Colloidal Boron

Boron is a chemical element with symbol B and atomic number 5. Because boron is produced entirely by cosmic ray spallation and not by stellar nucleosynthesis,it is a low-abundance element in both the Solar system and the Earth's crust. Boron is concentrated on Earth by the water-solubility of its more common naturally occurring compounds, the borate minerals. These are mined industrially as evaporites, such as borax and kernite. The largest proven boron deposits are in Turkey, which is the also the largest producer of boron minerals. Chemically uncombined boron, which is classed as a metalloid, is found in small amounts in meteoroids, but is not found naturally on Earth. Industrially, very pure boron is produced with difficulty, as boron tends to form refractory materials containing small amounts of carbon or other elements.

According to conventional medicine it is not known if boron is essential for humans but research shows that we do need it. The reason why it was difficult to answer this question is the presence of boron in all plants and unprocessed foods. Diets with a fair amount of fruit and vegetables provide about 2 to 5 mg of boron per day, but this also depends on the region where the food was grown and how it was grown.

In reality the average intake in developed countries is 1-2 mg of boron per day. Institutionalized patients may receive only 0.25 mg of daily boron. Chemical fertilizers inhibit the uptake of boron from the soil:  an organic apple grown in good soil may have 20 mg boron, but if grown with fertilizer it may have only 1 mg of boron. Fertilizers combined with poor food choices have greatly reduced our boron intake compared to 50 or 100 years ago.

Further, unhealthy cooking methods greatly reduce the availability of boron from food. The cooking water of vegetables containing most of the minerals may be discarded during home cooking or commercial processing; phytic acid in baked goods, cereals and cooked legumes may greatly reduce availability, while gluten sensitivity and Candida overgrowth inhibit the absorption of minerals. All this makes health problems due to boron deficiency now very common.

Health Effects of Boron

  • Protects you from Fluorides. Borax protects against the accumulation of fluorides in the body; is effective as an antidote in fluoride toxicity; and can remove fluorides from the body.
  • Anti-microbial. Borax is toxic to insects, parasites, protozoa and bacteria.
  • Fungicide. Effective against molds and fungi, internally and externally.
  • Anti-viral
  • Hormone normalizer. Stimulates the production of hormones, stabilizes estrogen, assists with insulin use and blood glucose control, triglyceride use and production of reactive oxygen. With boron sufficiency, blood serum triglyceride levels are significantly lower.  Estrogen replacement therapy may not be necessary.
  • Immune system enhancer.  Promotes healing of wounds.
  • Reduction and control of inflammation.
  • Aphrodisiac for men and women. Boron stimulates the production of testosterone and normalizes estrogen.
  • Toxin removal. Powerful chelator of heavy metals.
  • Stabilizer of calcium, copper and magnesium levels, inhibits calcification. Boron sufficiency normalizes calcium levels, preventing both abnormal calcium deposition and bone weakness. Boron sufficiency inhibits the concentration of copper in the bones and prevents loss of bone.
  • Mental enhancement. Improves attention, both short and long term memory, perception, hand-eye coordination, and manual dexterity.

Due to their content of boron, borax and boric acid have basically the same health effects, with good antiseptic, antifungal, and antiviral properties but only mild antibacterial action. In plants as well as animals boron is essential for the integrity and function of cell walls, and the way signals are transmitted across membranes.

Boron is distributed throughout the body with the highest concentration in the parathyroid glands, followed by bones and dental enamel. It is essential for healthy bone and joint function, regulating the absorption and metabolism of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus through its influence on the parathyroid glands. With this boron is for the parathyroids what iodine is for the thyroid.

Boron deficiency causes the parathyroids to become overactive, releasing too much parathyroid hormone which raises the blood level of calcium by releasing calcium from bones and teeth. This then leads to osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis, osteoporosis and tooth decay. With advancing age high blood levels of calcium lead to calcification of soft tissues causing muscle contractions and stiffness; calcification of endocrine glands, especially the pineal gland and the ovaries; arteriosclerosis, kidney stones, and calcification of the kidneys ultimately leading to kidney failure. Boron deficiency combined with magnesium deficiency is especially damaging to the bones and teeth.

