The wear ‘n tear condition, Osteoarthritis (OA), is very prevalent in Australia – this is not a news flash to you I’m sure! Anti-inflammatory drugs such as over-the counter Nurofen, along with prescription ones like Mobic are big sellers for this reason. There is a growing body of evidence that deficiencies in the Trace Element – Boron, may well be related to the development of osteoarthritis. Apparently, in areas of the world where boron intake is 1mg or less per day the prevalence of OA ranges from 20-70%. However, in regions where the boron intake sits between 3-10mg a day the rates of OA are between marginal and 10 %!
Research has shown that folks with arthritis have significantly lower levels of boron in their bones and joint linings than those without arthritis. It has also been demonstrated that boron works on multiple pathways in the body to decrease inflammation and assist cartilage and bone renewal. It has also been found that boron enhances the effectiveness of the more well-known joint supplement combination, glucosamine/chondroitin. It has been suggested that if you’ve tried glucosamine for those aching knees but haven’t had results then it may be boron deficiency holding things back.
A trace element is a nutrient that we only need tiny amounts of; in this case boron is vital to the formation of bone and cartilage but only tiny amounts are required.
I first learnt about this connection between boron and OA from a very old and wise Veterinarian over 30 years ago. He could look at an animals bones and tell the farmer if it was deficient in boron by signs of wear and tear in the joints. The benefit to the farmer is this is a very cheap problem to rectify for healthier animals on market day! At the time I had no context for this piece of information so promptly forget it (!) until I recently started coming across research papers on osteoarthritis, especially in relation to the knees.
The results I see in my patients include very significant reduction in pain and inflammation, along with improved mobility. Boron actually helps joint repair whereas all the anti-inflammatories in the world do not. And talk about cheap; you couldn’t spend more than 20 cents per day on this if you wanted to!
All the capsules I’ve seen are 3mg, and the consensus seems to be a dose of between 3-10 mg daily; I split the difference and suggest 6mg/day.
All the best,
Dr. Joshua Brohier – Osteopath