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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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Stopping Strontium Before Total Calcium Test

I started taking strontium citrate in 01/2008. In 2009, I had three tests for total serum calcium as part of three comprehensive metabolic panels (CMPs). On those occasions, I did NOT stop taking strontium prior to blood collection. The first two results were normal (10.1 & 9.7), but the third was slightly elevated (10.3, reference range 8.6 to 10.2 mg/dL). In 2010, I skipped my strontium dose the night before the test; my calcium was normal (9.8). In 2012, I switched labs and stopped taking strontium for 11 days prior to the test. My calcium was 10.3 but fell within the reference range (8.5 to 10.5 mg/dL) for the new lab. In 2013, I stopped strontium for 12 days before the test, and my calcium was 9.5.

Collection Date     Stopped Strontium?          Total Calcium           Ref. Range
01/06/2009                       No                               10.1                        8.6-10.2
03/19/2009                       No                                 9.7                        8.6-10.2
12/28/2009                       No                               10.3 H                    8.6-10.2
12/09/2010            Yes, night before test               9.8                       8.6-10.2
07/24/2012*          Yes, 11 days before test         10.3                     *8.5-10.5
11/12/2013            Yes, 12 days before test           9.5                      8.5-10.5 

*2012, switched labs-- Note different reference range.
All values are in mg/dL.

I have read that strontium reaches peak blood levels in 12 days of strontium intake. Servier, the manufacturer of strontium ranelate, has stated that sr. ranelate interferes with colorimetric tests for calcium. Automated total serum calcium tests are colorimetric. Urine calcium tests are usually colorimetric. If you stop taking strontium for 12 days or more, your blood level should be significantly lower than peak level. Therefore, it may be a good idea to stop taking strontium 12-14 days prior to having blood drawn for a total serum calcium and prior to collecting urine for a urine calcium test. Urine calcium values may vary considerably and are only meaningful if the patient is kept on a low-calcium, neutral-ash diet for three days before collection.

Using myself as a test subject, I do not have sufficient data to determine whether stopping strontium citrate for 12-14 days prior to a blood test significantly affects my total serum calcium levels. Stay posted. I am due for another blood test in a couple of weeks and am stopping strontium for more than 12 days before the test.

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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.