Boron (B) is introduced to the body mainly through food (noncitrus fruits, leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, wine, cider, beer) and drinking water but is also found in food preservatives (sodium borate), and insecticides (boric acid). Evidence for biological essentiality in animals (including humans) has been presented. It has been proposed that boron contributes to living systems by acting indirectly as a proton donor and that it exerts a particular influence on cell membrane and structure and function. In humans boron is responsible for the hydroxylation of various substances in the body. It may enhance the production of various hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, DHEA, and 1,25 dihydroxycholecalciferol. Boron is very readily absorbed and excreted in the urine yet its concentration remains quite low in the serum. Based on urinary recovery findings, more than 90% of ingested B is usually absorbed. Boron is distributed throughout the tissues and organs of animals and humans at concentrations mostly between 4.6 and 55.5 nmol (0.05 and 0.6 μg)/g fresh weight. Among the organs that contain the highest amounts of B are bone, spleen, and thyroid. It appears to be most concentrated in the thyroid gland.
Boron has a low order of toxicity even with intakes as high as 40mg/day in some parts of the world. However, high body burden of the element may be harmful, especially to young animals (including human neonates). Reports have shown that when doses equivalent to more than 46 mmol (0.5 g) B daily were consumed, disturbances in appetite, digestion, and health occurred. Acute toxicity signs include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dermatitis, and lethargy. High B ingestion also induces riboflavinuria.
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