Bio-identical hormones have changed the health of millions in an amazing way. They have given people their lives back. They have even saved marriages. One patient at our clinic told us the hormones “gave me my wife back” after she had all but checked out of life. She was depressed, had zero energy, and didn’t want to do anything with her husband. She felt terrible until she started taking the hormones.
Bio-identical hormones are truly a miracle treatment for some people. But what if I told you it’s possible you don’t really need hormone replacement? What if, instead, you simply needed to take a tiny mineral to rebalance your hormones? Here’s how to know which treatment you need.
In natural medicine, we’re always looking for the cause of a disease, a syndrome, or a condition. So when hormones are out of balance, we have to ask why. What caused the imbalance in your hormones? There are a lot of reasons hormones can get out of balance. The cause can be trauma, stress, diet, a yeast infection, toxins, or any medical condition that impacts or involves the endocrine system or glands.
Some of these causes are treatable and some are not. For instance, if you’ve had trauma that’s causing the hormone issue, and the damage is irreversible, then you can’t really treat the cause. You have to give hormones.
If the cause is menopause, you can’t stop a natural process from occurring, so prescribing hormones can really help.
But if the cause is treatable, then you need to treat the cause, rather than simply taking hormones. For example, if you have a yeast infection that’s throwing your hormones out of balance, you need to treat the yeast infection. Candida is one such infection.
It can produce a waste product that mimics your hormones. This tricks your body into thinking it has produced adequate levels, which causes your body to produce less hormones.
Once you’ve treated the cause, the body will often repair itself and restore your hormones to balance. When you treat Candida, and detox, the body usually sees the need for more hormones and increases production. If it doesn’t, then taking hormones might be necessary.
The same is true of your diet. There are many dietary issues that can cause your hormones to fall out of balance. Deficiencies in vitamins D, B6, E, and Niacin (B3) all can lead to hormone imbalances. So can deficiencies in minerals like magnesium and zinc. Taking a multivitamin can often correct these deficiencies and restore hormone levels. But there’s one mineral deficiency that, when corrected, can significantly boost your hormones. And most multivitamins don’t contain enough of it to affect your hormone levels.
This mineral can increase your natural production of vitamin D, boosting your immunity. It can also increase your cortisol, helping you deal with stress better. It works so well, in fact, that many people will see a big jump in their sex hormones, including testosterone.
The Key Is Free Testosterone
As you may know, 98% of the testosterone in a man’s body is stuck in his sex organs. The reason it stays there is because it is bound to another hormone called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). It keeps the testosterone there to facilitate reproduction. That’s its main purpose.
The other 2% of your testosterone is not bound up by SHBG and is floating in your bloodstream throughout your body. This testosterone is the one you really need to tap into to get the results from testosterone you want. This “free testosterone,” as it’s called, begins to decline as you age, and your levels of SHBG goes up. So boosting free testosterone is really what you want to do.
And boron can do just that.
Boron is the trace mineral that I told you about last week. It’s a fabulous mineral for fighting arthritis. But we’ve only started to find out what else it can do. However, we are seeing a lot of evidence that it does a great job of boosting hormone levels.
Many conventional experts will tell you that boron isn’t an essential dietary mineral and doesn’t have enough research behind it to really put much stock in it.
It’s true that boron is relatively under-researched, but that’s beginning to change. In early research, the results were mixed. That’s because the dosages used were too low to have an effect on testosterone levels. One of those studies used 2.5 mg daily on weight lifters. They didn’t see any change in their free testosterone levels. I explained last week that you need to take at least 5 mg daily in order to see any benefit for arthritis. The same is true of boosting your hormones. In fact, the newest studies suggest you may need to take 8-12 mg daily to see a real benefit.
The Proof That Boron Is Essential for Boosting Hormone Levels
The evidence that boron can raise your hormone levels comes from three human studies. In the first, researchers wanted to see if boron had any effect on the steroid hormones and some inflammatory biomarkers of eight healthy men. The researchers tested the participants’ blood at the beginning of the study, the next day, and after seven days.
On the first day, the researchers took a blood sample at 8:00 in the morning and then gave them a placebo with their breakfast.
On the second day, they did the same thing. But this time, they gave them a capsule containing 10 mg of boron.
