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, May 2, 2014

Should You Stop Taking Strontium and/or Calcium Before a Scan?

You should stop taking calcium and strontium supplements 24-48 hours prior to your bone density test. Calcium and strontium are very dense materials. If they do not dissolve, they could be seen in the intestines that cross over the area of the spine being measured and could affect the spine BMD results. Most calcium supplements (e.g. calcium citrate) will dissolve well, but others (e.g. calcium carbonate) may take longer to dissolve completely.

Here are two references that mention calcium and DXA scans. I don’t have a reference for strontium, but the same would hold true for it since it is even denser than calcium. ne_densitometry_92,P07664/ See: “Before the procedure.” This article says, “…you may be advised to stop taking calcium supplements 24-48 hours prior to your bone density test.” Apparently, some testing centers provide this advice, but mine did not.  

Two days before my last DXA scan, I stopped taking my calcium/magnesium supplement, my strontium citrate, and my multivitamin. Don't forget that your multivitamin contains calcium, and it is usually calcium carbonate. See: “Why can’t I take calcium before the test?” This article says, “These days most calcium supplements will dissolve well but you should notify the technologist if you took calcium so she can see whether it appears in the spine scan.” I say that it is better to avoid the problem altogether and not have to have a repeat DXA scan.

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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.