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2. Arthritis

Since the mid 1970s, Boron has been used to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile arthritis, using

daily doses of 6-9 mg. Preliminary studies demonstrate very good results in placebo–controlled trials. The

mechanism of action remains unknown for this application.5,6

Dosage Ranges

1. Postmenopausal Osteoporosis: 3 mg per day.2

2. Arthritis: 6-9 mg per day.5,6

Side Effects and Toxicity

At usual supplemental levels of intake, Boron has shown no toxicity in human studies. Some women experienced

increased hot flashes and night sweats (postmenopausal) or a worsening of their symptoms with 2.5 mg of Boron

supplementation. These women may have to discontinue use.7

As well, the increase in estrogen levels may be of concern in regards to increasing risk of breast and other

reproductive cancers. Thus, many authorities suggest limiting Boron supplementation in postmenopausal women to a

maximum of 1 mg per day.8

Drug-Nutrient Interaction

There are no well-known drug nutrient interactions for Boron.9




Meschino Health Comprehensive Guide to Minerals

Pregnancy and Lactation

During pregnancy and lactation, the only supplements that are considered safe include standard prenatal

vitamin and mineral supplements. All other supplements or dose alterations may pose a threat to the

developing fetus and there is generally insuf icient evidence at this time to determine an absolute level of

safety for most dietary supplements other than a prenatal supplement. Any supplementation practices

beyond a prenatal supplement should involve the cooperation of the at ending physician (e.g., magnesium

and the treatment of preeclampsia.)

References: Pregnancy and Lactation

1. Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Murray M. Prima Publishing 1998.

2. Reavley NM. The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements, and Herbs. Evans and

Company Inc. 1998.

3. The Healing Power of Herbs (2nd edition). Murray M. Prima Publishing 1995.

4. Boon H and Smith M. Health Care Professional Training Program in Complementary Medicine.

Institute of Applied Complementary Medicine Inc. 1997.

1. Hendler S. The Doctors’s Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster; 1990. p. 114-6.

2. Neilson FH, Hunt CD, Mullen LM, Hunt JR. Effect of dietary Boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in

postmenopausal women. FASEB J 1987:1;394-7.

3. Neilson FH. Boron: an overlooked element of potential nutritional importance. Nutrition Today. 1988:23;4-7.

4. Nielson FH, Gallagher SK, Johnson LK, Nielson EJ. Boron enhances and mimics some of the effects of estrogen therapy in

postmenopausal women. J Trace Elem Exp Med 1992; 5:237-46.

5. Travers RL, Rennie GC, Newnham RE. Boron and arthritis: the results of a double-blind pilot study. J Nutr Med 1990;1:127-32.

6. Newnham RE. Arthritis or skeletal fluorosis and Boron. Int Clin Nutr Rev 1991;11:68-70.

7. Nielsen FH, Penland JG. Boron supplementation of peri-menopausal women affects boron metabolism and indices associated with

macromineral metabolism, hormonal status and immune function. J Trace Elements Exp Med 1999; 12:251-61.

8. Healthnotes 1998-2002. Available from: URL:

9. Murray M. Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing; 1996. p. 193.




Meschino Health Comprehensive Guide to Minerals


General Features

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. It makes up approximately 2 percent of the body weight with 99

percent of it incorporated into the hard tissue, bones, and teeth. The other one percent is present in the blood and

extracellular fluids and within cells of soft tissue where it regulates many important metabolic functions. In addition to

building and maintaining bones and teeth, Calcium is necessary for muscle contraction, blood clot ing (stimulates the

release of thromboplastin from platelets, facilitates conversion of prothrombin to thrombin), cell membrane transport

functions, release of neurotransmitters, synthesis and secretion of protein, hormones and intracellular enzymes, nerve

transmission and regulation of heart beat. The proper balance of Calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium ions

maintains muscle tone and controls irritability and the muscle membrane’s electrical potential.

Calcium is present in bones in the form of hydroxyapatite crystals, composed of Calcium phosphate, Calcium

carbonate, magnesium, zinc, sodium and fluoride. These salt crystals are arranged around a framework of softer

protein material (organic matrix). The hydroxyapatite crystal provides strength and rigidity to the softer protein matrix

of bone. The same crystals are present in the enamel and dentin of teeth; however, the Calcium from teeth is

generally not reabsorbed into the bloodstream in times of need or in conjunction with low circulation levels of estrogen,

progesterone, or testosterone. Bone Calcium can be reabsorbed into the blood stream, weakening the skeleton and

increasing susceptibility to osteoporotic fractures (often seen in the spine and neck of the femur).

Blood levels of Calcium are maintained within a fixed range by various feedback mechanisms. A significant increase

in serum Calcium can cause cardiac or respiratory failure and a hypocalcemic state leads to tetany (involuntary muscle

spasm that can cause asphyxia and death from spasm of airway musculature).

Absorption and Metabolism

Calcium is absorbed primarily via active transport in the duodenum (some via passive diffusion). Active transport

requires the assistance of vitamin D. The body normally absorbs 30-40 percent of ingested Calcium, but it can be as

low as 10 percent from inorganic sources such as vegetables or grains with a high content of phytic or oxalic acid.

Parathyroid hormone (PTH) increases Calcium absorption by increasing the conversion of vitamin D to its active form.

In general, factors that increase Calcium absorption include: serum levels of vitamin D, PTH, lactose, intestinal acidity,

and possibly fat intake. Factors that hinder Calcium absorption include: oxalic acid (chocolate, spinach, beet tops,

collard greens, etc.) but this is not of great concern as dietary Calcium is usually far greater than dietary oxalate. The

same is true for phytic acid found in whole grains (e.g., wheat bran and whole wheat). Low serum levels of vitamin D

and/or PTH decrease Calcium absorption.

Following absorption, Calcium enters the bloodstream and is transported to body tissue. The major site of deposition

is bone.1 Unabsorbed Calcium (approximately 60-70 percent of intake levels) is excreted in fecal mat er, but may

provide a protective role in regards to colon cancer prevention by binding to bile acids and other sterols and blocking

their conversion to cancer-causing secondary sterols (lithocholic acid, deoxycholic acid).2,3




Meschino Health Comprehensive Guide to Minerals

Daily Calcium Requirement (NIH Recommendations)

Age Group and Gender



Under 6 months


6–12 months


1–10 years


11-24 years Male and Female


25–50 years Male and Female


Postmenopausal Women not taking estrogen replacement (ERT)


Postmenopausal Women taking ERT


65+ years Postmenopausal Women taking or not taking ERT


50-64 years Men


65+ years Men


Calcium Preparations and Bioavailability

The bioavailability of various forms of Calcium supplements has been evaluated using radio-isotope and other studies.

The following is a summary of the key findings to date:


Absorptive Fraction of Calcium in Normal



Approximately 33% on empty stomach

Calcium Carbonate

Approximately 31% on empty stomach

Calcium Citrate

Approximately 40% on empty stomach

Calcium Gluconate

Approximately 26.6% on empty stomach

Calcium Lactate

Approximately 34.5 % on empty stomach

Tricalcium Phosphate

Approximately 25.2% on empty stomach

Calcium Citrate-malate

Approximately 34.9% on empty stomach

Calcium Chloride

Approximately 36.4% on empty stomach

Average Diet

Approximately 32% on empty stomach3

It is best to take Calcium supplements with food to capitalize upon the other potential benefits regarding bone/health

and blood pressure regulation, as well as the improved bioavailability of Calcium that occurs with meals (e.g. Calcium

carbonate absorption is enhanced by approximately 10 percent when ingested with meals).3

Supplementation Studies and Clinical Applications