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Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Mar;65(3):803-13.

Metabolic responses of postmenopausal women to supplemental dietary boron and aluminum during usual and low magnesium intake: boron, calcium, and magnesium absorption and retention and blood mineral concentrations.

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United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, ND 58202-9034, USA.


Findings from animal studies indicate that dietary boron affects several aspects of mineral metabolism, especially when animals are subjected to nutritional stressors. Eleven postmenopausal volunteers living on a metabolic ward for 167 d (one 23-d equilibration period and six 24-d treatment periods) were fed a conventional basal diet that supplied a daily average intake of 0.36 mg B, 109 mg Mg, and < 0.10 mg A1/8400 kJ. They were given supplements of 0 (BB) or 3 mg B (SB, last two periods only), 0 (BMg) or 200 mg Mg (SMg) (with magnesium supplements held constant during the last two periods), or 0 (BAl) or 1000 mg A1 (SAl)/d. The SB treatment, compared with the BB treatment, provided a 9.0-fold increase in dietary boron but yielded only a 1.5-fold increase in plasma boron concentrations. Regardless of boron dietary treatment, fecal plus urinary excretion of boron accounted for nearly 100% of dietary boron intake with no evidence of boron accumulation over time. Lack of boron accumulation and relatively small changes in blood boron values during a substantial increase in dietary boron support the concept of boron homeostasis. In subjects fed BMg, SB decreased the percentage of dietary calcium lost in the urine but increased that percentage in volunteers fed SMg, a relation that may be important in understanding metabolic mineral disorders that perturb calcium balance. Reduced calcium absorption during SAl suggests that aluminum supplementation should be limited or at least monitored in postmenopausal women prone to excessive calcium loss. Decreased total urinary oxalate during SB in BMg subjects indicates a possible role for boron in the control of urolithiasis during low-magnesium nutriture.

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