A lot of people are excited about a new “magic pill” for bones. But my Skelly is a little skeptical. I’m talking about strontium.
Most people have never heard of this mineral. It’s named after Strontian, a village in Scotland where it was discovered in 1790. Today it’s used mostly in industry.
You see, natural strontium is present in small amounts in your food and water. In your body, it migrates to your bones. It especially shows up at sites where your bones are remodeling – where old bone is breaking down and new bone is forming.
At any given time, you have about 320 mg of strontium in your body. About 99 percent of it is in your bones and teeth.
It adds strength to bones and teeth and makes them more resistant to breaking down. It also draws extra calcium into the bone.
That all sounds well and good. And it’s why, recently, companies are making high dose supplements with strontium. And even a bone drug. You can buy natural strontium supplements. It’s usually bound to different molecules like citrate, lactate, acetate, carbonate, chloride, sulfate, and gluconate.
Strontium ranelate is a prescription drug used in Europe and Canada. It’s not approved in the U.S. For the drug, 680 mg of strontium is bound to a synthetic molecule called ranelate. It’s marketed under the brand names Protos®, Protelos®, Osseor®, Bivalos®, and Protaxos®.
Some research shows strontium ranelate may prevent bone loss, increase bone strength, and reduce fractures in postmenopausal women.
But high doses of strontium may also come with nasty side effects like:
And according to my colleague, Dr. Lani Simpson, DC, CCD, strontium can show false increases in bone density on DXA scans.[i] In other words, it could make your bones look stronger than they really are.
Several studies show that strontium causes the outer cortical bone to become denser and thicker.[ii] But thick bones aren’t necessarily strong bones. In fact, thick cortical bone actually reduces bone strength and increases the risk of fractures.[iii]
Strontium is related to calcium chemically. It’s so similar that it can compete with calcium absorption. So taking a lot of strontium can replace calcium in your bones. And it stays there for most of your life. Right now we don’t know what that means in the long term. The studies haven’t been done.
Do your supplements have strontium in it?
I don’t recommend taking high doses of strontium without a doctor’s supervision.
Rather than look for a miracle pill for osteoporosis, I like getting bone-building minerals – including strontium - naturally from your food.
Remember bones take time and attention to stop the breaking down process and to rebuild.
Most people probably get between one and ten milligrams of strontium from their regular diet every day without even trying.
Good sources of natural Strontium
Root vegetables such as:
You can also get strontium by eating other plant foods such as:
Other sources include:
Click HERE for my favorite and simple RoastedRoot Vegetable dish that everyone loves.
It's especially fabulous during the colder season, however, in my home we cook it regularly.
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From my loving bones to yours,
Irma Jennings, INHC - Holistic Bone Coach
To learn more about Irma, click HERE.Lani Simpson, DC, CCD. “Dr. Lani’s No-Nonsense Bone Health Guide.” 2014 Hunter House, p. 165. [ii] Jiang, Arlot, Genant, et al.. “Histomorphometric and μCT analysis of bone biopsies from postmenopausal osteoporotic women treated with strontium ranelate.” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2008; 23 (2): 215-22. [iii]Boivin, Deloffre, Perrat, et al. “Strontium distribution and interactions with bone mineral in monkey iliac bone after strontium salt administration.” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 11:1302-1311. 1996.