Boron affects the metabolism of steroid hormones, and especially of sex hormones. It increases low testosterone levels in men and oestrogen levels in menopausal women. It also has a role in converting vitamin D to its active form, thus increasing calcium uptake and deposition into bone and teeth rather than causing soft tissue to calcify. Also other beneficial effects have been reported such as improvement of heart problems, vision, psoriasis, balance, memory and cognition.

The German cancer researcher Dr Paul-Gerhard Seeger has shown that cancer commonly starts with the deterioration of cell membranes. As boron is essential for cell membranes and boron deficiency widespread, this may be an important cause for the initiation of tumour growth. Boron compounds have anti-tumour properties and are "potent anti-osteoporotic, anti-inflammatory, hypolipemic, anti-coagulant and anti-neoplastic agents"

This overview shows the wide-ranging influence of boron on our health. In the following I want to describe some of these health effects in greater detail.

The Arthritis Cure of Rex Newnham

In the 1960's Rex Newnham, Ph.D., D.O., N.D, developed arthritis. At that time he was a soil and plant scientist in Perth, Western Australia. Conventional drugs did not help, so he looked for the cause into the chemistry of plants. He realized that plants in that area were rather mineral deficient. Knowing that boron aids calcium metabolism in plants he decided to try it. He started taking 30 mg of borax a day, and in three weeks all pain, swelling and stiffness had disappeared.

He told public health and medical school authorities about his discovery but they were not interested. However, some people with arthritis were delighted as they improved. Others were scared to take something with a poison label on the container and meant to kill cockroaches and ants. Eventually he had tablets made with a safe and effective quantity of borax.

Within five years and only by word of mouth he sold 10,000 bottles a month. He could no longer cope and asked a drug company to market it. That was a major mistake. They indicated that this would replace more expensive drugs and reduce their profits. It so happened that they had representatives on government health committees and arranged that in 1981 Australia instituted a regulation that declared boron and its compounds to be poisons in any concentration. He was fined $1000 for selling a poison, and this successfully stopped his arthritis cure from spreading in Australia.

Subsequently 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. Only 12% improved when on placebo. There were no negative side-effects, but some reported that their heart ailment had also improved, and there was better general health and less tiredness.

Most of his later research was devoted to the relationship between soil boron levels and arthritis. He found, for instance that the traditional sugarcane islands, due to long-term heavy use of fertilizers, have very low soil-boron levels. Jamaica has the lowest level and arthritis rates are about 70%. He noted that even most dogs were limping. Next comes Mauritius with very low boron levels and 50% arthritis. The daily boron intake in these countries is less than 1 mg/day. An interesting comparison is between Indian and native Fijians. The Indians are estimated to have an arthritis rate of about 40% and eat much rice grown with fertilizer while the native Fijians with an estimated arthritis rate of 10% eat mainly starchy root vegetables grown privately 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 about 20%. But Carnarvon in Western Australia has high boron levels in soil and water, and the arthritis rate is only 1%. It is similar in a place called Ngawha Springs in New Zealand with very high boron levels in the spa water which is curative for arthritis. Actually all spas reputedly curing arthritis have very high boron levels. These are also high in Israel with an estimated daily boron intake of 5 to 8 mg and only 0.5 - 1% arthritis.

Bone analysis showed that arthritic joints and nearby bones had 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. After boron supplementation bones were much harder than normal and surgeons found them more difficult to saw through. With additional boron bone fractures heal in about half the normal time in both man and animal. Horses and dogs with broken legs, or even a broken pelvis, have fully recovered.

Borax is also effective with other forms of arthritis, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Juvenile Arthritis, and Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus). For instance Dr Newnham saw a young girl aged 9 months with juvenile arthritis. He was able to cure her in 2 weeks.

