Written by Chef Lynda
Absolutely nothing is more disheartening and frustrating than to be doing everything you believe to be right, and spending hours a day teaching others about real food and nutrition, while suffering in silence with unexplained joint pain and trying to hide an ever incapacitating limp!
And then at a Weston A. Price conference on nutrition, Sally Fallon casually dropped a ‘precious jewel’ that has given me the promise of a whole new day! A day? (a lifetime?) without the pain, stiffness and inflammation that have become my albatross. I would like to share it with you, because I know that too many people are suffering just like me.
BORON is a mineral that is simply an activator. It helps to activate or cause many other functions to happen within the body. Boron is one of the main minerals used in the bone building process. Boron initiates estrogen by helping convert vitamin D into an active state. The estrogen then improves absorption of calcium. Boron also helps metabolism to take place within the bone. With this metabolism properly functioning, osteoporosis is not a major factor to a person’s health. Once osteoporosis sets in, Boron can play a major role in helping the body to replace lost calcium.
Boron also assists in preventing arthritis and tooth decay. Boron is one of the minerals necessary for building and repairing joint cartilage. Boron is essential in maintaining the correct levels of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in the body. Boron helps to regulate hormones, especially estrogen and testosterone. Boron also helps maintain brain function and memory capabilities.
Boron deficiency can cause cell walls to become very weak and fragile, rendering the cells incapable of properly transferring nutrients into them. The body depends on Boron for performing most of its functions. With its interactions with calcium and other minerals…
…Boron is a very important part of a long chain that intertwines all the minerals necessary for individual cell growth and health!
Boron is essential for ALL life in plants as well as animals. Boron is essential for the integrity and function of cell walls and the way signals are transmitted across cellular membranes.
When ingested it reacts with hydrochloric acid in the stomach to form Boric acid, ingested Boron compounds are rapidly and nearly completely excreted with the urine.
Chemical fertilizers inhibit the uptake of Boron from the soil. An organic apple grown in rich soil may have 20 mg Boron, but if grown with fertilizer it may have only 1 mg of Boron. The average intake of Boron in developed countries is only 1-2 mg of Boron per day.
This creates health problems due to Boron deficiency which is now very common, but very few of us know about it.
BORON DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS
Boron is necessary throughout the body with the highest concentration in the parathyroid glands, the bones, joints and the dental enamel. It is essential for healthy bone and joint function, it is responsible for regulating the absorption and metabolism of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
Some symptoms of Boron deficiency are arthritis, brittle bones, carpal tunnel syndrome, degenerative joint disease, hormonal imbalance, loss of libido, memory loss, muscle pain, osteoporosis, receding gum, and weak joint cartilage. Boron deficiency causes greatly increased amounts of calcium and magnesium to be lost with the urine.
Boron deficiency causes the parathyroid to become overactive and stressed which causes the glands to release too much parathyroid hormone. Excess parathyroid hormones raise the blood level of calcium by releasing calcium from the bones, joints and teeth into the blood stream. This then leads to osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, spondylitis, gout, lupus, osteoporosis, pyorrhea and tooth decay.
With advancing age high blood levels of calcium lead to calcification of soft tissues causing muscle contractions and stiffness; calcification of the eyes, endocrine glands, especially the pineal gland and the ovaries. Arteriosclerosis, kidney stones, and calcification of the kidneys ultimately leading to kidney failure. When the intracellular calcium levels get too high the cells will die!
Bone analysis has shown that arthritic joints and nearby bones have only half the Boron content of healthy joints. Equally, synovial fluid that lubricates joints and provides nutrients to the cartilage is Boron deficient in arthritic joints.
Arthritis in its various forms and its close relative osteoporosis affect a very large percentage of the population in developed countries. Osteoporosis is responsible for more long-term hospital care than any other individual disease. This is due to the very high incidence of fractures, and especially the protracted nature of hip fractures.
Please note that these ‘casualties’ are a main source of income for the medical-pharmaceutical system!
HEALTH EFFECTS OF BORON
A Boron supplement will reduce the daily loss of calcium by nearly 50%. As this calcium is withdrawn mainly from your bones and teeth, Boron deficiency may be the most important factor in causing arthritis, osteoporosis and tooth decay today.
