Strontium Ranelate vs Strontium Citrate

algaecal strontium-citrate-benefits

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Osteopenia and osteoporosis patients are often confused when their doctor recommends Strontium for them. Patients then typically read up information about Strontium, come across sensational write ups that misinform and create fear for Strontium.  Doctors usually prescribe either of the two variants Strontium ranelate or Strontium citrate. After doing some of their own spade work, patients then begin to wonder why they were not prescribed the other form.

First let’s begin by dispelling the fear of Strontium. Strontium is a naturally occurring silvery white or yellowish mineral found in the soil. People who consume organic and farm produce usually get enough of this mineral and do not require Strontium supplements. In it’s natural state Strontium is a stable metal element of alkaline nature (atomic number 38). It is non toxic and non-radioactive. It’s man-made isotope Strontium (atomic number 90) is radioactive. Like Calcium, Strontium is a Group 2 element in the periodic table and is placed just beneath calcium. In other words, it’s chemical properties and behaviour are very similar. (1)

Now let us look at the prescribed variants – Strontium ranelate and Strontium citrate. They are both Strontium salts.  Strontium ranelate is composed of two atoms of stable Strontium (natural) and a molecule of ranelic acid (synthetic/man-made). Strontium citrate is composed of two atoms of Strontium and a molecule of citric acid.

So why is it that citrate or ranelate salts are prescribed? This brings us to the absorption issue. Studies have shown that citrate salt of Strontium is more readily absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract as compared to Strontium carbonate or other Strontium salts. However Strontium ranelate is known to be more bioavailable (chemical that is eventually able to reach systemic circulation). Studies have proved that the bioavailability of Strontium ranelate is 25% after a 2-gram dosage administration. (2)

It is possible that Strontium ranelate gives mild undesirable side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, headaches and eczema/rash. However, they are said to resolve after a few weeks of starting Strontium ranelate. Chances of experiencing side-effects with Strontium ranleate are marginally more than with Strontium citrate.

Strontium ranelate is prescribed for young men and post-menopausal women only. It’s usage is contraindicated in pregnant and lactating women. Strontium ranelate is also not to be prescribed to persons who suffer from kidney conditions, thrombo-embolism or phenylketonuria (rare condition in which a person has the inability to break down the amino acid phenylalanine). It is not to be prescribed for children. (3)

Strontium ranelate is not available over the counter. It is classified as a drug/medicine and so can be bought on a doctor’s prescription only. Strontium citrate on the other hand, is categorized as a supplement and may be bought over the counter.

Strontium ranelate is almost twice as expensive as Strontium citrate and almost six times more expensive than standard bone-building medication like those with compounds alendronate etc.

Strontium ranelate is manufactured and marketed by the French pharmaceutical company Servier Laboratories under the brand name Protelos. It is available in some European countries and in Asia. Strontium ranelate has not yet been approved by the American Food and Drug Administration and is thus not sold in the U.S. Strontium citrate is available worldwide and is sold by AlgaeCal, Nature’s Purest, Doctor’s Best, Bio Tech Pharmacal, Pure Encapsulations (Atrium Innovation Inc). Strontium is available in several strengths/potencies. Your doctor will advise you on the milligrams per dose you require and the timing you should observe while taking either of the two Strontium salts (Read AlgaeCal article on how Strontium supplements are to be taken on an empty stomach and apart from Calcium supplements).


  1. Evidence-Based Perspectives on Hot Women’s Health Issues;; december, 2011;
  2. Summary Of Product Characteristics, Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction (Page 4);; December, 2011;
  3. Find A Vitamin or Supplement; WebMD; December, 2011;


  1. Strontium Citrate Safety; National Osteoporosis Foundation – Support Community; December, 2011;
  2. Strontium Citrate: A Natural Treatment for Osteoporosis; Osteoporosis & Vitamins; December, 2011;
  3. Strontium ranelate; Wikipedia; December, 2011;

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9 thoughts on “Strontium Ranelate vs Strontium Citrate

  1. Rita Smith on said:

    I am a 60 year old woman who does not have osteoporosis but I am on Ultimate Bone Support. Composition, Vitamins D3,K2 Zinc, copper, Manganese,-Boron, Silicon, Strontium citrate, L-Lysine, Hops. Is it ok to keep taking them because my doctor told me that they cannot be Bio if there is strontium in the supplements as strontium is prescribed for osteoporosis patients and she added that it is medicinal and treatment. Is that true? So do I stop taking them?

    Rita Smith

  2. Our 19 yr old son has recently suffered a fractured scaphoid. unfortunately it has been problematic in healing. The cast has been removed now (after 10 weeks and three different casts). The fracture remains, but less so. The very competent Orthopedic Specialist sent him for a CT scan and compared to the Xrays taken has concluded he has Osteopenia. He is 2000 km away at university so my doctor has suggested we get him onto a regime of Strontium Citrate 550 mg twice daily with 2000 units D3 & 300mg of Calcium Citrate thrice daily. Also, get the bone density test done when he’s home for Christmas. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks from afar. Bruce

  3. Hello I’m Dr Urooj lives in Karachi Pakistan.and my father had a fracture at intertrochantric area in Dr has prescribed him strontium..he has a weak union .he,s diabetic since 15yrs on oral sulphonylurea.and well there is a risk factor of thromboembolism.although he.s walking with the help of a walker non weight bearing movement is advised.I’m bit confused about strontium is it good for him.

  4. ray hendle on said:

    re: In it’s natural state Strontium is a stable metal element of alkaline nature (atomic number 38). It is non toxic and non-radioactive. It’s man-made isotope Strontium (atomic number 90) is radioactive.

    This is incorrect. All isotopes of Sr have Atomic No. 38. It’s the Mass number that varies (number of neutrons). The Mass Number is 90 for the radioactive Strontium… not the Atomic Number.

  5. ray hendle on said:

    By the way, my wife has used your product several years. To date she has displayed significant improvement (confirmed medically).
    Thank You.

    • Monica Lam-Feist
      Monica on said:

      Hi Eliot,

      Strontium citrate does not cause kidney stones. Not a single study has ever shown that strontium citrate causes venous thromboembolism (VTE) or any blood clots or DRESS syndrome. Only strontium ranelate has been found to produce these adverse effects.

      – Monica from AlgaeCal

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