Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Grand Forks, North Dakota » Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center » Dietary Prevention of Obesity-related Disease Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #121336


item Nielsen, Forrest - Frosty

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2001
Publication Date: 7/23/2001
Citation: Nielsen, F.H. 2001. The nutritional importance of boron throughout the life cycle of higher animals and humans. Boron 2001 Book of Abstracts. p.33. Bonn, Germany, July 24, 2001.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Research findings continue to come forth to support the contention boron is of nutritional importance. These findings indicate that boron is needed or beneficial throughout the life cycle. Findings showing that boron is needed in the early stages of life have come from studies of reproduction and embryo development using the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, and the zebrafish. In the Xenopus model, dietary boron deprivation induced a marked increase in necrotic eggs and a high frequency of abnormal gastrulation. In the zebrafish model, during the early post-fertilization period, 45% of boron-deprived embryos died, whereas only 2% of boron- supplemented embryos died. A high rate of death occurred during the zygote and cleavage periods before the formation of a blastula. Two morphologic events preceded death; these were membrane blebbing and an extrusion of cytoplasm. Boron has been shown to affect embryogenesis, growth and development in mammals best when a nutritional stressor is present. In humans, dietary boron alters the plasma or serum concentrations of several hormones. Assessments in both animals and humans have found that boron deprivation results in decreased brain electrical activity similar to that observed in non-specific malnutrition. Boron deprivation also results in poorer performance in tasks of motor speed and dexterity, attention, and short-term memory in humans. There is reluctance to provide dietary guidance for boron because it does not have a defined biochemical function which can help indicate status. Many findings support the concept that boron has a role at the cell membrane level that affects the action or metabolism of other nutrients or hormones.