Weakened bones and joints can lead to pain and discomfort in everyday activities. If you’re looking into options for improving the health of your bones and joints, consider strontium to promote bone density.
There tends to be some confusion when it comes to strontium due to the fact there are two variations of this element: strontium ranelate and strontium citrate.
In this blog post, we’ll be going over the differences as well as the general basics of strontium and how it affects bone health.
What is Strontium?
Strontium is a metallic element and trace mineral typically found in natural terrains and bodies of water, such as soil and the ocean. Organisms that inhabit those ecosystems thus contain traces of strontium.
We say “typically” because the amount of strontium found in these plants and animals depends on how much strontium is present in their environments and/or how much strontium the animals consume themselves.
If your physician has prescribed strontium supplements, you probably have run across two variations in your web search results: strontium ranelate and strontium citrate.
This variant of the pure form of strontium includes a molecule of ranelic acid, a man-made compound, making it strontium salt.
Some studies haven’t put strontium ranelate as particularly desirable due to its mild and unpleasant side effects that tend to occur (e.g. diarrhea, nausea, and headaches). It is also prescribed almost exclusively to young men and post-menopausal women.
Strontium ranelate is a prescribed medication and, therefore, cannot be purchased over-the-counter. Plus, it is not yet approved in the United States by the FDA, so chances are strontium citrate is what your doctor is prescribing.
While both are strontium salts, there are quite a few differences that lie between strontium ranelate and strontium citrate. The first one being that citric acid is the bonded molecule instead of ranelic acid.
Strontium citrate is considered a supplement and may be bought over-the-counter and is much less expensive than strontium ranelate.
When it comes to absorption, strontium citrate is highly absorbable by the small intestine without the side effects (although not as bioavailable when compared to strontium ranelate).
For the remainder of this post, we’ll be talking about strontium citrate.
Strontium and bone density…is there a connection?
Researchers have found that strontium mimics the popular mineral calcium due to its similar chemical and physical characteristics, and in doing so helps the body form bone while slowing the process of bone deterioration.
In fact, in humans, 99.1% of absorbed strontium is found in our bones and teeth! (The next place you’ll find it is in our blood).
Strontium is associated with strengthening bones by increasing bone mineral density.
According to a 2014 review article in the journal BioMed Research International, strontium citrate has been connected with fighting signs of osteoporosis.
A 2017 study in the journal Aging studied a combination of strontium citrate with melatonin, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 on postmenopausal women with reduced bone density. This year-long study found some positive changes in the women taking the supplement compared to those taking a placebo. The women who took the strontium citrate and nutrients showed less bone turnover.
The results showed an increase in the creation of cells that make the bone matrix, which provides the foundation of bones, while also decreasing the activity of osteoclasts (the bone cells that break down bone). The authors of the study noted that their results supported using this combination of supplements for diseases of the bone.
Is Strontium Safe?
Some questions have been raised about strontium and whether it’s smart or safe to take. Berkeley Wellness from the University of California addressed this. They noted that studies showing negative side effects of strontium have not been consistent and that there have been strong cases for its safety.
As mentioned above, strontium ranelate has demonstrated to have negative side effects as opposed to strontium citrate in supplements for bone and joint care. Nonetheless, more research is needed on this element to gain a clearer idea of its potential benefits for bones and joints, and of its potential risks.
If you’re concerned about taking this element? As with any other kind of supplementation, we recommend consulting with your primary care physician to see if strontium is a good addition to your regimen.
How Can You Get More Strontium?
Obtaining strontium through your diet is possible.
This mineral is contained within some food sources. It’s found in saltwater and soil and thus tends to be included in foods that come from these environments.
The highest amounts are found in seafood, especially in shellfish such as oysters and mollusks. Limited levels are also in animal foods such as meat, poultry, and milk. Plus, you can find it in some plant-based foods such as legumes and grains, including wheat and barley. It’s also in vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, and celery.
You also have the choice of strontium supplementation. Because of this element’s association with improving bone density and overall bone health, it is included in the formula for Artic Flex, a supplement designed for bone and joint care.
Adding more strontium to a healthy lifestyle could provide a natural way for promoting bone and joint health. This could be great news for people with osteoporosis and anyone with a focus on health.
Have more questions about strontium? Check out our Strontium FAQs.