Dietary boron decreases peak pancreatic in situ insulin release in chicks and plasma insulin concentrations in rats regardless of vitamin D or magnesium status

J Nutr. 2003 Nov;133(11):3577-83. doi: 10.1093/jn/133.11.3577.


Because dietary boron deprivation induces hyperinsulinemia in vitamin D-deprived rats, the influence of dietary boron on insulin metabolism as modified by nutritional stressors was examined in two animal models. Male weanling Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to each of four (Experiment 1) or 8 (Experiment 2) dietary groups for 35 d: the basal diet (< 0.2 mg B; <1.0 mg Mg/kg) was supplemented with boron (as orthoboric acid) to contain <0.2 or 2.0 (a physiologic amount) mg B/kg; with magnesium (as magnesium acetate), at 100 (inadequate) or 360-400 (adequate) mg/kg; and with cholecalciferol [vitamin D-3; 25 microg/kg for study length (Experiment 2), or, depleted for 16-17 d then repleted until end of experiment (Experiments 1 and 2)]. In the rat model, boron reduced plasma insulin (Experiment 1, P < 0.002; Experiment 2, P < 0.03), but did not change glucose concentrations regardless of vitamin D-3 or magnesium status. Cockerels (1 d old) were fed a ground corn, high protein casein and corn oil-based basal diet (low boron; 0.3 mg B/kg) supplemented with boron as orthoboric acid to contain 0.3 or 1.65 mg/kg (a physiologic amount) and vitamin D-3 at 3.13 (inadequate) or 15.60 (adequate) microg/kg. In the chick model, boron decreased (P < 0.045) in situ peak pancreatic insulin release at 26-37 d of age regardless of vitamin D-3 nutriture. These results suggest that physiologic amounts of boron may help reduce the amount of insulin required to maintain plasma glucose.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Boron / administration & dosage
  • Boron / pharmacology*
  • Chickens
  • Diet
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Islets of Langerhans / drug effects
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism*
  • Magnesium / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology


  • Insulin
  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Boron