On both occasions the researchers collected blood samples every two hours for the next six hours. This would tell them how quickly the boron acted on the body. With the blood samples, they measured SHBG, high sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP), TNF-α, testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, cortisol, vitamin D, and estradiol. Remember, SHBG is the protein that binds and deactivates testosterone. So when it’s high it has an anti-testosterone effect. The hsCRP and TNF-α are markers of inflammation. They go up as inflammation increases. Cortisol is an anti-inflammatory hormone. It acts to decrease inflammation. Dihydrotestosterone is the strongest form of testosterone.
Finally, the researchers had the men take 10 mg of boron every day with their breakfast. On day seven, they collected another blood sample at 8:00 in the morning. Here’s what they found:
According to the authors, they found, “a significant decrease in SHBG, hsCRP, and TNF-α. And, after one week, the mean plasma free testosterone increased and the mean plasma estradiol decreased significantly. The dihydrotestosterone, cortisol, and vitamin D were elevated.” In this study, the free testosterone increased by 28%.
This is amazing! After just one week of boron therapy, every single marker of inflammation went down. And it increased the hormone cortisol that reduces inflammation. This explains why boron helps fight arthritis.
The boron also increased the hormones vitamin D (remember, this is more of a hormone than a vitamin), testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and free testosterone. And it decreased SHBG. These results could explain why men are more likely to have arthritis of the knees than women. It’s because of the male hormone balance.
Another study showed that the dose is important. This study gave healthy men just 6 mg of boron daily. They found that this dose was enough to work, but not as well as the 10 mg dose. But they still saw a significant increase in free testosterone, which rose from an average of 11.83 pg/mL to 15.18 pg/mL. That’s about a 22% increase in free testosterone.
They also saw a decrease in all of the inflammatory biomarkers that were measured. This included interleukin 6 (from 1.55 pg/mL to 0.87 pg/mL), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) by approximately 50% from 1460 ng/mL to 795 ng/mL (this is a remarkable decrease!), and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) by approximately 30%, from 12.32 to 9.97 pg/mL. Levels of dihydrotestosterone, cortisol, and vitamin D increased slightly.
Interestingly, one study found that the 6 mg dose increased free testosterone by 29% after 60 days. So taking a lower dose can have similar effects to a higher dose, but it might take longer to get there.
Boron Isn’t Just for Men
With that said, boron works to balance hormones in men AND women. In fact, it can boost the sex hormones of both men and women.
Back in 1987, one study found that giving boron to postmenopausal women who were previously on a low-boron diet, significantly increased their serum estradiol and testosterone levels. They found that it worked particularly well for those women whose dietary intake of magnesium was low.
In women on a low-magnesium diet, their estradiol almost doubled, increasing from an average of 21.1 pg/mL to 41.4 pg/mL. Their testosterone levels more than doubled, rising from an average of 0.31 ng/mL to 0.83 ng/mL. And women who ate adequate levels of magnesium saw similar increases: their estradiol rose from an average of 15.5 pg/mL to 38.0 pg/mL, and testosterone increased from 0.38 ng/mL to 0.65 ng/mL.
How Much and What Type of Boron Should You Take?
If you’re wanting to boost your hormone levels, but you’re not wanting to resort to bio-identical hormone replacement yet, give boron a try. Not only can it help rebalance your hormones, it can decrease your arthritis pain at the same time.
As I told you last week, the most bioavailable form of boron doesn’t actually look like boron, but it is. It’s called calcium fructoborate. This is a blend of boron, calcium, and fructose. Other forms of boron will work, but your body can absorb calcium fructoborate much better. And this form is much safer than Borax, which I mentioned last week. Borax can cause significant side effects and even death if taken in high enough doses. You’d have to take an awful lot to see those effects, but there’s no reason to even go there since calcium fructoborate is so much better.
When you look at labels of products containing calcium fructoborate, you might get confused by the dosage. Some products will list the dose as the complete form of calcium fructoborate, so it’s much higher (usually 120-240 mg). That’s because calcium fructoborate contains more than boron. Other products will list only the boron dose, which will be in the 3-6 mg range. Either listing is accurate, but it can be confusing. Here’s how you can know how much boron you’re getting when they list the higher dose: A 120 mg dose of calcium fructoborate has about 3 mg of elemental boron in it. So if you’re seeing a label with 240 mg of calcium fructoborate, it will contain 6 mg of boron. As you can tell by the studies I’ve discussed, the best dose is around 10 mg (give or take a couple of mg depending on your weight). So you may need to take more than the serving size to see the best results.