Skeleton Pirate

Skeleton Pirate
Artist: LindaB


Have you experienced, or read about, negative, and even dangerous, side effects from Fosamax (alendronate), Boniva (ibandronate), Actonel (risedronate), and other bisphosphonates prescribed for osteoporosis? If you have, then rest assured there is a safe, effective treatment for this condition. Strontium, primarily in the form of strontium citrate, is taken orally once a day.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Update On My Calcium And Magnesium Intake

For many years, I have been taking one tablet per day of KAL Calcium Magnesium Extra Strength, which contains 500 mg calcium (as calcium carbonate and calcium amino acid chelate), 250 mg magnesium (as magnesium oxide and magnesium amino acid chelate), 15 mg sodium, and 50 mg betaine HCl.  I was buying it at my local health food store, but I found a replacement that I think is even better and will be ordering it soon from, an online distributor I've been getting my strontium and a couple of other supplements from.

The new product is Country Life, Gluten Free, Calcium Magnesium Complex 1000 mg/500 mg in two tablets, 360 tablets, $20.23. The calcium is in the form of calcium hydroxyapatite, citrate, aspartate, alpha-ketoglutarate, and lysinate. The magnesium is in the form of magnesium oxide, citrate, taurinate, alpha-ketoglutarate, and aspartate. Each tablet contains 500 mg calcium, 250 mg magnesium, and 250 mg phosphorus (as calcium hydroxyapatite).

In addition to a calcium/magnesium supplement, I take a multivitamin, Nature Made Multi For Her 50+, which I buy online at when the company has one of their frequent “buy one, get one free” offers. This multivitamin contains 200 mg calcium, 100 mg magnesium, 1000 IU vitamin D3, 80 mcg vitamin K, and many other key nutrients.

For breakfast, I have 12 oz fat-free milk, which gives me 450 mg calcium. At lunch, I take the 500 mg calcium/250 mg magnesium supplement. With supper, I take my multivitamin for 200 mg calcium and 100 mg magnesium. That comes to 1150 mg calcium, without counting other food sources. The RDA for women 50+ is 1200 mg calcium per day. I may cut back to 8 oz milk (300 mg calcium) on days when I know I’ll be having something calcium rich for supper.  


Anonymous said...

Hi vitacost is much cheaper for the country life and stontium

BoneLady said...

To Anonymous of 3/3/12:

Yes, vitacost has great prices. I have read comments from others who are happy shopping there.

One thing I like about iherb is that their standard free shipping is by UPS, which I can track and is quick and reliable. I don't know what shipping method vitacost uses.

Kathy said...

Vitamin K

Thanks so much for your blog. I'm a 62 year old woman living in the NW US. I have osteopenia. A friend in the UK told me about strontium and then I found your blog. It is so difficult to find good information on the net in other than piece-meal form and I am very grateful for your outreach and well-considered information.

Can you enlighten me on the Vitamin K situation? I've ordered strontium supplements (in the mail). I already take Ca and Vit D3 but my pal in the UK says I need Vit K also. Is this true and if so, why?

I quit taking multi-vits when I saw some Doctor on TV saying it was a waste of money.



BoneLady said...


I consider my multivitamin an integral part of my daily supplements. Nature Made Multi For Her 50+ contains 22 key nutrients, including 1000 IU vitamin D3, 200 mg calcium, 100 mg magnesium, and 80 mcg vitamin K1. My daily diet includes leafy greens, which are full of vitamin K1.

I am not taking vitamin K2 as either MK4 or MK7. Some people are taking vitamin K2 for osteoporosis and/or for preventing arterial calcification. There is some evidence that it may work for both. The Japanese have done most of the studies on MK4 for osteoporosis, and they recommend 45 mg daily for women with osteoporosis. The COMB study in Canada gave patients 100 mcg/day of Vitamin K2 (non-synthetic MK7 form), along with strontium citrate and other supplements, and followed their progress for one year.

A friend provided me with a link to a study that makes a good case for MK4, but it concludes by saying the following:

“Studies from the medical literature support the safety and efficacy of MK4 as a potential therapeutic agent in preventing and treating osteoporosis and BRONJ and should be the subject of future research.”

Here is the link: is-and-osteonecrosis-of-the-jaw-preventing-and-treating-bronj-with-mk4

Here is a quote from that article:
"A 2006 meta-analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine by Cockayne et al at the University of York in England evaluated clinical trials on MK4 and fracture risk.63 They identified 13 randomized, controlled trials of the effect of MK4 on osteoporosis. Of those, seven had fracture risk as an end point and thus were included in their meta-analysis. They concluded that 45 mg of MK4 decreases vertebral fracture by 60%, hip fracture by 73%, and all nonvertebral fractures by 81%."

There is much discussion about vitamin K at, including a discussion I recently started about a University of Wisconsin study on postmenopausal women who did not have osteoporosis. The researchers concluded the following: “This preliminary analysis does not support a role for vitamin K treatment in bone turnover or density among postmenopausal North American women receiving calcium and vitamin D supplementation.”

Here is a link to this article:

So, Kathy, you must make up your own mind. I am following the research and the online chatter about vitamin K2. I have not made up my mind as yet.

Keep well.

Kathy said...

