Boron and Prostate Health: The Mounting Evidence!
Substantial evidence is gathering that the trace mineral boron plays an integral role in protecting men against deadly prostate cancer(LeBeau et al 2010, Zhang et al 2001). LeBeau et al 2010, further noted that, as men grow older, their risk for prostate cancer skyrockets and metastasis outside the prostate is “uniformly lethal.”
Another interesting, brainstorming research further revealed that boron has been found to selectively kill prostate cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed. This eye-opening studies were conducted by Korkmaz et al 2001 and another by Barranco WT and Eckhert CD 2004. LeBeau et al 2010 study found that Boron lowers PSA level, however, this was previously believed to be only a marker for prostate cancer. More recent findings also conducted by LeBeau et al 2010 report demonstrates that elevated PSA is a causative factor in prostate cancer progression. According to Zhang et 2001, sufficient boron levels are associated with a 64% reduced risk of prostate cancer, but the most challenging aspect is getting the protective levels of boron from food source which was also demonstrated by Schaafsm et al 2001. This study therefore implies that supplementation with low-cost boron could be a game changer for aging males at risk for prostate cancer, in addition to other health benefits provided by this vital mineral.
Prostate Cancer Cells Targets
However, while there was a significant decrease in cancer risk in the group that consumed the most boron, those in the highest intake group only consumed 2.5 additional servings of fruit and one additional serving of nuts per day compared to those in the lowest boron intake group (Zhang et al 2001)
A follow up study conducted by Cui et al 2004 established these findings. In this new study, the researchers compared the dietary boron intake of 95 prostate cancer patients with that of 8,720 healthy male controls. The study authors controlled for age, race, education, smoking, body mass index, dietary caloric intake, and alcohol consumption. They found that men with the highest boron intake showed a 54% lower risk of prostate cancer compared to those with the lowest intake. In addition, they further realized that increased dietary boron intake was associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer in a dose-response manner.
These findings not only emphasized the significant, holistic nature of health benefits associated with consuming fruits, but also recommended that boron in particular may be responsible for some of these protective benefits.
Other researchers derived their source of motivations from this study as these epidemiological findings showed a connection between dietary intake of boron and reduced risk for prostate cancer. In view of these findings, other scientists also conducted studies in other to investigate if indeed supplementing with boron could protect against prostate cancer. Primary animal studies indicate that the answer is yes.
In a validated animal model of prostate cancer, researchers found that oral administration of various concentrations of a boron-containing solution substantially decreased tumor size. It also lowered levels of prostate-specific antigen or PSA—the most abundant protein synthesized in the prostate gland—suggesting a possible mechanism for these anticancer effects (Gallardo et al 2004).
In this animal model, researchers orally administered various concentrations of a boron-containing solution to test subjects and found that this resulted in decreases in prostate tumor size by 25% to 38%. Remarkably, PSA levels dropped by an astounding 86% to 89% in the animals that received boron (Gallardo et al 2004).These findings suggested that supplemental boron may have both preventive and therapeutic effects—helping both to shrink prostate tumors and to decrease levels of PSA.
Unique Protective Mechanisms
Gallardo et al 2004 findings that demonstrated supplemental boron can help to shrink prostate tumors while also decreasing levels of PSA was an intriguing one. Previously, PSA was regarded largely as a blood indicator of prostate cancer, infection, or inflammation. Recent evidence now reveals that PSA plays an integral role in the progression and metastasis of prostate cancer, this has open a new therapeutic pathways for preventing and treating this epidemic disease with PSA-lowering nutrients such as boron( LeBeau et al 2010, Webber et al 1995 and Cohen et al 1994)
Scientists can now attest that elevated PSA breaks down the protein surrounding the cells (called the extra-cellular protein matrix) within the prostate gland. The breakdown of these cellular barriers by excess PSA may be what enables prostate cancer cells to more readily invade healthy tissue and spread themselves beyond the prostate gland, with potentially lethal consequences (Webber et al 1995). This outstanding information offers additional knowledge on preventing or slowing down prostate cancer by reducing PSA levels. Available evidence by Gallardo et al 2004 further suggests that higher intake of boron-containing compounds can inhibit PSA activity and lower the risk of prostate cancer by reducing intracellular calcium signals and storage(LeBeau et al 2010).
Boron As Adjuvant Treatment
Some studies have led to some researchers to conclude that boron could have specific therapeutic potential in the treatment of prostate cancer. However, there is another side of it that is unknown; PSA is also a protein called prostate specific membrane antigen or PSMA. Though, PSMA has not yet been totally accepted as a marker for prostate cancer, studies have shown that the expression of PSMA in tumors and metastases of men with prostate cancer is greater than PSMA in men without prostate cancer (Chang SS 2004).
