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Boron Seems to Cut Prostate-Cancer Risk

But many Americans don't get enough of this mineral

Are you getting enough boron in your diet?

Most people who pop vitamins and mineral supplements for health purposes may not even know that the body needs small amounts of boron. Getting too little could be a problem, especially for men.

Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles recently discovered that men who consume the lowest amounts of boron in their diets have the highest rates of prostate cancer. Studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture also suggest that boron helps preserve bone mass in women after menopause.

Sources of Boron
FoodAmount*
Avocado (5 oz.)3.0
Kidney beans (5 oz.)2.0
Peanuts (2 oz.)1.0
Almonds (2 oz.)1.0
Prunes ( 2 oz.) 1.0
Chick peas (2 oz.)0.4
*Amounts in milligrams
Source: Bookman Press, Melbourne, Australia
Using data from the mammoth National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the UCLA researchers found that boron's cancer-fighting effects seem to be specific for prostate cancer. Science News reports that men whose diets had the most boron -- at least 1.8 milligrams a day -- had less than one-third as many prostate cancers as men who ate less than 0.9 milligrams daily.

As minerals go, boron is abundantly common. However, Americans in particular seem to eat few foods that provide even the small amounts needed for health.

Large amounts of boron can be toxic, so health officials advise against taking boron supplements. The best and safest sources come from plants such as green leafy vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, wine, beer and cider, and non-citrus fruits, including grapes, raisins and apples. No boron requirement or allowance has been set for humans but nutritionists say that 1 to 3 milligrams of boron daily is healthful and safe for most adults.

The American Society for Nutritional Sciences has additional information on boron's role in human health.

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