Strontium is a mineral that is not classified as essential for the human body.
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1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
600 to 700 mg daily under medical supervision
Studies indicate that supplementing with strontium may help reduce bone pain, increase bone mineral density, and reduce the risk of some fractures.
Strontium may play a role in bone formation, and also may inhibit bone breakdown.1 Preliminary evidence suggests that women with osteoporosis may have reduced absorption of strontistaum.2 The first medical use of strontium was described in 1884. (Strontium supplements do not contain the radioactive form of strontium that is a component of nuclear fallout.) Years ago in a preliminary trial, people with osteoporosis were given 1.7 grams of strontium per day for a period of time ranging between three months and three years; afterward, they reported a significant reduction in bone pain, and there was evidence suggesting their bone mass had increased.3 More recently, in a three-year double-blind study of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, supplementing with strontium, in the form of strontium ranelate, significantly increased bone mineral density in the hip and spine, and significantly reduced the risk of vertebral fractures by 41%, compared with a placebo.4 The amount of strontium used in that study was 680 mg per day, which is approximately 300 times the amount found in a typical diet. Increased bone formation and decreased bone pain were also reported in six people with osteoporosis given 600 to 700 mg of strontium per day.5 Although the amounts of strontium used in these studies studies was very high, the optimal intake remains unknown. Some doctors recommend only 1 to 6 mg of supplemental strontium per day—less than many people currently consume from their diets, but an amount that has begun to appear in some mineral formulas geared toward bone health. Strontium preparations, providing 200 to 400 mg per day, were used for decades during the first half of the twentieth century without any apparent toxicity.6 No significant side effects were observed in people taking large amounts of strontium; however, animal studies have demonstrated defects in bone mineralization, when strontium was administered in large amounts in combination with a low-calcium diet. People interested in taking large amounts of strontium should be supervised by a doctor, and should make sure to take adequate amounts of calcium. It should be noted that, although supplementing with strontium increases bone mineral density, only part of the increase is real. The rest is a laboratory error that results from the fact that strontium blocks X-rays to a greater extent than does calcium.7 People taking large amounts of strontium should mention that fact to the radiologist when they are having their bone mineral density measured, so that the results will be interpreted correctly.
Refer to label instructions
Communities with strontium in their water supply appear to have a reduced risk of dental caries.
Levels of strontium in the water supply have been shown to correlate with the risk of dental caries in communities with similar fluoride levels.8 Compared with children with fewer cavities, enamel samples from children with high numbers of caries have been found to contain significantly less strontium.9 However, supplementation with strontium has not yet been studied as tooth decay prevention.
No recommended intake levels have been established for strontium, since it is not considered essential for humans. However, preliminary research in humans suggests that 600–1,700 mg of strontium, taken as a supplement in the form of strontium salts, may increase bone mass in the vertebrae of people with osteoporosis.10
Strontium is widely distributed throughout nature. Strontium levels in the soil determine how much strontium will be in the foods grown in particular areas. Areas with strontium-rich soils also tend to have higher levels of strontium in the drinking water.
Strontium is not an essential mineral, so deficiencies are not seen with this mineral.
1. El-Hajj Fuleihan G. Strontium ranelate—a novel therapy for osteoporosis or a permutation of the same? N Engl J Med 2004;350:504-6 [Editorial].
2. Ferrari S, Zolezzi C, Savarino L, et al. The oral strontium load test in the assessment of intestinal calcium absorption. Minerva Med 1993;84:527-31.
3. McCaslin FE, Janes JM. The effect of strontium lactate in the treatment of osteoporosis. Proc Staff Meetings Mayo Clinic 1959;34(13):329-34.
4. Meunier PJ, 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.
5. Gaby AR. Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1994, 88-9 [review].
6. Skoryna SC. Effects of oral supplementation with stable strontium. Can Med Assoc J 1981;125:703-12.
7. Reginster JY, Deroisy R, Dougados M, et al. Prevention of early postmenopausal bone loss by strontium ranelate: the randomized, two-year, double-masked, dose-ranging, placebo-controlled PREVOS trial. Osteoporos Int 2002;13:925-31.
8. Strontium and dental caries. Nutr Rev 1983;41:342-4 [review].
9. Strontium and dental caries. Nutr Rev 1983;41:342-4 [review].
10. Gaby AR. Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1994, 85-92 [review].
11. Donneau AF, Reginster JY. Cardiovascular safety of strontium ranelate: real-life assessment in clinical practice. Osteoporos Int 2014;25:397–8.
Last Review: 07-22-2014
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