Key minerals for bone health — strontium

Strontium is a mineral that naturally exists and is present in small amounts in our food and water. Strontium has a high affinity for bone and is thought to play a critical role in bone health. It tends to migrate to the sites where active remodeling is taking place and promotes mineralization of the bones and teeth. There are about 320 mg of strontium in the body, with 99% located in the bones and teeth. The typical daily diet is thought to provide from as little as 1 mg to more than 10 mg strontium. (This stable mineral form of strontium found in food and water should not be confused with the radioactive form of strontium that is produced by nuclear reactors or by explosion of nuclear weapons.)

In the periodic table you will find strontium below calcium and it belongs to the same chemical family as calcium and magnesium. In fact, because of its similarities, strontium is capable of replacing a small proportion of calcium in the calcified crystals of bone and teeth. As it appears, strontium adds strength to these tissues, making them more resistant to breakdown. Strontium also appears to draw extra calcium into the bone.

Dietary strontium is consumed in very small, milligram quantities and is considered a natural and beneficial bone nutrient. It is found in most plant foods, dairy foods, Brazil nuts, and again, naturally in drinking water.

Very high-dose (several hundred milligrams) synthetic strontium ranelate (Protelos) has been developed in Europe as a prescription osteoporosis medication and is used for the purpose of both halting bone breakdown and enhancing new bone formation.

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