Boron affects the metabolism of steroid hormones, and especially the sex hormones. Supplementing with Boron increases low testosterone levels in men and estrogen levels in menopausal women. Boron also has an important role in converting vitamin D to its active form, thus increasing the calcium uptake and deposition into the bones and teeth rather than causing soft tissue to calcify. Also other beneficial effects have been reported such as improvement of heart disease, vision, psoriasis, balance, memory and cognition.
A German cancer researcher by the name of Dr. Paul-Gerhard Seeger has shown that cancer commonly starts with the deterioration of cell membranes. Since Boron is essential for cell membranes and Boron deficiency is widespread, this may be an important cause for the initiation of tumor growth. Boron compounds have anti-tumor properties and are “potent anti-osteoporotic, anti-inflammatory, hypolipemic, anti-coagulant and anti-neoplastic agents” (1).
The missing link
In the 1960’s a soil and plant scientist by the name of Rex Newnham, Ph.D., D.O., N.D, developed arthritis.
He tried conventional drugs but they not help so he looked for answers in the chemistry of plants. He realized that plants in the area in which he lived were mineral deficient. Knowing that Boron aids calcium metabolism in plants he decided to try supplementing with BORAX. Yes, you read it right…Borax. You may find it unimaginable that Borax, the humble insecticide and laundry detergent seems to be the missing link!
Dr. Newnham took 30 mg of Borax per day and in three weeks ALL pain, swelling and stiffness had disappeared!
The chemical names for Borax are Sodium Tetraborate, Disodium Tetraborate Decahydrate, or Sodium Borate. Chemically it is all the same, it is a naturally occurring mineral commonly mined from dried salt lakes. There is no “food-grade” Borax available or necessary as all Borax is the same and “natural”, it is usually mined in California or Turkey. Borax is commonly used as household cleaner, it is non-toxic and does not contain heavy metals. Pharmaceutical grade is not noticeably purer or better. Borax has antiseptic, antifungal, and antiviral properties but only mild antibacterial action.
Ingredients: A NATURAL MINERAL.
Most of Dr. Rex Newnham’s later research was devoted to the relationship between soil Boron levels and arthritis. He published several scientific papers on Borax and arthritis. One was a double-blind trial in the mid 1980’s at the Royal Melbourne Hospital which showed that 70% of those who completed the trial were greatly improved. There were no negative side-effects reported, some participants reported that their heart ailments had also improved, and there was better general health and more energy. (3)
He told public health and medical school authorities about his discovery but they were more concerned about loss of their own profits and ended up instigating a government law that Boron be declared a poison in any concentration. This resulted in Dr. Newnham being fined and threatened and Borax becoming unavailable in the country in which he lived. Before the national ban, many people with arthritis who heard of Dr. Newnham’s discovery were delighted as they began supplementing with Borax and saw vast improvement. Others were afraid to take something that was being sold to kill cockroaches and ants.
SOIL BORON LEVELS
Dr. Rex Newnham’s research found that the traditional sugarcane islands, due to long-term heavy use of fertilizers, have very low soil Boron levels. Jamaica has the lowest level of soil Boron and the arthritis rates of the population are 70%, he noted that even most of their dogs were limping.
The Mauritius islands off the southeast coast of Africa have very low Boron levels and 50% of the populations suffers with arthritis. The daily Boron intake in these countries is less than 1 mg/day.
An interesting comparison is between India and the native Fijians. The Indians are estimated to have an arthritis rate of 40% and eat much rice grown with fertilizer while the native Fijians with an estimated arthritis rate of 10% and eat mainly starchy root vegetables grown without fertilizer.
The US, England, Australia and New Zealand generally have average soil-Boron levels with an estimated intake of 1 to 2 mg of Boron and arthritis rates of approximately 20%.
Israel has some of the best soil in the world and a very high Boron content, with an estimated daily Boron intake of 5 to 8 mg. An independent survey in 1978-1980 at Kaplan Hospital showed arthritis for the whole country to be less than 1%.
Carnarvon in Western Australia has high Boron levels both in the soil and water, and the arthritis rate is only 1%.