The justification for providing dietary guidance for the nutritional intake of boron
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- Nielsen, F.H. Biol Trace Elem Res (1998) 66: 319. doi:10.1007/BF02783145
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Because a biochemical function has not been defined for boron (B), its nutritional essentiality has not been firmly established. Nonetheless, dietary guidance should be formulated for B, because it has demonstrated beneficial, if not essential, effects in both animals and humans. Intakes of B commonly found with diets abundant in fruits, vegetables, legumes, pulses, and nuts have effects construed to be beneficial in macromineral, energy, nitrogen, and reactive oxygen metabolism, in addition to enhancing the response to estrogen therapy and improving psychomotor skills and cognitive processes of attention and memory. Perhaps the best-documented beneficial effect of B is on calcium (Ca) metabolism or utilization, and thus, bone calcification and maintenance. The paradigm emerging for the provision of dietary guidance that includes consideration of the total health effects of a nutrient, not just the prevention of a deficiency disease, has resulted in dietary guidance for chromium (Cr) and fluoride; both of these elements have beneficial effects in humans, but neither has a defined biochemical function. Knowledge of B nutritional effects in humans equals or is superior to that of Cr and fluoride; thus, establishing a dietary reference intake for B is justified. An analysis of both human and animal data suggests that an acceptable safe range of population mean intakes of B for adults could well be 1–13 mg/d. Recent findings indicate that a significant number of people do not consistently consume more than 1 mg B/d; this suggests that B could be a practical nutritional or clinical concern.