He wrote that commonly people can get rid of their pain, swelling and stiffness in about 1 to 3 months. Then they can reduce treatment from 3 to 1 boron tablet (each 3 mg) per day as a maintenance dose so that they can avoid any future arthritis. He also stated that patients with rheumatoid arthritis commonly experienced a Herxheimer reaction and that this is always a good prognostic sign. They must persevere and in another 2 or 3 weeks the pain, swelling and stiffness will be gone. (4,5)

I found this statement not only interesting but also surprising. The Herxheimer reaction is an early aggravation of symptoms with increased pain. It is commonly due to toxins released by killed Candida and mycoplasma. This is very common with antimicrobial therapy, and borax definitely is an exceptionally good and strong fungicide. What surprises me, however, is that this fungicidal effect is already present at this rather low dose of 75 to 90 mg of borax. Equally surprising is the finding that also up to 30% of those with osteoarthritis experienced a Herxheimer reaction, suggesting that the border between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is rather fluid. I believe that in long-standing and especially resistant cases it will be advisable to use other antimicrobials in addition.

Osteoporosis and Sex Hormones

Boron deficiency causes greatly increased amounts of  calcium and magnesium to be lost with the urine. A borax supplement will reduce the daily loss of calcium by nearly 50%. As this calcium comes mainly from resorbed bone and teeth, boron deficiency may be the most important factor in causing osteoporosis and tooth decay.

It has been estimated that 55% of Americans over 50 have osteoporosis and of these about 80% are women. Worldwide 1 in 3 women and 1 in 12 men over the age of 50 may have osteoporosis, and this is responsible for millions of fractures each year. Rats with osteoporosis were given a boron supplement for 30 days with the result that their bone quality was now comparable with that of the healthy control group and of a group supplemented with oestradiol (6).

The beneficial effect of borax on bones seems to be due to two interrelated effects: a higher boron content of the bones which makes them harder, and a normalisation of sex hormones which stimulates the growth of new bone. Low oestrogen levels after menopause are thought to be the main reason why so many older women develop osteoporosis. In men testosterone levels decline more gradually which seems to be reflected in their later onset of osteoporosis as a group.

Research has now shown that boron supplementation in postmenopausal women doubles the blood level of the most active form of oestrogen, 17-beta oestradiol, to the level found in women on oestrogen replacement therapy. Equally, the blood levels of testosterone more than doubled (7). With HRT there is a higher risk of breast or endometrial cancer which is not known to happen with hormones produced by the body as with borax supplementation.

Some women get premenstrual problems because oestrogen levels are too high and progesterone too low, and therefore may be afraid of using boron. However, I found no evidence that boron raises oestrogen above normal healthy levels. Boron may balance levels of sex hormones similar to the action of maca root powder. Maca acts on the pituitary gland not only to increase but also to balance our sex hormones and seems to stimulate our own progesterone production as needed.

A recent study in younger men (29 - 50) showed that the level of free testosterone (the form that matters most) had risen by one third after a daily supplementation of about 100 mg of borax for one week (8). This is of special interest for bodybuilders.

Contrary to the medical preference of chemically castrating men with prostate cancer, research with boron has shown that elevated testosterone levels are beneficial by shrinking prostate tumours and PSA levels, PSA being a marker for tumours and inflammation in the prostate. Also significantly improved memory and cognition in elderly individuals may be partly due to increased levels of sex hormones and partly to improved membrane functions of brain cells (9).

I have been asked about boron supplementation for women with oestrogen-sensitive breast cancer. Breast cancer is related to calcifications in the breast. In my opinion it is more important to normalize the calcium-magnesium metabolism and cellular membrane functions rather than feel restricted by a possibly faulty medical concept, especially as I believe that cancer can usually be controlled with long-term antimicrobial therapy. Therefore I would use boron as well as maca in this case.

