What is Strontium?
Strontium is a trace mineral found naturally in your body. Although it’s often overlooked, strontium is incredibly beneficial to your bones and is an important factor in your overall bone health!
Strontium is found in certain foods and even in soil, and is a close relative of both calcium and magnesium. So close, in fact, they come from the same chemical family. Think of strontium as the middle child to big brother calcium and little sister magnesium.
Much like calcium, 99% of your body’s strontium is found in your bones. They’re both absorbed in the gut, incorporated the same way into bone, and are both eliminated from the body through the kidneys.
History of Strontium Supplements
Strontium was first discovered in 1808. But it wasn’t until the 1950s and ’60s that the mineral was studied in both animals and humans. Early tests using strontium lactate showed promise for the mineral’s bone health properties and potential as an osteoporosis treatment.
Unfortunately, the fallout from atom bomb testing, which began in 1945 with the Manhattan Project, produced a dangerous radioactive form of the mineral known as strontium-90. Confusion between the natural and radioactive forms was pervasive. As a result, natural strontium use fell out of favor and human-use testing fell by the wayside for decades.
Animal and human testing resumed in the mid-1980s, again with positive results. And interest was once again renewed in the early 2000s, and yet again in 2011 and 2016 with AlgaeCal’s bone studies.
What researchers found was that strontium paired with calcium leveraged incredible results.
Over the course of just six months, a human study with 216 male and female participants found those taking AlgaeCal Plus and Strontium Boost not only stopped bone loss but actually gained 2% bone density ─ a landmark study. This study showed adults increased bone density in less than one year, but the question of what happened to bone density in years following remained unanswered…
Until a second study of 172 female participants was conducted in 2016. It showed that women in their mid 60’s gained 7.3% more bone over 7 years – and that it happened in a linear fashion with about 1% added per year. AlgaeCal Plus and Strontium Boost was beneficial well beyond the six-month mark that the prior study showed. And, safety was well established by a panel of 45 blood chemistries drawn at baseline and ending.
Strontium Forms Compared
Like calcium and magnesium, Strontium can’t exist by itself. So it bonds with other materials to form stable salts, like strontium carbonate, strontium ranelate, and strontium citrate.
Strontium ranelate was used in most of the recent studies because it was a new form at the time and therefore patentable. Once patent protection is granted, it becomes cost-effective for a drug company to invest in large clinical studies. Strontium ranelate is patented as a drug called Protelos®.
This is important to understand because strontium is a naturally occurring element, so it can’t be patented. But what can be patented is a strontium combination. So whether it’s bound to a carbonate or ranelic acid, the key ingredient is strontium. When shopping for strontium, look for a product that’s backed by science and clinical studies 一 and proven to be safe!
There are three common forms of strontium you should know about:
Natural Strontium Salts (Strontium Citrate)
This form of strontium is the most common and is available as an over-the-counter bone-health supplement. Its popularity is largely due to its complete lack of side effects and because it’s about half the price of strontium ranelate.
Strontium Ranelate (Drug)
Strontium ranelate is a prescription drug. It’s only suitable for adult men and postmenopausal women and is not currently FDA approved, which is why it’s not available in the US. In fact, it’s also been widely restricted in Europe following safety concerns about the drug. Strontium ranelate is about double the cost of strontium citrate and has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and blood clots. Side effects also include nausea, diarrhea, headaches, and eczema, which are attributed to the drug’s ranelic acid.
Two forms of radioactive strontium exist — strontium 89 and 90 are the result of nuclear fusion fallout. and are considered unstable, but strontium 90 is particularly dangerous. Strontium 90 is found in soil, although generally in small quantities. Strontium 89 has been used to treat bone and prostate cancers, while strontium 90 is largely considered to be a waste product or relegated to agricultural use. All forms of radioactive strontium are heavily regulated and cannot be purchased over-the-counter.
When an element becomes associated with atomic bomb fallout, it’s understandable that it might get a bad reputation. But unfortunately, those misconceptions have prevented people from using the natural, safe form of strontium for far too long.
