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Strategies for Bone Health

Published: January 2, 2010

I have osteoporosis. I eat broccoli, kale, and other calcium-rich foods. I also take calcium and magnesium supplements and pursue an active lifestyle. Current drug therapies don’t work for me. How does strontium citrate help build bones?


Urbana, Missouri

Strontium (STRON-tee-um) is a naturally occurring mineral that is closely related to calcium. At best, foods contain a minimal amount of the mineral, but different versions of strontium—used to improve bone health, unlike radioactive strontium, which treats bone cancer—are widely available online and in stores. In the U.S., strontium citrate is sold as a supplement, not a drug, which means data about its long-term safety and optimal dosage are lacking, and the purity of specific products is questionable. Still, evidence suggests that strontium preserves existing bones and helps build new bone tissue. Usually, strontium citrate is taken at bedtime, at least four hours after consuming calcium.

Prescription-strength strontium ranelate is available in Europe for treating osteoporosis. Osteologix, a biopharmaceutical company in Richmond, Virginia, is planning additional studies of its osteoporosis drug, NB S101 (strontium malonate). Assuming testing is successful, the prescription product could be FDA approved and available for use in the U.S. in early 2015.

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