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Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Supplements

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Strontium

What is strontium? Why do we need it?

Strontium is a silvery, metallic element that is found throughout nature, usually in soft soils. It is extremely chemically reactive, and turns yellow when exposed to air.

In addition to its uses in the human body, strontium is employed in a variety of commercial purposes, including the production of magnets and optical devices. A radioactive version of the element, strontium-90, is typically produced as a byproduct of nuclear reactions, and is not used as a dietary supplement.

Although strontium is not classified as an essential element, research has shown that can be useful in maintaining health and wellness. Studies have shown that strontium supplements can strengthen bones and reduce the risk of some types of lesions associated with certain cancers. In addition, strontium is believed to reduce the risk of dental cavities; a version of strontium is sometimes added to toothpastes for people with sensitive teeth.

How much strontium should I take?

Because strontium is not an essential element, recommended intake levels have yet to be established. Most studies on strontium have used daily doses ranging between 600 and 1,700 milligrams. Make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider about proper strontium intake levels.

What forms of strontium are available?

Because strontium is found in many types of soils and water tables, it is often absorbed by foods that grow in these soils. In addition, areas with strontium-rich soils tend to have higher levels of strontium in the drinking water.

In addition to being derived from food and water, strontium is also available as a supplement, usually in the form of strontium salt.

What can happen if I take too much strontium? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Because strontium is not considered an essential element, deficiency and recommended daily intake levels for it have not been established. Previously published studies suggest that daily levels of between 600 and 1,700 milligrams of strontium (taken as a supplement in the form of strontium salts) may increase bone mass in people with osteoporosis.

As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with strontium. As always, however, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking strontium or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Anttila A. Proton-induced X-ray emission analysis of Zn, Sr and Pb in human deciduous tooth enamel and its relationship to dental caries scores. Arch Oral Biol 1986;31:723-6.
  • Brandi ML. New treatment strategies: ipriflavone, strontium, vitamin D metabolites and analogs. Am J Med 1993;95:69-74S.
  • Hansen DV, Holmes ER, Catton G, et al. Strontium-89 therapy for painful osseous metastatic prostate and breast cancer. Am Fam Physician 1993;47:1795-800.
  • Imanishi Y, Nishizawa Y. Strontium ranelate as new therapeutic agent for osteoporosis. Clin Calcium Jan 2005;15(1):25-8.
  • Reginster JY, Seeman E, De Vernejoul MC, et al. Strontium ranelate reduces the risk of nonvertebral fractures in post-menopausal women with osteoporosis: Tropos study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab Feb 22, 2005. Epub ahead of print.

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