Saturday, October 3, 2009

Strontium – For Strong Bones and More

In August I sent a newsletter about strong bones and made several suggestions. I have an important addition to make to my previous recommendations: Strontium

Strontium is a key component of our bone and connective tissues. If you look at the periodic table of elements you will notice that strontium is in the same row as calcium. What makes strontium unique is that it has the ability to actually increase the density of bone and connective tissue and help make it both stronger and healthier.

Strontium reversing Osteoporosis

1959 the Mayo Clinic gave 1.7 grams of strontium per day as strontium lactate to 32 with osteoporosis. The results showed 84% had less bone pain. There were no significant side effects bone mass appeared to increase (measuring tools were less precise then).

1985 McGill University in Montreal conducted a very small study with just 3 people. I mention this study because it was unique in that bone biopsies were actually done to directly measure the bone density both before and after 6 months of treatment with strontium. After 600 to 700 mg/day of strontium given as strontium carbonate there was a 172% increase in bone formation and less pain.

In 2002, the results of a large multi-center trial known as the STRATOS Trial (this stood for the “Strontium Ranelate for Treatment of Osteoporosis trial) showed that strontium given to 353 osteoporotic women with at least one previous vertebral fracture increased bone density. Strontium was given as strontium ranelate in the dose of 500 mg, 1000 mg or 2000 mg per day for 2 yr which provided 170, 340 or 680 mg of elemental strontium respectively per day. The lumbar bone density increased in a dose-dependent manner. Those who took the 680 mg/day of elemental strontium (2000 mg of strontium ranelate) appeared to have the best combination of efficacy and safety.

2004 - New England Journal of Medicine: 1649 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and at least one vertebral fracture to receive 2 g of oral strontium ranelate per day (total of 680 mg of elemental Strontium) or placebo for three years. Strontium increased bone mineral density at by 14.4 percent at the lumbar spine and 8.3 percent at the femoral neck. Fracture risk was reduced a whopping 41%. The authors concluded that: “Treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis with strontium ranelate leads to early and sustained reductions in the risk of vertebral fractures.”

2005 Another large multi-center trial result was released in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Vol. 90, No. 5 2816-2822 This study was a double blind study looking at 5091 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis for 5 years. Fracture rate again decreased 39-45%. Conclusion: “This study shows that strontium ranelate significantly reduces the risk of all nonvertebral and in a high-risk subgroup, hip fractures over a 3-yr period, and is well tolerated. It confirms that strontium ranelate reduces vertebral fractures. Strontium ranelate offers a safe and effective means of reducing the risk of fracture associated with osteoporosis.

Strontium and Cavities

Epidemiologic studies have shown that strontium concentrations of 6 to 10 mg/liter in the water supply are associated with a reduced incidence of cavities. Animal studies show that adding these levels of strontium reduced cavities.

Strontium and Arthritis

A study of the cartilage-forming cells known as found that strontium strongly promoted cartilage growth in-vitro (test tube like conditions). Hopefully we will see larger studies done one the benefits of strontium in osteoarthritis.

Bottom line

Strontium dosed at 680 mg of elemental strontium a day is a safe and effective way to prevent and reverse osteoporosis. While the largest and most recent studies used strontium ranelate, we have earlier studies which show that other strontium salts are effective including strontium carbonate, strontium lactate, and strontium gluconate. In other words, the key ingredient is strontium.

Strontium has also resulted in less bone pain in those with vertebral fractures and may be useful in reversing the pain and joint damage in osteoarthritis. Studies also suggest strontium helps prevent cavities.

Strontium is best absorbed on an empty stomach and when taken alone without other minerals. Calcium can block strontium absorption. Calcium may be taken at another time of day .

My updated recommendations for strong bones are to:


· Soda/soft drinks (the acid in them weakens bone)

· Smoking

· Excessive caffeine

· Excessive grain intake

· Milk? There is actually an inverse relationship between how much a society drinks milk and bone density


· Optimize Vitamin D

· Daily eat 5-9 Servings of Fruit and Vegetables, drink Vegetable Juice, take Fruit/Vegetable capsules ( to order)

· Eat green leafy vegetables like spinach and collard greens

· Optimize Hormones: DHEA, Progesterone, Estrogen and Testosterone

· Exercise – weight bearing exercise

· Get natural sunlight

· Supplemental calcium, magnesium

· Vitamin K2 (about 100 mcg a day)

· Strontium 680 mg a day

One product with strontium is the NSI Strontium at At our wellness center, Physicians Preference is currently formulating a bone formula which will contain strontium.


Reginster JY, Deroisy R, Dougados M, et al. Prevention of early postmenopausal bone loss by strontium ranelate: the randomized, two-year, double-masked, dose ranging, placebo-controlled PREVOS trial. Osteoporosis Int 2002; 13:925-31

Pierre J. Meunier, et. Al. The Effects of Strontium Ranelate on the Risk of Vertebral Fracture in Women with Postmenopausal Osteoporosis. New England Journal of Medicine Volume 350:459-468 January 29, 2004 Number 5

Meunier, P.J., Slosman, D.O., Delmas, P.D., Sebert, J.L., Brandi, M.L., Albanese, C., Lorenc, R., Pors-Nielsen, S., De Vernejoul, M.C., Roces, A., Reginster J.Y. Strontium ranelate: dose-dependent effects in established postmenopausal vertebral osteoporosis&emdash;a 2-year randomized placebo controlled trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, May 2002; 87(5):2060-6.

Meunier, P.J., Roux, C., Seeman, E., Ortolani, S., Badurski, J.E., Spector, T.D., Cannata, J., Balogh, A., Lemmel, E.M., Pors-Nielsen, S., Rizzoli R., Genant, H.K., Reginster J.Y. The effects of strontium ranelate on the risk of vertebral fracture in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis, N Engl J Med, 2004, Jan 29;350(5):459-68.

Strontium: Breakthrough Against Osteoporosis by Ward Dean, MD