For instance, in 2014, El-Zaria et al published a cell study based on the ability of boron to inhibit PSMA. The researchers realized that boron-rich compounds exhibited significant uptake by prostate cancer cells, which indicated that boron compounds may be useful in developing a new class of therapeutic agents—among those known as boron neutron capture therapy or BCNT—against prostate cancer. BCNT is a type of noninvasive, injection-based anticancer therapy using boron.
There is another aspect of boron; is its ability to selectively inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells while still allowing normal prostate cells to grow. Scientists know that these actions are dose-dependent, though the underlying mechanism for this targeted effect is still under study(Barranco et al 2004)
Another 2014 study by Korkma et al published in Tumour Biology, however, did reveal that a compound containing boron induced apoptosis, or cell death, in prostate cancer cells. The researchers were able to determine that the boron agent disrupted the normal organization of prostate cancer cells’ actin filaments, which are threadlike, protein fibers that are an essential element or building block of the cell. The compound containing boron exerted other cytotoxic or cell-killing effects, including the reduction of telomerase activity in the cancer cells. They concluded that the boron in this compound “could be an important agent for its therapeutic potential in the treatment of prostate cancer.”
So from studies and increasing proof conclusion is that an adequate daily boron use via supplementation—and not relying on the small and extremely variable amounts of boron available in plant foods from different agricultural regions—represents an important component of a strategy to prevent prostate cancer and maintain optimal PSA levels(Life Extension magazine)
In fact, emerging studies now suggest that boron delivers another layer of protection against the symptoms of this prostate cancer—in the bone.
Boron Role In Bone Health
Prostate cancer is very aggressive in black men, hence, there is the need for an aggressive treatment and improving quality of life care in black men. So could boron intake also help this men? The most deadly danger in prostate cancer is its ability to spread to the bone, which is its natural evolution. According to Tombal B and Lecouvet F 2012, Bone is the initial and main site for about 80% of all prostate cancer metastases. One article that appeared in Frontline Medical Communications (2017) also revealed advanced prostate cancer most commonly in the spine, pelvis, ribs, skull, and proximal femur.
Jimenez et al 2010 study further revealed that, these bone metastases induce significant skeletal remodeling, fractures, anemia, and pain—and are a major cause of morbidity and mortality. LeBeau et al 2010 described prostate cancer as a “uniformly lethal once it has escaped the confines of the prostate gland.” Frontline Medical Communications (2017) revealed that the median survival of patients after prostate cancer has spread to the bone is 40 months.
Although more studies are needed, according to Barranco WT and colleague 2014, boron’s remarkably targeted capacity to inhibit the spread of prostate cancer cells while sparing normal cells, may have the same targeted effect against prostate cancer cells that have migrated to the bone. With wider boron supplementation, this cytotoxic effect—combined with boron’s potential to help prevent prostate cancer from occurring in the first place—could reduce the current 28,000 American deaths from this disease every year(LeBeau et al 2010)
Weak bones—whether the result of cancer or aging—can lead to pain, fracture, and disability. Few people realize that boron plays an integral part in bone metabolism. The ability of Boron to supports the functions of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D, all of which are crucial to promoting dense, healthy bone tissue, Schaafsma and colleague 2001, Frontline Medical Communications 2017 and Hegsted et al 1991.
Nielsen et al 1987 study which centered on postmenopausal women who were not on estrogen replacement therapy, the investigators found that a boron-supplemented diet increased levels of two hormones associated with healthy bone mass. Boron also reduced depletion of the body’s stores of bone-building calcium and magnesium—importantly, this benefit occurred during periods of both adequate magnesium intake and magnesium deficiency (LeBeau et al 2010)
Another study in 1991 by Hegsted et a proved that when animals were fed a diet deficient in vitamin D, increasing their dietary intake of boron helped support optimal calcium absorption—demonstrating that boron promotes optimal mineral balance and ensures healthy calcium utilization.
A 2013 scientific review by Scorei and colleague found that calcium fructoborate—a natural boron complex—significantly reduces human serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). This protein is a marker for inflammation, and has been identified as a possible contributor to the disruption of the normal bone remodeling process. Remodeling is essential to healthy bone mineral density, and the study author concluded that this boron complex “may contribute to bone health by controlling the inflammation associated with loss of bone mineral density.”
Inflammatory Conditions and Boron
Apart from its promising reduction of prostate cancer risks, boron’s anti-inflammatory mechanisms have other benefits throughout the body. In a 2015 article which appeared (//www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/arthritis.htm), About 52 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis. Luckily, boron inhibits pro-inflammatory factors that contribute to the development of arthritis( Scorei and colleague 2013, Naghii et al 2011)
A review of previous studies by Hunt and colleague 1999 found that boron exerts favorable immunomodulatory effects on the inflammatory process, decreasing joint swelling and improving restricted movement. Boron in that same review by Hunt and colleague also found to inhibit lipoxygenase (LOX)—an enzyme that triggers the inflammatory cascade to increase inflammatory leukotrienes.
