When you pass by the nutrition section at the local grocery store, there is a chance you’ll come across row upon row of vitamins. If you happen to glance at the multivitamin ingredients, you will see many long vitamin names that you are sure must do something. One of those names is boron, which recent research says may have some heart benefits.
In a new study out of The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, a team of scientists ran an investigation into boron’s effect on something called myocardial fibrosis. Myocardial fibrosis is when your body seeks to heal an injury in the heart but often ends up making things worse. The body’s priority is strengthening the area, which the body does by adding connective tissue. Unfortunately, this tissue stiffens the wall of the heart, making every beat harder. Untreated myocardial fibrosis often leads to heart failure.
Unfortunately, myocardial fibrosis is inherent in many cardiovascular diseases, making its treatment critical for the future of cardiovascular medicine. The team thought to use boron as a treatment for fibrosis as it has been associated with wound healing in some studies. Boron has also been shown to affect the initial immune response involved in healing damaged tissue, which is also a topic of interest. Other studies have shown this could improve recovery and reduce scarring. To test boron’s effect on myocardial fibrosis, the team set up a rat model and followed the animals’ heart health using echocardiography and Doppler imaging. After simulating a heart attack to induce myocardial fibrosis, the team treated one group with boron and the other with a control saline solution.
Surprisingly, boron seemed to improve the heart health post-heart attack quite well. Boron treated animals had improved heart health in almost every test. Boron treatment managed to reduce the accumulation of connective tissue in the damaged area, promote cardiomyocyte (heart muscle cells) growth, and prevent cardiomyocyte death.
With no approved treatment on the market, myocardial fibrosis is a danger to cardiovascular disease patients everywhere. In this study, boron treatment improved wound healing in the heart after a heart attack in a rat model while suppressing myocardial fibrosis. The exact mechanisms behind the effect seen in this study are unknown, but I am sure we are all interested in finding out.
The study concludes, “In conclusion, myocardial fibrosis is a major pathophysiological mechanism in heart failure where existing therapies are insufficient. Nearly every form of the heart disease is associated with myocardial fibrosis. In this study, we have reported an inhibitory role of boron on myocardial fibrosis and to promote regeneration and repair.”