Fungi and Fluoride

Being such an excellent fungicide it is not surprising that borax is being successfully used to treat Candida. There is much interesting information on an Earth Clinic forum called Borax Cures (10). With low to medium-weight people use 1/8 teaspoon of borax powder and with heavier weight 1/4 teaspoon per litre of water. One drinks the water spaced out during the day, and does this for 4 or 5 days a week as long as required. 

Many contributors wrote that it cured or greatly helped them. So for instance this post: "I also have psoriasis, so maybe the soreness in my joints is the psoriatic arthritis creeping in. I thought, after reading about borax here on this forum, I would give it a try. OMG! In one day, the soreness in my knees has vanished! .... Also, my psoriasis seems a lot better after 2 days drinking 1/4 tsp borax in 1 litre of water per day."

Another one about toe fungus: "He wet his feet and then took a handful (of borax) and rubbed it all over his feet. He said it stopped itching immediately! He was stunned. A few weeks later I asked him how his athletes foot was and he said: oh wow! it hasn't come back! that stuff totally cured it !!!"

Other enthusiastic posts were about vaginal thrush. Borax appeared to be more effective than other remedies. Commonly one large gelatine capsule filled with borax or boric acid was inserted at bedtime for several nights or up to 2 weeks. Alternatively the powder can be mixed with cool solidified coconut oil as a bolus or suppository.

A recent scientific study (11) confirms these positive observations with vaginal thrush. Boric acid at the dose of a filled capsule worked even in cases of drug-resistant Candida and against all the tested pathogenic bacteria. Because of the greater dilution, a douche may not be strong enough for bacteria and drug-resistant Candida but it should work for normal Candida. Borax, due to its alkalinity, was more effective than boric acid.

In normal healthy conditions Candida exists as harmless oval yeast cells. When challenged, chains of elongated cells called pseudohyphae develop, and finally strongly invasive long, narrow and tube-like filaments called hyphae. These damage the intestinal wall, and cause inflammation and Leaky Gut Syndrome. Pseudohyphae and hyphae can be seen in the blood of individuals with cancer and autoimmune diseases. Candida can also form tough layers of biofilm. This same study shows that boric acid/borax inhibits the formation of biofilms and also the transformation of harmless yeast cells into invasive hyphal form. In other articles I have shown that this process, commonly initiated by antibiotics, is a basic cause of most of our modern diseases, and this makes borax and boric acid primary health remedies. But this article shows that there are many more reasons to give them a top rating.

A scientific review in 2011 concluded: "... boric acid is a safe, alternative, economic option for women with recurrent and chronic symptoms of vaginitis when conventional treatment fails..." (12). But as it is so much better than drugs why not use it as a first option, or use the even more effective borax?

Another study from Turkey (13) shows the protective effect of boric acid on food contaminated with mycotoxins, especially fungal aflatoxins. Among these, Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) causes extensive DNA damage and is the most potent carcinogen ever tested, especially affecting liver and lungs, also causing birth defects, immunotoxicity and even death in farm animals and humans. Boric acid treatment was protective and led to increased resistance of DNA to oxidative damage induced by AFB1. The strong antifungal action of boric acid is, of course, the reason why it has traditionally been used as a food preservative.

I received numerous appreciative communications ranging from cancelling surgery for hip replacement to removing brain fog, and curing autoimmune diseases. One woman wrote in a recent Nexus Magazine of curing her Lupus and serious kidney disease in 4 month with half a teaspoon of  daily borax powder.

Borax, similar to the equally endangered Lugol's iodine solution, can also be used to remove accumulated fluoride and heavy metals from the body (14). Fluoride not only causes bones to deteriorate, but also the pineal gland to calcify and the thyroid to become underactive. Borax reacts with fluoride ions to form boron fluorides which are then excreted in the urine.

In a Chinese study borax was used to treat 31 patients with skeletal fluorosis. The amount was gradually increased from 300 to 1100 mg/day during a three month period, with one week off each month. The treatment was effective with 50 to 80% improvement.

