A New Supplement for Old Bones

Strontium dietary supplements are promoted as a “pure” manner “to keep up sturdy bones.” One product calls itself “Bone Maker.” And a few calcium dietary supplements now embrace small quantities of strontium.

Strontium, a typical metallic factor, is just not categorized as a nutrient, however the human physique can soak up it and use it as if it had been calcium. Like calcium, it at all times comes certain to different components. Most dietary supplements include strontium citrate. One other type, strontium ranelate, is patented and offered solely as a prescription drug for osteoporosis in Europe and Australia. This way has been proven in medical trials to spice up bone mineral density and cut back fractures. It appears to work primarily by decreasing bone loss (resorption), much like most different osteoporosis medication (notably bisphosphonates). Some researchers have proposed that strontium ranelate may stimulate bone formation.

A strontium replace

Since we final reported on strontium in 2012, there was additional assist for its effectiveness, but in addition some issues about its security. Value noting is that each one revealed research have used strontium ranelate, with almost all funded by the pharmaceutical firm that makes it or achieved by scientists with monetary ties to the corporate.

  • For bones. In response to a 2013 overview in Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Illness, long-term use of strontium ranelate (as much as 10 years to this point) improves bone mineral density in ladies, with the authors noting that it’s cost-effective, particularly in ladies over 70. Although most research have centered on ladies, there’s some proof that strontium helps males too. In a 2013 research within the Journal of Medical Endocrinology & Metabolism, males with osteoporosis who took strontium ranelate for 2 years had proof of elevated bone density within the backbone and hip.
  • For joints. Preliminary analysis means that strontium may profit arthritic joints by stimulating cartilage formation, amongst different potential mechanisms. In a big research within the Annals of the Rheumatic Illnesses in 2013, folks with knee osteoarthritis took strontium ranelate (1 or 2 grams a day) or a placebo for 3 years. Each strontium teams confirmed much less joint area narrowing on X-rays (indicating slower illness development) than the placebo group. The upper-dose group additionally had enhancements in knee ache and bodily functioning.

However is it secure?

Analysis on strontium’s unwanted side effects and dangers has been inconsistent. A 2013 research in Rheumatology Worldwide confirmed the “good security profile of strontium ranelate within the administration of postmenopausal osteoporosis,” based mostly on information from 12,000 ladies. Gastrointestinal issues had been most steadily reported. A number of different research discovered no general elevated danger of coronary heart assaults, unstable angina, or cardiovascular demise in folks on strontium, in comparison with these on different osteoporosis medication.

Then again, the European Medicines Company not too long ago cautioned that folks ought to take strontium ranelate just for extreme osteoporosis and provided that they can’t be handled with different medicines, that they be steadily monitored, and that they cease in the event that they develop cardiovascular issues. This recommendation was based mostly on a pooled evaluation of research that affirmed strontium ranelate’s fracture-reducing results but in addition confirmed elevated danger of cardiac occasions and blood clots in folks with a historical past of coronary heart or circulatory issues. The company recommends in opposition to the usage of strontium ranelate by anybody with a historical past of coronary heart assaults, blood clots, stroke, peripheral artery illness, or uncontrolled hypertension. Different potential hostile results embrace liver irritation, seizures, and a drop in pink blood cell counts.

One other concern is that strontium can inflate bone density readings as a result of the factor has the next atomic weight than calcium, which it replaces in bone (thus bones might seem stronger than they are surely). Researchers normally regulate for this when reporting bone density in strontium research.

Backside line: Although the analysis on strontium is encouraging, we don’t suggest dietary supplements. Extra research—together with unbiased ones—are wanted to evaluate its longer-term advantages for each bones and joints, in addition to its potential dangers. Furthermore, strontium citrate (the shape accessible in dietary supplements) has not been well-studied, and it’s not recognized if it has the identical results, good or dangerous, as strontium ranelate. Take into account additionally that, not like strontium ranelate, strontium dietary supplements usually are not regulated or standardized, and an optimum dose has not been established for them.

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