What Is Boron?

Can Boron Capsules Treat a Yeast Infection?

Boron capsules, peanuts, apples, raisins, and avocado

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Boron is a mineral found in foods such as nuts and in the environment. Boron is sometimes also taken in supplement form to boost athletic performance and improve thinking or coordination. Some women use boron to treat yeast infections. Not all of these uses are supported by scientific evidence.

What Is Boron Used For?

Research suggests that boron is involved in vitamin D and estrogen metabolism and may influence cognitive function. In alternative medicine, boron supplements are sometimes said to help with bone mineral density and prevent and/or treat the following health problems:

  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriasis

In addition, boron supplements are purported to boost sports performance by raising testosterone levels and reduce inflammation.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is not yet enough scientific evidence to support most of the claims for the health benefits of taking boron supplements.

Boron for Yeast Infections

One of the more popular uses of boron is for the treatment of vaginal yeast infections. Some women use boric acid capsules inside the vagina because they believe that boron can make the vagina more acidic.

Boric acid is a form of boron. It is sometimes said to help with recurrent vaginal yeast infections when used as a vaginal suppository. Boric acid should never be ingested.

In a 2003 research review from Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, for instance, investigators analyzed a number of studies on the use of various types of complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of yeast infections. They found that boric acid appears to be beneficial for women with recurrent yeast infections that are resistant to conventional therapies, but caution that boric acid may cause vaginal burning and other side effects in some instances.

In a more recent research review published in the Journal of Women's Health in 2011, the researchers concluded that "boric acid is a safe, alternative, economic option" for women with recurrent yeast infections. However, boric acid can be absorbed through the skin, and a safe dosage hasn't been established.

So, while there has been some research linking the use of boron supplements to treat candidiasis (yeast infections), much of the research is dated and the quality of the research has been called into question so this benefit cannot be confirmed.

Possible Side Effects

Consuming boron in excess can cause nausea, vomiting, indigestion, headache, and diarrhea. At higher doses, skin flushing, convulsions, tremors, vascular collapse, and even fatal poisonings at 5-6 grams in infants and 15-20 grams in adults have been reported. 

The NIH cautions that boron supplements (or high dietary intake of boron) may be harmful to people with hormone-sensitive conditions, including breast cancer, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. The concern is that boron may increase the levels of hormones such as estrogen and testosterone in certain individuals.

In addition, boron is eliminated primarily through the kidneys, so it should be avoided by people with kidney disease or problems with kidney function.

Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children should never take boron or use boric acid in any form, including suppositories, topical boric acid powder, or a borax solution to clean infant pacifiers. 

If you're considering the use of boron, make sure to consult your healthcare provider first. It's important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Boron capsules
Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Dosage and Preparation

Boron is found in many foods including avocado, red apples, peanuts, raisins, prunes, pecans, potatoes, and peaches. While trace amounts of boron are thought to be important for several metabolic functions, no Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) has been established. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for boron (defined as the maximum dose at which no harmful effects would be expected) is 20 mg per day for adults and pregnant or breastfeeding women over 19 years of age.

Although there's some evidence that vaginal use of boric acid suppositories has potential in the treatment of vaginal yeast infections, given the lack of scientific support, the ubiquity of boron in food and water, and the safety concerns with excessive intake, an oral boron supplement is probably one to skip. If you're considering using boron in any form, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider first to weigh the pros and cons. 

What to Look For

Available for purchase online, boron supplements are sold in many natural-food stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements.

Keep in mind that If you choose to buy a supplement such as boron, the NIH recommends that you examine the Supplement Facts label on the product that you buy. This label will contain important information including the amount of active ingredients per serving, and other added ingredients (like fillers, binders, and flavorings).

Also, the organization suggests that you look for a product that contains a seal of approval from a third-party organization that provides quality testing. These organizations include U.S. Pharmacopeia, ConsumerLab.com, and NSF International. A seal of approval from one of these organizations does not guarantee the product's safety or effectiveness but it does provide assurance that the product was properly manufactured, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you take boric acid while pregnant?

    It is not considered safe to take boric acid or boron supplements while pregnant. One study showed that elevated levels of boron may be toxic to human development, and while more research still needs to be done, it's better to be safe than sorry.

  • Is boron good for arthritis?

    Boron is believed to be good for arthritis when taken in appropriate amounts. One study concluded that taking at least three milligrams per day of boron offers anti-inflammatory effects which can help with osteoarthritis. It is also shown to have a positive impact on the body's usage of testosterone, estrogen, and vitamin D.

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4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Pizzorno L. Nothing Boring About BoronIntegr Med (Encinitas). 2015;14(4):35-48. PMID:26770156

  2. Boron: MedlinePlus Supplements. MedlinePlus.

  3. Nielsen FH, Meacham SL. Growing Evidence for Human Health Benefits of BoronJournal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 2011;16(3):169-180. doi:10.1177/2156587211407638

  4. Malin Igra A, Harari F, Lu Y, Casimiro E, Vahter M. Boron exposure through drinking water during pregnancy and birth size. Environment International. 2016;95:54-60. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2016.07.017

Additional Reading
  • National Institutes of Health. Boron: MedlinePlus Supplements.

  • Nielsen FH. Is Boron Nutritionally Relevant? Nutr Rev. 2008 Apr;66(4):183-91.

  • Penland JG. The Importance of Boron Nutrition for Brain and Psychological Function. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1998 Winter;66(1-3):299-317.

  • Sobel, J. D., Chaim, W., Nagappan, V., & Leaman, D. (2003). Treatment of vaginitis caused by Candida glabrata: use of topical boric acid and flucytosine. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 189(5), 1297–1300. doi:10.1067/s0002-9378(03)00726-9

  • Van Kessel K, Assefi N, Marrazzo J, Eckert L. Common Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Yeast Vaginitis and Bacterial Vaginosis: a Systematic Review. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2003 May;58(5):351-8.

  • Devirian TA, Volpe SL. "The Physiological Effects of Dietary Boron." Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2003;43(2):219-31.
  • Iavazzo C, Gkegkes ID, Zarkada IM, Falagas ME. "Boric Acid for Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis: the Clinical Evidence." J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011 Aug;20(8):1245-55.