Strontium isn’t generally that well known as a supplement ingredient, but it should be. This trace element can have a tremendous effect in positively changing bone health and bone density. In fact, it can fight and possibly even prevent osteoporosis.
It can be easy to forget that bones are living tissue. Bone structure is being renewed all the time, like a round-the-clock remodeling project, so they need support every day.
But an aging population will have issues with osteoporosis. In fact, at least 4.5 million women age 50 and over already have osteoporosis of the hip. As the population gets older, those numbers are sure to increase. Fortunately, strontium can help.
The results of a three-year randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study using two grams strontium daily were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and they were impressive: women suffering from osteoporosis experienced a 41 percent reduction in risk of a vertebral fracture compared to the placebo group. Additionally, overall vertebrae density in the strontium group increased 6.8 percent but there was a 1.3 percent decrease in the placebo group.
The body needs a host of nutrients to build healthy bones. Calcium certainly is one of them, but it is far from the only one. Strontium, increasingly shown by research to be valuable for strengthening bones and reducing osteoarthritis symptoms, is important and necessary.
This study shows that nutrients really can make a difference in conditions that many people may feel are inevitable. Along with lifestyle choices like healthy protein-rich diets and weight-bearing exercises, strontium should have a place in the daily regimen of anyone – and that’s virtually everyone – who is concerned about bone density and strength.
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 Jan 29;350(5):459-68.
Background: Osteoporotic structural damage and bone fragility result from reduced bone formation and increased bone resorption. In a phase 2 clinical trial, strontium ranelate, an orally active drug that dissociates bone remodeling by increasing bone formation and decreasing bone resorption, has been shown to reduce the risk of vertebral fractures and to increase bone mineral density.
Methods: To evaluate the efficacy of strontium ranelate in preventing vertebral fractures in a phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned 1649 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis (low bone mineral density) and at least one vertebral fracture to receive 2 g of oral strontium ranelate per day or placebo for three years. We gave calcium and vitamin D supplements to both groups before and during the study. Vertebral radiographs were obtained annually, and measurements of bone mineral density were performed every six months.
Results: New vertebral fractures occurred in fewer patients in the strontium ranelate group than in the placebo group, with a risk reduction of 49 percent in the first year of treatment and 41 percent during the three-year study period (relative risk, 0.59; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.48 to 0.73). Strontium ranelate increased bone mineral density at month 36 by 14.4 percent at the lumbar spine and 8.3 percent at the femoral neck (P<0.001 for both comparisons). There were no significant differences between the groups in the incidence of serious adverse events.
Conclusions: Treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis with strontium ranelate leads to early and sustained reductions in the risk of vertebral fractures.