Thank you so much for your thoughts and the references. I'm seeing bald 'Vit K' content on the bottles of multi-vits at my favorite store. I'll give it some more thought before I spring: meanwhile I'm knocking back the tabouli (parsley salad)...can't hurt.

The conversations on '' are interesting. There isn't too much information on side-effects. My pal started taking the prescribed strontium ranelate a couple weeks ago and is telling me she's exhausted and thinks it's associated.

Do you have any thoughts on that and have you heard of similar side effects with the citrate form?


BoneLady said...

Hi! Kathy,

Exhaustion has been reported in a post-marketing study by a few individuals taking strontium ranelate. The study was created by eHealthMe based on five reports from the FDA and user community.

On Apr, 3, 2012: 133 people reported to have side effects when taking Strontium ranelate. Among them, 5 people (3.76%) have Exhaustion, Fatigue, Lethargy, Tiredness, Weariness. The top conditions involved for these people included: 1. Dependence, 2. Type1 diabetes mellitus, 3. Hypertension, 4. Rheumatoid arthritis, and 5. Immunization. The top co-used drugs for these people were: 1. Lansoprazole, 2. Alendronic acid, 3. Calcium carbonate, 4. Betahistine hydrochloride, and 5. Telmisartan.

Alendronic acid is Fosamax. No one would be prescribed both strontium ranelate and alendronic acid at the same time, but some people may have combined an earlier prescription for one medication with a current prescription for another. Or, they could have both prescriptions (from different doctors) that they combined. I have heard of people combining Fosamax and strontium citrate.,+fatigue,+lethargy,+tiredness,+weariness

Diana-A, a 63-year-old female with osteoporosis, celiac disease, and migraines, said at that after one month on strontium citrate, she felt extremely tired and her migraine headaches seemed worse. She stopped taking strontium and the symptoms went away. She discontinued using strontium.

You will note that the patients on strontium ranelate and the one on strontium citrate had other medical problems in addition to osteoporosis. The patients on strontium ranelate were taking other medications and the supplement, calcium carbonate. The patient on strontium citrate was taking other supplements, and, I suppose, something for the migraines, but she did not specify what she was using.

Kathy said...

Thank you so much. It seems like it's pretty rare as a rare side-effect. I'll check with my pal about the Ca carbonate.


Anonymous said...

I stopped taking calcium hydroxyapatite some years ago after checking into the lead (contamination) content of my supplement, information which the distributor kindly supplied on my request. (The distributor thought the content was fine, but it looked high to me.)

If I recall correctly, lead contamination is a general problem with calcium derived from bone, such as hydroxyapatite.


BoneLady said...


In the 1980s, bone meal calcium supplements were found to be contaminated with heavy metals, and they are not recommended today. My Country Life Calcium/Magnesium supplement is a vegetarian formulation. The calcium hydroxyapatite in it is probably synthetic. There is also calcium hydroxyapatite from coral. I would not take the bovine bone calcium hydroxyapatite. Also, my distributor, iherb, is based in California, which has the highest standards for supplements. If the product contained lead, even in very low dosages that might be acceptable to the FDA, the state would make the company add a label to the product to the effect that it contains lead.

Thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

Hello! I am a 62 year old woman who was diagnosed with osteopenia 5 years ago. My T scores were -1.6 in the left leg and -2.00 in my spine. After much research, I discovered Dr's Best Strontium Bone Maker. I faithfully have taken 680 mg. every night before bed, the proper amount of calcium, D3 and K2. I just got the results of my new bone density test today. After five years, my spine is now -.88!! Wow! That is a great increase. My left hip slightly decreased to -1.95. I am not surprised about my hip, I hurt it moving one year ago, so I sure that is the reason for the slight decrease. However, I am thrilled with the increase in my spine. I was upgraded to "Normal"! My conclusion is Strontium certainly works!! I also eat cottage cheese and tuna weekly. I will continue with my supplements and I am going to add some good hip exercises. For everyone hesitant about Strontium, I have had xero side effects and great increase in bone density!

BoneLady said...

To Anonymous of 05/02/12:

Congratulations on your improved DXA results after five years of taking Doctor's Best Strontium Bone Maker, calcium, D3 and K2. It is inspiring to hear from people like you. Thank you for writing.

Wandering Skeleton

Wandering Skeleton
Artist: Joel Hoekstra

Osteoporotic Bone

Osteoporotic Bone

How Strontium Builds Bones

Strontium is a mineral that tends to accumulate in bone. Studies have shown that oral doses of strontium are a safe and effective way to prevent and reverse osteoporosis. Doses of 680 mg per day appear to be optimal. See my "For More Information About Strontium" links section.

Osteoporosis is caused by changes in bone production. In healthy young bones there is a constant cycle of new bone growth and bone removal. With age, more bone is removed and less new bone is produced. The bones become less dense and thus more fragile.

Scientists believe that strontium works in two ways. It may stimulate the replication of pre-osteoblasts, leading to an increase in osteoblasts (cells that build bone). Strontium also directly inhibits the activity of osteoclasts (cells that break down bone). The result is stronger bones.

When taking strontium, be sure to take 1200 mg calcium, 1000 IU vitamin D3, and 500 mg magnesium daily. It is best to take strontium late at night on an empty stomach. Calcium and strontium may compete with each other for absorption if taken together.