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Medically Approved

Is boron good for arthritis pain?

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Boron and arthritisBenefitsSourcesPrecautionsArthritis treatmentsSummary
Boron is a trace element in certain foods. It may play a role in bone health. Research suggests increasing your boron intake may help reduce arthritis pain.
Medically reviewed by Kerry Boyle D.Ac., M.S., L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., CYT
Written by D. M. Pollock
Updated on November 27, 2023

Boron is a naturally occurring mineral found in some plants and dairy. It may offer some benefits for brain function, immunity, and metabolism.

While researchers aren’t exactly sure of the effects of boron, some evidence suggests it may be important for maintaining bone health and possibly relieving arthritis symptoms.

Is boron recommended for arthritis pain?

Man sitting at office desk after taking boron for arthritis pain
Photography by PonyWang/Getty Images

Arthritis is an umbrella term for a group of chronic conditions that cause inflammation, resulting in swollen and painful joints.

The medical term for this pain is arthralgia. It is the most common sign of most types of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA).

While there is not enough evidence to support boron as a remedy for arthritis, the trace element is an important mineral for health in general. It helps keep your bones strong and healthy by helping your body absorb, use, and store other bone-building minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

A 2021 review notes these effects of boron can help prevent OA. For example, according to a 2021 study, people over the age of 40 years can prevent and help correct pain from arthritis by ensuring they receive 3 milligrams (mg) of boron per day. This study notes that people consuming less than 1 mg per day of boron had a much higher risk of developing arthritis than those consuming at least 3 mg per day.

Boron also helps reduce inflammation by decreasing certain substances, such as prostaglandins, that are responsible for the inflammatory response. This helps relieve joint pain and swelling that occurs with different types of arthritis.

Health benefits of boron

Other than helping alleviate arthritis joint pain, there are plenty of other reasons to increase your daily intake of boron.

This includes:

  • Improving wound healing: Boron, specifically boric acid, can improve how your body produces protein and collagen, which are important for healing your skin. It also has antibacterial properties, which further enhance skin healing.
  • Bone health: Boron may help improve bone health, yet there is a lack of research supporting its effects on arthritis. However, many studies note a positive outcome on bone health from taking more than 3 mg per day of boron supplements.
  • Treating infections: Boric acid has antifungal properties that can help treat yeast infections, like athlete’s foot or thrush.

Sources of boron

Boron is available as an oral supplement, sometimes in combination with other important nutrients. These supplements usually contain 0.15–6 mg of boron.

If you don’t want to take a tablet every day, foods rich in boron include:

  • avocados
  • prune juice
  • raisins
  • grape juice
  • apples
  • peaches
  • peanut butter
  • milk
  • coffee

Precautions

Boron is safe and not harmful when consumed. However, going above the daily recommended intake limit can cause side effects.

The daily upper limit from all sources — foods, drinks, and supplements — is 20 mg for adults. Upper limits are less for children and adolescents. Anyone who is pregnant or nursing should talk with their doctor about its safety.

Symptoms of too much boron can include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • rashes
  • headaches
  • convulsions

Extremely high doses of boron can also result in death.

While there is no medication that you cannot take with boron, it is always a good idea to talk with a doctor before taking a boron supplement if you are already taking medication.

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Treatment for arthritis

If boron supplements do not help relieve your symptoms, proven therapies and lifestyle measures include:

  • using complementary therapies like acupuncture and massage
  • taking regular exercise
  • following an anti-inflammatory diet

Different medications are also available to help treat different types of arthritis more effectively.

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Osteoarthritis (OA)

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most effective medication for OA. These are available as topical creams and oral tablets. They work by blocking the enzymes that cause pain and swelling in joints with OA, available over the counter and by prescription.

These include:

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Other than NSAIDs, biologics and steroids can help manage symptoms. Biologics help stop the inflammatory process that causes rheumatoid arthritis but are available only as injections or infusions. These include adalimumab (Humira) and infliximab (Remicade).

Corticosteroids can help manage pain from RA by promoting the expression of genes responsible for anti-inflammatory processes.

These include:

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Summary

Boron is a mineral that naturally occurs in plants and dairy. It is also available as an oral supplement.

Research suggests boron can help support bone health, which may help relieve arthritis and also prevent its onset. Be careful not to take over the daily upper limit, as overdosing can have side effects.

If supplements aren’t helping to reduce your arthritis pain, many different medications are available. Speak with a doctor to find the most suitable for you.

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