Strontium is a naturally-occurring metallic element, found in soil, drinking water, the ocean, and seaweed. Strontium has very similar properties to calcium and the body can absorb it much like calcium. And much like calcium, it can have a serious impact on the heath of our bones.
Musculoskeletal Benefits of Strontium
1. Strontium boosts bone health
Strontium ranelate is a prescription medication used in Australia and some European countries to treat osteoporosis. Both human studies and animal studies have demonstarted stronium's ability to promote bone formation, decrease bone resorption, and increase collagen synthesis.
Strontium ranelate is not availabe in the US due to FDA retsriction and serious potential side effects are associated with its use.
Strontium citrate is available as a supplement in the US, but to date no human data supports its use in the treatment of osteoporosis.
French researchers examined the efficacy of strontium ranelate in preventing spinal fractures. The authors found that strontium significantly increased lumbar and femoral neck bone density. However, critics have noted that strontium’s effect on the technique used to measure bone density might artificially elevate bone density values. (Meunier P, Roux C, Seeman E, et al. The effects of strontium ranelate on the risk of vertebral fracture in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis. N Engl J Med. 2004;350:459–68.)
Investigators in Belgium, explored the efficacy of strontium ranelate in preventing fractures in postmenopausal women at high risk of osteoporosis. The authors found that strontium significantly decreased the risk of spinal fractures and hip fractures.(Reginster J, Seeman E, De Vernejoul M, et al. Strontium ranelate reduces the risk of nonvertebral fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis: Treatment of Peripheral Osteoporosis (TROPOS) study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005;90:2816–22.)
Best Natural Sources
The concentration of strontium in vegetables varies according to the area they were grown. Vegetables with the relatively high amounts of strontium include spinach, lettuce, and celery.
The amount of strontium in the soil affects the level of strontium in grains. Wheat, barley, and other grains good sources of strontium.
Fish and other seafood are rich sources of strontium. Shellfish tend to have higher levels of strontium because they are bottom feeders.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
No governing body has recommended any daily allowance of strontium. When you purchase strontium over the counter as a supplement, you will frequently find that the bottle recommends 2,000 mg per day.
The are serious potential side effects associated with strontium ranelate including Increases the risk of venous thromboembolism, pulmonary embolism and serious cardiovascular disorders, including myocardial infarction
Any consideration a strontium supplementation should be discussed with a qualified health professional familiar with your unique medical history.
Rojinskaya LYa, Belyaeva AV, Belaya JE. Strontium ranelate(Bivalos)—a medication with two-sided effect on bone tissue;novel approaches to treatment of osteoporosis. Osteoporos Osteopenia. 2006;1:34–43.
Skripnikova IA, Poddubskaya EA, Kosmatova OV, et al. Usage of Bivalos (strontium ranelate) in post-menopausal osteoporosis (in Russian). Sci Pract Rheumatol. 2009;2:43–8.
Ammann P. Strontium ranelate: a novel mode of action leading to renewed bone quality. Osteoporos Int. 2005;16:11–6.
Blake G, Foglman I. Long-term effect of strontium ranelate on BMD. J Bone Miner Res. 2005;20:190–4.
Buehler J, Chappuis P, Saffar J. Strontium ranelate inhibits bone resorption while maintaining bone formation in alveolar bone in moneys (Macaca fascicularis). Bone. 2001;29:176–9.
WebMD Sources:National Osteoporosis Foundation Clinical Updates: "Over-the-Counter Products & Osteoporosis: Case Discussions."
UC Davis School of Medicine: "Strontium Citrate for Osteoporosis Prevention Evaluation (SCOPE)."
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: "Strontium."
Human Nutrition, Food & Animal Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa: "European strontium drug spurs supplement sales in U.S."
European Medicines Agency: “Osseor.”
National Osteoporosis Society: “Drug treatments for osteoporosis: strontium ranelate (Protelos).”