In one double-blind study by Travers et al 1990 in people with severe osteoarthritis, the study authors found that in those who completed the trial, 71% of those taking boron improved, while only 10% of those taking placebo improved. No side effects were observed.
Had earlier made mentioned that boron is essential to promoting strong, healthy bones. This makes boron especially important for those suffering from osteoarthritis. In 1980, Hall et al demonstrated in a study in which they compared control bone samples to samples taken from fracture patients and osteoarthritis patients. While fracture bone samples did not differ from control samples, bone samples taken from areas adjacent to osteoarthritic joints showed reduced-mineral content—including a lower level of boron. This suggests that there is a more rapid turnover of bone in afflicted joints and that boron—used as a bone-building material—is quickly depleted.
Travers et al 1990 study even found that boron can reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis. In that study, 50% of osteoarthritis patients who received 6 mg of boron daily reported less pain from movement, while only 10% given a placebo experienced similar improvement. However, Hall et al 1995 and also Hall et al 1980 argued that, this was likely due to decreased production of pain-provoking inflammatory mediators.
To buttress it further, in 1990, Newnham proof to boron’s beneficial impact on arthritis. In this study, the study author found a connection between dietary intake and incidence of arthritis. In areas of the world where daily boron intake is 1 mg or less, the incidence of arthritis ranges from 20% to as high as 70%. Conversely, in world regions where daily boron intake is 3 to 10 mg, the incidence of arthritis is much lower, ranging from 0 to 10%. These findings indicate that adequate boron intake confers powerful protection against osteoarthritis.
- In addition to its potent support for healthy bones and joints, boron is emerging as a highly targeted inhibitor of prostate cancer cells and their metastases.
- It can kill these cancerous cells without harming healthy prostate cells.
- Scientists have demonstrated that boron lowers prostate-specific antigen, or PSA—and may help prevent or control the spread of prostate cancer. Other evidence links boron to reduced cognitive decline.
- Boron levels in foods are low, but supplementing with this trace mineral may be the little-known missing link for those seeking a mechanism of defense against prostate cancer, bone loss—as well as overall support for optimum health.
- Patients can get 3 to 6 mg of boron in their multi-nutrients supplements. For some, this may be an optimal amount. Certain individuals may want to increase this dose to 9 to12 mg daily. Luckily, boron is a very low-cost supplement.
- Boron is increasingly recognized for its targeted capacity to destroy prostate cancer cells and lower prostate-specific antigen, or PSA—while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
- Sufficient amounts of boron also support healthy bones and joints, as well as reducing the risk and pain of osteoarthritis.
- Boron quantities found in food are usually very low.
- Adequate boron intake via supplements may help prevent or control potentially lethal prostate cancer and support optimum health.
- Individual’s response to boron is different, hence what may work for you may not necessarily work for another.
What is Boron?
Boron is a trace mineral that is essential to plant growth and finds its way into the human diet through our consumption of plant foods—especially apples, plums, grapes, avocados, vegetables, nuts, and legumes.
Despite its widespread availability in plant foods, ingesting adequate amounts of boron through dietary choices can be difficult. Why? Because the total quantity of boron in any one plant food is very low according to greenfacts.org.
Take for example, apples are noted to be a good source of boron. However, to attain the minimum 3 mg daily intake of boron that is generally suggested, you would need to eat about 2.4 pounds of apples a day according to green facts—that’s more than eight apples according to ypertextbook.com/facts/2009/AliciaMcGeachy.shtml.
What it also means is that, for boron, you may have to manage to consume about 68 apples during a single day according to ypertextbook.com/facts/2009/AliciaMcGeachy.shtml and greenfacts.org.
But , with the current modern dietary habits, many black men can develop a boron deficiency by simply failing to eat enough fruits, vegetables, and nuts. And even among those whose diets include rich quantities of these plant foods, their boron intake will be greatly affected by regional geology because the food content of boron varies greatly according to the boron content of the soil in the region where the produce was grown. Even local preferences for some foods over others can result in high or low human boron levels, to be accessed at ypertextbook.com/facts/2009/AliciaMcGeachy.shtml and Rainey and colleague 1998
So meeting optimal boron intake becomes increasingly significant as we age. According to the Cancer.gov, boron has long been recognized for its critical role in safeguarding bone health, scientists are increasingly excited about growing evidence of boron’s powerful role in blocking the development of prostate cancer.
This idea has sparked intense interest among researchers, for instance, in one work published by Sakr et al 1993, Autopsy evidence indicates that prostate cancer is histologically evident in up to 34% of men aged 40 to 49 and up to 70% of men aged 80 and older.
Dr. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, PhD, is an Honorary Professor of Holistic Medicine at Vinnytsia State Pedagogical University, Ukraine. His research focuses on Prostate cancer in Black men and improving quality of life using Naturopathic and Holistic Medicines. He is the formulator of FDA approved Men’s Formula for Prostate Health & Immune booster.. 0241083423
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