While it’s true that strontium ranelate is frequently used for research purposes, other studies have used various forms of natural strontium with great success. Strontium citrate, gluconate, carbonate, lactate, and chloride have all been shown to be effective, which proves that it’s the strontium ion doing the work rather than what that ion is bound to.
Your bone cells are continuously growing and being reabsorbed at the same time. With typical bone growth drugs and rock-based calcium, only one side of the equation is affected.
But strontium inhibits bone resorption while simultaneously stimulating bone growth. It’s a two-for-one deal and an exciting double benefit. No other natural substance or drug is known to provide this dual effect.
Unlike Fosamax and Actonel, which work strictly by decreasing bone resorption, strontium increases bone mass while naturally slowing bone loss.
Strontium Side Effects
Many of strontium’s side effects are mired in myth. From skewing DXA scan results, to increasing fracture rates, and turning you radioactive, strontium’s negative connotations are typically tied to strontium ranelate and radioactive strontium. Not supplemental strontium citrate.
Our resident Bone Health Expert Lara Pizzorno breaks down strontium in all its forms in this comprehensive post and sheds light on the truth behind its many myths:
But even more important than the myths and misconceptions are the truth and benefits of strontium citrate.
While strontium can be found in various food sources, the levels are usually low.
To find out how to incorporate strontium into your diet effectively, check out our Strontium-Rich Foods page.
How to Get The Most Out Of Your Strontium Supplement
Although strontium citrate seems to be a remarkably safe supplement, it’s recommended you follow these guidelines to maximize its benefit:
Take 680 mg of strontium citrate. If you have either osteopenia or osteoporosis, you will receive the most benefit from a 680 mg per day dose of strontium citrate. This is the dose that has been used in the majority of human research conducted on stable strontium salts. It also happens to be the same dose provided in two capsules of Strontium Boost.
Separate calcium and strontium intake by at least two hours. Calcium and strontium are chemically similar minerals that compete for absorption, so scheduling supplementation will ensure that this does not happen. We recommend taking two capsules of AlgaeCal Plus at breakfast and two capsules at lunch. Then, two capsules of Strontium Boost on an empty stomach before bed. Get your free printable on How to Take AlgaeCal Plus and Strontium Boost.
Limit processed food consumption. Phosphate significantly lowers strontium absorption. Phosphate additives are used in most processed foods as preservatives, so read those labels! They can be found in sodas, sweet bakery products, cereals, crackers, pizza, cured meats, poultry, processed vegetables, egg products, candy, and chocolate.
Include all essential bone-building nutrients. Strontium is not a “magic bullet.” Optimal results will be achieved when strontium citrate and all the other essential bone-building nutrients are present. These include calcium, magnesium, vitamin D3, vitamin K2, vitamin C, boron and trace minerals. AlgaeCal has taken all of this into consideration, which is why you’ll be taking all of these bone-essential nutrients when you following the AlgaeCal protocol.
Strontium shouldn’t be used as a treatment for children. It may alter the architecture of rapidly growing bones. Also, no studies have been done using high dose strontium on children.
Safely and Naturally Reclaim Your Bone Density with Strontium
When looking for a strontium supplement, find a pure strontium citrate, like AlgaeCal’s Strontium Boost. When partnered with AlgaeCal Plus, Strontium Boost is guaranteed to increase bone density safely and naturally in as little as six months.
Our clinical human trials show that taking AlgaeCal Plus in combination with Strontium Boost (what we call our Bone Builder Pack) increases bone density in six months by more than 2% on average.
What’s even more impressive is that those gains continue for years. Our seven-year study found the Bone Builder Pack improves bone density annually by 1% with no limit on how long you can take either product for.
Strontium Boost is natural and scientifically proven to increase bone density when taken with AlgaeCal Plus. Why risk the side effects of strontium ranelate and radioactive strontium when you can supplement with a safe, natural alternative instead?