Strontium: A better way to build bones
BY SUZY COHEN Dear Pharmacist
Saturday, May 12, 2012
5/12/12 at 4:39 AM
Dear Pharmacist: My wife has osteoporosis. I read your article a few years ago about strontium being good for bone health. Do you still recommend it today? - C.C., Sacramento
Everything I said four years ago in my first column holds. Strontium has been clinically proven to support bone health. I wish more physicians would suggest over-the-counter strontium supplements before prescribing bone-building "bisphosphonate" drugs like Actonel, Boniva and Fosamax or even Evista or Forteo. A 2004 study in New England Journal of Medicine concluded that strontium reduces risk of non-vertebral fractures by 41 percent over three years and increases bone mineral density by 14.4 percent. Impressive when you compare that to standard treatments.
Strontium prevents bone breakdown while stimulating new bone growth. Medications work one side of that equation. It may support joint health and prevent tooth decay, in sharp contrast to certain medications that destroy the teeth/jaw.
New research published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology said, "The agent can now be considered as a first-line option to treat women at risk of osteoporosis fractures, whatever their age and the severity of the disease."
In the U.S., non-drug versions of "strontium citrate" or "strontium gluconate" are sold at the health food stores, compounding pharmacies or holistic physician's offices. High-quality brands include Life Extension's "Strontium Caps," OrthoMolecular's "Strontium," Nutricology's "Strontium Osteo Complex," Solaray's "BioCitrate Strontium," or Doctor's Best "Strontium Bone Maker." You must have enough calcium in your body for strontium to work well. If you need both, space them apart. For example, take strontium in the morning (empty stomach); at lunch, take calcium (preferably with vitamin D). When it comes to bone health, vitamin K2, natural progesterone hormone, silica, iodine, zinc, chromium and magnesium are important players and, of course, weight-bearing exercise.