Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Study Says: Boron Does Indeed Raise Free Testosterone

There have been rumors on the Internet for quite some time - "Did you hear? Boron increases testosterone!" Hitherto, however, these claims have not been substantiated by reliable scientific research. A recent study done by a group of scientists from Iran (Naghii. 2010) yet seems to prove that this is more than the steroid-loaden phantasy of an average gymrat.

In a placebo controlled study, the scientists found that supplementation with 10mg Boron/day did not only lower SHGB and thus raise testosterone, it did also lower three inflammatory biomarkers (Interleukin-6 (IL-6), high sensitive CRP (hsCRP) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α)):
Table1: Hormones and inflammatory biomarkers concentration (mean ± SD) plus hormone ratios following consumption of placebo (day 0) and weekly boron supplementation (day 7)
As you can see in table 1, the testosterone to estrogen ratio more than doubled (0.31 to 0.67). This alone makes me believe that it won't take too long for supp companies to notice this little trace mineral and to include it in more and more of their products. Hitherto it is already found in some formulations, like multi-vitamins, meal replacements and other stuff that is enriched with minerals the dosages, however, are minuscule and far from the 10mg used in the present study.

The scientists also investigated the time-course of the effect of boron supplementation on day 1 of the study and interestingly it took only 6 hours for free testosterone to rise from 8.55pg/ml to 11.25pg/ml. To me, this suggests that there is more to boron supplementation than just repleting exhausted blood and/or tissue levels.

Update: I have been digging a little into the possible mechanism of action behind the increase in testosterone and my personal take it that boron is a (weak) anti-estrogen. By cutting estrogen by 50% (cf. table 1) your body will automatically reduce SHGB, which is up-regulated by estrogen. This frees testosterone and may in fact provide (minor) benefits in muscle gain, libido & fat loss. I suspect that in the end this could be related to a reduction in manganese and an increase in magnesium & calcium retention (cf. Acu-Cell information about boron) that follows the administration of large amounts of boron. These is highly speculative and may only be part of the picture, though.
Also, in view of conflicting evidence from previous studies (e.g. Nagghi. 2006), which found that supplemental boron increased (not decreased) estrogen in men, further investigations are warranted.