Health Benefits of Borax:

Normalizing Calcium-Magnesium Metabolism

for Bone Health and More

I am not a doctor and am not qualified to advise you on your specific health situation.

The information on this and related pages is a paraphrase of Walter Last's The Borax Conspiracy (although I've added a few notes of my own). I’ve also saved his article as a WebArchive file, in the event his article is lost: borax_WalterLast.webarchive.

Cat’s introduction to the topic of bone health

  1. Arthritis, osteoporosis and atheroslcerosis (hardening arteries) are closely related disorders, in that all involve deposits of calcium accumulating in the wrong places. and boron plays a significant role in all three.

  2. The problem created by synthetic fertilizers

  3. To me, it is not surprising that all three of these disorders are happening with more frequency, and to younger people, than in times prior to WWII. What is significant about WWII? The process to ‘fix’ nitrogen (convert the gas to ammonia) was invented to produce explosives used in bombs. After the war, the companies that did that conversion needed another outlet for their product, and they found it in synthetic fertilizers. They bought up small farms to create the large corporate farms we know today; these large farms then used the synthetic fertilizers that the small family farms were reluctant to use.

  4. And with the extensive use of synthetic fertilizers, our soils became depleted of essential minerals that were previously made in a useable form by the organisms that thrive in rich soils. Instead, the minerals included in the synthetic fertilizers were simply washed away into ground water and streams, rather than staying in the soil. Boron is one of those minerals that has been lost.

  5. You can augment your garden soil with borax, so that your plants (and ultimately you) will be more rich in boron content. However, your plants will suffer if you use too much (borax is also known as a weed-killer, and any plant can be a weed). See Cats Garden: Soil Augmentation for more.

  6. Factors affecting bone health

  7. It seems science discovers a new factor every few years, so I’m sure there are more yet to be discovered. So far we know the following:

  8. Several macro-minerals, (those which are in greatest abundance in the body and are needed in significant amounts in our diet) play key roles: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium. See below for more on the role these play.

  9. Many trace minerals (these are usually needed at dietary levels less than 100 mg, day) are also important, either directly or indirectly (by influencing the effect of other minerals). In fact, it is my belief that all the minerals found naturally in sea water (not contaminated seas) have benefit for our bones and other tissues.

  10. Zinc plays a role in bone growth, and inhibits bone loss. (see Zinc and bone loss, and Livestrong: Zinc & Bone Loss.

  11. Copper also plays a role in bone density by affecting the balance of osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) and osteoclasts (bone-removing cells). (see Health Benefits of Copper). One should bear in mind that zinc and copper need to be maintained in proper balance of 10:1 (zinc to copper).

  12. Boron affects bone and joint health by influencing the parathyroid glands and the parathyroid hormone (PTH) produced there. It is needed for the body to use calcium and magnesium properly. This mineral is the focus of this series of articles.

  13. Nickel, selenium, silica, vanadium and other trace minerals also play roles that are not yet fully understood. (see Alge-Cal: Health Benefits of Trace Minerals)

  14. The hormones PTH (from the parathyroid glands) and calcitonin(from thyroid) direct the dissolution and resorption of calcium from/to bone tissue, respectively; these glands in turn are controlled by other hormones from the brain and pituitary gland  The sex hormones testosterone and estrogen also play significant roles in bone health. See Bone Development & Structure for lots more.

  15. Vitamins D and K. the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone also play a significant role.

  16. Exercise - especially weight-bearing exercise is also important.

See my article Introduction to Bone Health for more on this general topic.

Boron and arthritis: The Research of Dr. Rex Newman

  1. As mentioned in Boron: Introduction & Overview of Benefits, the introduction to this series of articles, boron is essential for healthy bone and joint function. It works by regulating the absorption and metabolism of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus through its influence on the parathyroid glands. These glands cannot function properly without adequate boron, just as the thyroids cannot function properly without adequate iodine. More on this below (see Cal-Mag Metabolism). but first, a review of the pioneering work of an Australian scientist.

  2. The following is from Walter Last's The Borax Conspiracy.

  3. Dr Newman’s arthritis

  4. In the 1960s, Dr. Rex Newman, an Australian soil and plant scientist, looked to the chemistry of plants for help in treating his osteo-arthritis. Boron aids calcium metabolism in plants, so he postulated it would also help in humans, and decided to try it. Because boron deficiencies in plants are treated by adding borax as a soil amendment, he started his treatment with 30 mg borax daily. After 3 weeks ALL of his arthritis symptoms (pain, stiffness) were gone.

  5. His efforts to get the attention of the medical and pharmaceutical community to recognize the value of his treatment went nowhere, and indeed placed roadblocks in his path. He was fined by the Australian government for selling ‘‘poison.’ He tells his story on the website WHALE (WL-2).

  6. Double-blind study

  7. He published several scientific papers on treatment of arthritis with borax, including a double-blind trial which showed (WL-3):

  8. 70% of those who completed the trial were greatly improved;

  9. Only 12% improved when on placebo.

  10. No negative side effects

  11. Some reported their heart ailment had also improved

  12. There was better general health and less tiredness.

  13. Relationship between low soil levels of boron, and arthritis

  14. He continued to study the relationship between low boron levels in the soil, and arthritis in humans. Areas with long-term use of chemical fertilizers have extremely low boron levels in the soil, and the local people have high levels of arthritis. Walter cites the example of Jamaica and the sugar cane industry with long-term use of chemical fertilizers. The soil has the lowest level of boron in the soil (of places he studied) and 70% of its people suffer from arthritis. Mauritus is another example with very low levels of boron, and 50% arthritis in its population. The daily intake of dietary boron in these countries is less than 1 mg/day - extremely low.

