.

According to the NIH, there is no data about the negative side effects of high boron intake from food or water sources.

If people consume excessive amounts of boron, it can cause toxicity. People may experience:

In infants, high boron intake may cause:

Below are answers to some common questions about boron.

Does boron cause hair loss?

In very high doses, boron may lead to alopecia in adults and cause thin hair in infants. There is no evidence that modest consumption of boron through diet and supplements affects hair loss.

Does boron cause weight loss?

According to 2019 research, a boron-rich diet may result in lowering:

Study participants increased their intake of boron through boron-rich foods, such as avocado, dried fruits, and nuts. Therefore, other factors may have also played a part in weight loss, such as an increase in:

Boron supplementation of 3 mg per day may benefit bone health and bone mineral density. This may help support bone health during menopause and postmenopause, when bone loss can increase.

Low boron levels may link to an increased risk of osteoporosis, while diets higher in boron may help improve bone density.

High doses of boron can be toxic and cause unwanted or dangerous side effects.

Boron is a trace element occurring in many plant foods. People can also take boron as a supplement.

Although experts do not currently consider boron essential for human health, it may have health benefits for females going through menopause and postmenopause.

Boron may affect levels of calcium and vitamin D, and steroid hormones such as estrogen, which may help to promote bone health. Increasing boron intake may help slow down the loss of bone density during menopause, although there is a lack of recent research to support this.

Excessive intake of boron can be dangerous to health. If people are unsure about taking boron supplements, they can discuss with a healthcare professional.