I’ve been recommending strontium for years for all my patients who have poor bone mineral density tests and/or osteoporosis. That’s because it increases bone mineral density scores. But recently some pretty bad stuff has been coming out about strontium.
Not too long ago the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a warning about a special patented form of strontium called strontium ranelate. Strontium ranelate is also known as the drug Protos. The warnings were issued after the EMA found that Protos increases the risk of serious heart problems.
One study looked at 7,500 women. The researchers gave some of them a placebo and they gave the others strontium ranelate. Happily, no one died during the study. But the women taking the drug had 70% more heart attacks than the placebo group. This increased risk for heart attacks has also been found in men taking strontium ranelate. But that’s not the only problem with this form of strontium.
Researchers also listed the various side effects being reported over a three year period. In that time, 52% had cardiovascular complications, 26% had rashes, 6% had hepatitis and/or pancreatitis, 5% had neurological problems including convulsions, and 3% developed blood disorders. The most common cardiovascular complication was deep vein blood clots – 28% of the patients had this side effect. Two of them died from pulmonary embolisms (blood clots to the lungs). And here’s the thing. These were only the cases that were reported. My experience with doctors is that they rarely report the side effects they see from the drugs they dish out. So the actual number of complications is much more.
So what am I going to do? Do I have to stop prescribing my patients strontium supplements because of this situation? Thankfully, the answer is no. Here's why.
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Strontium is naturally found in foods where it can be combined with a number of natural compounds including chloride, citrate, and lactate. And strontium is good for bones. In fact, 99% of all of the strontium in the human body is concentrated in the bones. And research suggests it might boost the formation of collagen and cartilage in joints. There’s also interest in studying strontium for preventing tooth decay because researchers have noticed fewer dental caries in people who drink water that contains relatively high levels of strontium. And even though strontium supplements have been around for decades, there has not been one published report of any side effects when it’s given in one of these natural forms. And therein lies the problem with strontium ranelate.
Ranelic acid is not found in nature. It’s a manmade chemical. That’s why this form of strontium is so dangerous. But why, you ask, does Big Pharma want to promote a chemical when there are so many safe and proven natural forms of strontium available? It’s simple. You can’t get a patent on a natural substance. There’s no money in it. So instead of teaching doctors how to use a safe and natural form of strontium, our system does its usual and teaches them how to use a dangerous but profitable form. Are you a little upset over that? I am. But don’t get too excited. It’s just business as usual. But my readers don’t have to be caught up in all that.
You probably know that for almost every drug Big Pharma makes, there are safe and natural alternatives. That’s why it’s so important to consult with a practitioner trained in natural medicine whenever a doctor tells you that you need to take such-and-such a drug. And don’t worry about strontium. The form of strontium I use for my patients with osteoporosis issues is in Ultimate Bone Support. It has the best form of strontium – strontium citrate – along with the other critical nutrients for bone health including vitamin K2, vitamin D, and boron.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Jonville-Bera AP, Autret-Leca E. “Adverse drug reactions of strontium ranelate Protelos(®) in France.” Presse Med 2011. Oct; 40(10):e453-62.