  15. In the US, we have an average boron intake of 1 - 2 mg/day, with arthritis levels above 20% of our population. By contrast, areas like Carnarvon in western Australia have high soil levels of boron and arthritis rate of only 1%. Clearly, Dr. Newman was on to something.

  16. Bone & joint studies

  17. These show that osteo-arthritic joints and nearby bones had only half the content of boron content of healthy joints. Similarly, the synovial fluid (that lubricates the joints and provides nutrients to the cartilage) is boron deficient in arthritic joints. After boron supplementation, the bones were much harder (and surgeons found them difficult to saw through - why were they sawing them?).

  18. Bone fractures healed faster (half the time) when human and animal patients were treated with boron.

  19. He found that boron treatment was also effective against Rheumatoid  Arthritis, Juvenile Arthritis, and Lupus.

  20. Boron treatment used in studies

  21. Boron treatment in these studies consisted of three tablets each containing 3 mg boron, daily, or total of 9 mg boron. (Cat’s note: I believe the form of boron used in these treatments was Dr. Newman’s borax tablets). Treatment typically takes 1 - 3 months for pain, welling and stiffness to disappear in the affected joints. At that point, the dosage can be reduced to 1 tablet (3 mg boron) per day as a maintenance dose.

  22. If a patient experiences a Herxheimer reaction, this is a positive, healing sign; Dr Newman recommends persevering another 2 - 3 weeks when the pain, swelling and stiffness will be gone. (The Herxheimer reaction is commonly associated with candida and mycoplasma die-off; see my article: Borax as a Supplement under ‘Side Effects’ for more on this. See also The Healing Crisis, or Herxheimer Reaction).

  23. For cofactors in arthritis treatment, Walter refers the reader to his articles:

  24. Arthritis and Rheumatism

  25. Overcoming Arthritis (available as an e-book, for a fee)

Boron and Osteoporosis

  1. As mentioned in Boron: Introduction & Overview of Benefits, the introduction to this series of articles: Boron is essential for redistributing calcium deposits from soft tissues to bone and teeth (when adequate magnesium is present), thus reversing osteoarthritis and hardened arteries. It also has a role in converting vitamin D to its active form. This in turn increases calcium uptake and deposition into bones and teeth (as opposed to calcification of soft tissues).

  2. The following is from Walter Last's The Borax Conspiracy

  3. Osteoporosis and Sex Hormones

  4. When functioning properly, bone tissue is broken down and rebuilt every day. The old, tired tissue is broken down, releasing or resorbing calcium and magnesium into the blood, and new tissue is built to replace it, taking up or adsorbing these minerals from the blood. However, other problems besides aging tissue can cause resorption, such as when needed to break down proteins during digestion. Once that digestion is complete, the bone tissue adsorbs the minerals.

  5. Health problems and nutrient deficiencies, too, can cause resorption. When this happens, there is too much calcium and magnesium in the blood. The blood tightly controls the levels of these (and other) minerals within a very narrow range, so it sends it to the kidneys for excretion in the urine, or it deposits it in soft tissue like joints, causing arthritis (see above) and arteries, causing atherosclerois (hardened arteries). And the depletion of calcium from the bones and teeth can lead to osteoporosis.

  6. [Cat’s comment: Most people believe osteoporosis is not reversible so the best defense it to take more calcium (or drugs that interfere with normal adsorption/resorption in a desperate attempt to keep resorption from happening). However, osteoporosis can be reversed if the real cause of the depletion is addressed].

  7. And this is where boron comes into play. Supplemental boron can reverse daily loss of calcium by 50%! That is significant

It has been estimated that 55% of Americans over 50 have osteoporosis and of these about 80% are women. Worldwide 1 in 3 women and 1 in 12 men over the age of 50 may have osteoporosis, and this is responsible for millions of fractures each year. Rats with osteoporosis were given a boron supplement for 30 days with the result that their bone quality was now comparable with that of the healthy control group and of a group supplemented with oestradiol (6).

The beneficial effect of borax on bones seems to be due to two interrelated effects: a higher boron content of the bones which makes them harder, and a normalisation of sex hormones which stimulates the growth of new bone. Low oestrogen levels after menopause are thought to be the main reason why so many older women develop osteoporosis. In men testosterone levels decline more gradually which seems to be reflected in their later onset of osteoporosis as a group.



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Walter Last’s References from his original article on Boron

  1. WL-1

  2. WL-2

  3. WL-3

  4. WL-4

  5. WL-5 and Arthritis.pdf

  6. WL-6

  7. WL-7

  8. WL-8

  9. WL-9

  10. WL-10

  11. WL-11

  12. WL-12

  13. WL-13

  14. WL-14

  15. WL-15

  16. WL-16

  17. WL-17 http:/

  18. WL-18

  19. WL-19

  20. WL-20!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2005-0062-0004

  21. WL-21

  22. WL-22

  23. WL-23

  24. WL-24

return to Diet Menu  or Health Essays Menu

  1. Return to Boron: Introduction & Overview of Benefits

  2. Boron & Arthritis: The research of Dr. Rex Newman

  3. Double-blind study

  4. Relationship: low soil levels of boron and arthritis

  5. Bone & joint studies

  6. Boron & Osteoporosis

  7. x

  8. Cal-Mag Metabolism

  9. Health Benefits (separate articles under construction)

  10. Borax as a Supplement (includes how to prepare, dosage, side effects and toxicity concerns)

  11. Borax and Sex Hormones (includes discussion of osteoporosis, post-menopausal low estrogen, breast cancer and prostrate health)

  12. Borax and Fluoride or Heavy Metal Toxicity

  13. Borax and Politics

  14. See also (this site)

  15. Introduction to Bone Health

by Catherine M. Haug,  July 2012

Photo from Amazon