I had a dear friend ask about taking strontium to increase her bone strength. Below I’ll briefly discuss what strontium is what it can do, and other alternatives to maintaining or rebuilding bone strength.
- First what is strontium? Strontium is a mineral which is very similar to calcium. If you remember back to your high school chemistry class, look at the Periodic Table of the Elements you’ll see it just below calcium (2nd column from the left) with the symbol Sr. Being further down on table, it is a heavier molecule. Being in the same column as Calcium, it has some similar chemical properties which lets it mimic calcium to some degree.
- What can it do? Strontium in the form of strontium ranelate is used in Europe as a prescription drug to help treat osteoporosis. It both helps aid in mineral uptake by the bone matrix and also reduced the reabsorption of calcium out of the bones. Since strontium is a heavier molecule that calcium it can cause your bones to appear more dense on bone scans, but the bones may not be any stronger. So if you are in Europe and using stronium ranelate, let your doctor know so he/she can adjust the bone scan.
- Can I get strontium ranelate in the US? No. strontium ranelate is not available in the US and is not approved by the US FDA. You will find supplements advertising they are strontium for bone health, but looking closely all that I have found contained strontium carbonate, citrate, and other salts, which have no published research to support their effectiveness and may not provide any benefit aside from taking your money. One website advertised in big letters that they had strontium ranelate, but looking at the actual label on the bottle it had strontium citrate. All the FDA looks at is what is listed on the Supplement Fact Panel, they don’t care what is elsewhere on the label.
OK, so if you are in the US, chances are very slim you’ll find any strontium ranelate, so what else can you do? Lets look at what it takes to get calcium into your bones:
The supplement I use and recommend has the following ingredients (serving size is 4 tablets day):
- Calcium Citrate & Calcium Carbonate 800 mg
- Magnesium Citrate, chelate, & oxide 400 mg
- Boron Citrate 1.32 mg
- Silicone Chelate 9 mg
- Vitamin D3 400 iu
- Vitamin K 60 mcg