One forum contributor suffered with Fibromyalgia/Rosacea, chronic fatigue and TMJ for over 10 years which she believed were caused by fluoride. She used 1/8 tsp of borax and 1/8 tsp of sea salt in a litre of de-chlorinated water, and drank this for 5 days each week. Within two weeks her face cleared, the redness faded, body temperature normalized, energy level increased, and she steadily lost excess weight. The only side-effect was an initial aggravation of her Rosacea symptoms.

Another post: "7 years ago thyroid cancer, the next year adrenal fatigue, then early menopause, the following year uterine prolapse followed by hysterectomy - the following year fibromyalgia and neuropathy. Early Childhood was fluorinated water along with fluoride tablets. Fall of 2008 I was looking at total disability. I could barely walk and couldn't sleep because of the pain and was throwing up daily from the pain in my back. ... After reading about fluoride I came to understand where all of my problems originated. ... I began the borax detox of 1/8 tsp in a litre of water and within 3 days my symptoms were almost gone."  

Calcium-Magnesium Metabolism

There is antagonism as well as cooperation between calcium and magnesium. About half of the total body magnesium is found in bones and the other half inside the cells of tissues and organs. Only 1% is in the blood, and the kidneys try to keep this levels constant by excreting more or less with the urine.

In contrast, 99% of calcium is in bones, and the rest in the fluid outside of cells. Muscles contract when calcium moves into the cells, and they relax when calcium is again pumped out and magnesium moves in. This cellular pump requires much energy to pump calcium out, and if cells are low in energy, then calcium may accumulate inside cells. Low cellular energy may be due to Candida, faulty sugar or fat metabolism, deficiencies, or accumulating metabolic wastes and toxins.

This then leads to only partial relaxation of the muscles with stiffness, a tendency to cramps, and poor blood and lymph circulation. The problem gets worse the more calcium moves from bones into soft tissue. Nerve cells can also accumulate calcium, leading to faulty nerve transmission, in the lens it causes cataracts, hormonal output keeps reducing as endocrine glands increasingly calcify, and all other cells become handicapped in their normal functions. In addition it causes intracellular magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is needed to activate countless enzymes, and a deficiency leads to inefficient and blocked energy production.

A further problem is that excess calcium damages the cell membrane and makes it difficult for nutrients to move in and wastes to move out. When the intracellular calcium level gets too high the cell will die.

Here we can see the importance of boron as a regulator of cell membrane functions, especially in regard to movements of calcium and magnesium. With boron deficiency too much calcium moves into the cell while magnesium cannot move inside to displace it. This is the condition of old age and of the boron-deficiency diseases leading up to it.

While in good health and especially in younger years a calcium - magnesium ratio of 2 : 1 is normal and beneficial and supplied with a good diet. But with increasing age, boron deficiency and resulting disease conditions we need progressively less calcium and more magnesium.

The Assault on Borax

Arthritis in its various forms and its close relative osteoporosis affect about 30% 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. This is a main source of income for the medical-pharmaceutical system. If the boron-magnesium cure for these diseases should become widely known, this vital income stream would dry up and the system collapse. As this is the biggest and most profitable industry in the world, this  cannot be allowed to happen.

When Dr Newnham discovered the boron-arthritis cure it was not a big problem for the pharmaceuticals because news travelled slowly and was easily suppressed. This is very different now with Internet communication. Most research funding comes from the pharmaceutical industry, and nothing has come forward to duplicate Dr Newnham's findings and other positive osteoporosis studies. Instead, funding goes into the development of patentable boron drugs for limited application as in chemotherapy, or even to discredit boron. A test-tube experiment found that a relatively low dose of about 4 grams of borax can damage lymphocytes, just like an earlier test-tube study showed that vitamin C supplements are toxic. Most positive borax studies now come from China, Japan and Turkey.

