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Effect Of Boron On Thymic Cytokine Expression, Hormone Secretion, Antioxidant Functions, Cell Prolif


Jan 6, 2015
Effect of Boron on Thymic Cytokine Expression, Hormone Secretion, Antioxidant Functions, Cell Proliferation, and Apoptosis Potential via the Extrac... - PubMed - NCBI

J Agric Food Chem. 2017 Dec 27;65(51):11280-11291. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b04069. Epub 2017 Dec 18.
Effect of Boron on Thymic Cytokine Expression, Hormone Secretion, Antioxidant Functions, Cell Proliferation, and Apoptosis Potential via the Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinases 1 and 2 Signaling Pathway.
Jin E1, Ren M1, Liu W1, Liang S1, Hu Q1, Gu Y1, Li S1.
Author information

Boron is an essential trace element in animals. Appropriate boron supplementation can promote thymus development; however, a high dose of boron can lead to adverse effects and cause toxicity. The influencing mechanism of boron on the animal body remains unclear. In this study, we examined the effect of boron on cytokine expression, thymosin and thymopoietin secretion, antioxidant function, cell proliferation and apoptosis, and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) pathway in the thymus of rats. We found that supplementation with 10 and 20 mg/L boron to the drinking water significantly elevated levels of interleukin 2 (IL-2), interferon γ (IFN-γ), interleukin 4 (IL-4), and thymosin α1 in the thymus of rats (p < 0.05), increased the number of positive proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA+) cells and concentrations of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (p-ERK) (p < 0.05), and promoted mRNA expression of PCNA and ERK1/2 in thymocytes (p < 0.05). However, the number of caspase-3+ cells and the expression level of caspase-3 mRNA were reduced (p < 0.05). Supplementation with 40, 80, and 160 mg/L boron had no apparent effect on many of the above indicators. In contrast, supplementation with 480 and 640 mg/L boron had the opposite effect on the above indicators in rats and elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin 6 (IL-6), interleukin 1β (IL-1β), and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) (p < 0.05). Our study showed that supplementation of various doses of boron to the drinking water had a U-shaped dose-effect relationship with thymic cytokine expression, hormone secretion, antioxidant function, cell proliferation, and apoptosis. Specifically, supplementation with 10 and 20 mg/L boron promoted thymocyte proliferation and enhanced thymic functions. However, supplementation with 480 and 640 mg/L boron inhibited thymic functions and increased the number of apoptotic thymocytes, suggesting that the effects of boron on thymic functions may be caused via the ERK1/2 signaling pathway.

ERK1/2 signaling pathway; antioxidant; boron; cytokine; proliferation and apoptosis; thymus
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May 8, 2017
This is very good information, thanks. Quite a number of people take boron including the past me who have no idea it might affect the immune system. That is key.


Mar 26, 2014
What would the human equivalent dose be? I take 3 - 6mg and haven't heard of anyone mega-dosing boron


May 17, 2018
Cross posting relevant Boron insights...

...here's a paper on boron-deficient soils, the effect on foods grown in them, and consequences on the local population. There seems to be a fairly clear link!
Agricultural practices affect arthritis.
It has been suggested that boron deficiency in food may be a cause of some arthritis
(Newnham 1979). Epidemiological studies were done to try to ascertain why some countries have more or less arthritis than other countries. Jamaica, Mauritius, Fiji and Israel were visited with a view to ascertaining the boron levels of locally consumed food as it was suspected that excessive use of soluble chemical fertilizers had damaged the soils of the sugar producing lands. Food grown on these soils were found to have low boron levels. By contrast the foods consumed in Israel had high boron concentrations associated with a low incidence of arthritis. South African work has shown that people who eat mostly maize have more arthritis when eating processed maize grown with fertilizer. Brief reference is made to the role of boron in human diets. There are bound to be geographical differences in dietary boron, but even in the USA levels have dropped considerably in 50 years. Arthritis is increasing, especially juvenile arthritis. The increased use of fertilizers and genetic selection of plants has led to a wide range of changes in the quality of foodstuffs and their nutrient content. The identification of the parallel loss of boron may reflect vital changes in trace elements and other nutrients.
Insights from Travis:
To clarify this area for anyone reading this comment:

An experienced and knowledgeable user on this form called Travis has given his detailed & methodical insights into Boron's biological role. According to him, it is safe in small doses, and is actually less toxic than salt - aka sodium chloride.
Boron has a beneficial effect on Calcium and Magnesium retention, and also benefits steroidogenesis, as already explained in this thread. Since it apparently increases cholesterol, this would likely have a positive impact on all downstream substances, including progesterone.
But, it is better not to make hasty assumptions. If you are in a state of imbalance, perhaps boron is best avoided, or dosed at TINY amounts, eg 1-3mg.

A good starting dose range would be 1-10mg, preferably with food

Quote from Travis:
Boric acid, borate, fructoborate, and benzoxaboroles cannot be considered selectively estrogenic when the increase both sex steroids proportionally. These are sex-neutral compounds, likely stimulators of de novo steroid synthesis. I suppose boron can be considered 'highly estrogenic' should a person focus entirely on female studies determining only estradiol, remaining completely oblivious to the corresponding cholesterol and testosterone increases observed in both males and females. Since boron compounds don't favor one sex hormone over the other, it would be far more appropriate simply to consider them 'steroidogenic' in high doses."
Insight on Boron's estrogenic influence:
Did some further searching on boron on this forum, and found a post with some more claims on this: apparently boron not only increases E1 to E2, but also increases E2 conversion to E3 (estriol), which is a very weak estrogen. So if the source was correct (who knows, it was a doctor giving a TED-like talk), perhaps the net effect isn't as "estrogenic" as I made out. I've also read it inhibits the breakdown of E2 by a different mechanism, so meh I'm not sure myself. Anyway just adding this for completeness.

This is a great thread, in case people have missed it:
Nothing Boring About Boron
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