The significance of dietary boron, with particular reference to athletes

Nutr Health. 1999;13(1):31-7. doi: 10.1177/026010609901300104.


Ergogenic substances and synthetic steroids have a wide spread use, particularly among non-professional athletes. To avoid the side-effect of drug abuse, it is suggested that the key to success is a proper athletic nutrition. It is a balanced intake of nutritional wholesome foods that contain a proper blend of essential nutrients. Knowledge of human physiology and nutrition has increased greatly, and so has application of dietary alterations and supplementation with specific nutrients. Modulation of dietary composition and/or supplementation with specific nutrients with the intent of improving human physical performance is a working definition of nutritional ergogenic aids. Boron is a trace element nutrient, and recently its supplements have been shown to increase the concentration of plasma steroid hormones. In a single blind cross-over trial, it resulted in a significant increase in plasma 17-B estradiol (E2) concentration (P < 0.004) and there was a trend for plasma testosterone (T) levels to be increased. The ratio of E2/T increased significantly. However, there was no perturbation in plasma lipids. Furthermore, the effect of boron on steroidogenesis and its mechanism was also investigated in two more studies conducted on adult male rats. The elevation of endogenous steroid hormones as a result of boron supplementation suggest that boron may be used as an ergogenic safe substance for athletes which should be further investigated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Boron* / administration & dosage
  • Boron* / physiology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Doping in Sports
  • Hormones / biosynthesis*
  • Hormones / blood
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Rats
  • Sports*


  • Hormones
  • Boron