Furthermore, PubMed is a publicly funded search facility for bio-medical research publications. While other articles for Newnham R.E. and Zhou L.Y. are still listed, the two important borax publications mentioned earlier - about the arthritis trial at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the treatment of skeletal fluorosis in China - are no longer listed, but they belong there and obviously had been there originally. I suspect that they have been deliberately removed to prevent them from being quoted in other research.

In addition, increasing effort goes into publicly demonizing borax for its alleged reproductive and infant toxicity. As an example I recently read an article by a 'senior scientist' of the supposedly 'green' Environmental Working Group. In it the perceived dangers of borax were so exaggerated that most comments in effect said: "Thank you for opening my eyes. I did not know how poisonous and dangerous borax is, I certainly will not use it anymore in my laundry, or for cleaning my toilet and kitchen" .

This is obviously a deliberate campaign to make people grateful for banning borax from public sale. For laundry and cleaning purposes Borax Substitute now replaces the product previously sold as Borax. The EU has spearheaded this campaign. In June 2010 borax and boric acid were reclassified as “Reprotoxic Category 2“, suggesting that they may be harmful to the reproductive functions of humans in high doses, and the product package must display the skull and crossbones symbol. From December 2010 these products were no longer available for public sale within the EU. While this classification now applies for all of Europe, non-EU countries still have some leeway in regard to public sales. This initiative is part of a Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) which is to be implemented as soon as possible. Australia is well-advanced on preparing regulations to implement the GHS for industrial chemicals, with new regulations expected in 2012.

The European Chemicals Agency gave as reason for their reclassification of boron products (paraphrased):

'The available data do not indicate major differences between laboratory animals and humans, therefore it must be assumed that the effects seen in animals could occur in humans as epidemiological studies in humans are insufficient to demonstrate the absence of an adverse effect of inorganic borates on fertility. 17.5 mg boron/kg/day was derived as a NOAEL (no event level) for male and female fertility. For the rat decreased foetal weight occurred at 13.7 mg boron/kg/day, and a safe limit of 9.6 mg/kg/day has been derived.'

What they are really saying is this: 'While we have no human data, animal studies suggest that for adult reproductive functions a daily ingestion of about 2 teaspoons of borax is safe. But to be absolutely sure that no-one is harmed, we will ban it totally.' Importantly, this ruling is not related to borax in foods or supplements where it is already banned, but only for general use as in laundry or cleaning products or as insecticides. Because borax is not readily inhaled or absorbed through intact skin, it is difficult to see how even a few milligrams daily could get into the body with the conventional use. If the same standard would apply to other chemicals there would be none left.

The key study in this assessment was published in 1972. Why is this being dug up now to justify banning borax when it was of no concern for the past 40 years? It does not make any scientific sense, especially if you consider that the main chemical in the new borax substitute, sodium percarbonate, is about three times more toxic than borax. Acute oral LD50 values for animals are from 1034 to 2200 mg/kg/day (23). Even the commonly used sodium bicarbonate, with an animal LD50 of 3360 mg/kg, is nearly twice as toxic as borax (24). Both of these chemicals have not been tested for long-term reproductive toxicity at the high doses that caused fertility problems in rats and mice.

The same applies to washing powders, it has been stated that no toxicity is expected if used in the approved way, or that reproductive tests have not been done. Ingredients in these products are more toxic than borax, why can they be used in the approved way but not borax? And how about really toxic items such as caustic soda and hydrochloric acid? Why do they remain available to the public when one of the safest household chemicals is banned despite the fact that it is absolutely impossible to cause any reproductive harm with the approved use?

Regardless of the lack of any scientific credibility, the stage has been set for borax and boric acid to be globally removed from public sale at short or no notice. Even low-level and less effective boron tablets are now tightly controlled by the pharmaceutical industry, and may be restricted at any time through Codex Alimentarius regulations. With this the medical-pharmaceutical system has safely defused any potential danger that borax may have posed to its profitability and survival.

 

 

Colloidal Boron

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