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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Thursday, June 11, 2015

My Daily Supplements

I have written about my supplements in previous posts but have made several changes since then. The following list is an update of all my supplements. I have alphabetized them by brand name. I take one of each daily unless otherwise noted. The Ca/Mg (#3) and strontium (#5) are primarily for bone health. The multivitamin (#6) is for general health, as are most of the other supplements. The probiotic (#9) is for digestive health. I take lecithin (#1) as an aid in preventing cholesterol buildup in the arteries and to combat heart disease. I take a large dose (5000 mcg) of methylcobalamin (#10) (vitamin B12) daily because taking a statin drug to reduce cholesterol also reduces vitamin B12. My husband takes B12 to keep from getting the canker sores that once plagued him. Methylcobalamin is more effective than cyanocobalamin; he tried both.

No one should copy my supplement protocol because each person’s needs are unique to him or her. I hope publishing this list will give others a place to start in forming their own protocol.  
  1. Bluebonnet Lecithin, 1365 mg in one softgel (I take two softgels daily.)
  2. Country Life Citrus Bioflavonoids, 1000 mg
  3. Country Life, Gluten Free, Calcium Magnesium Complex (500 mg Ca, 250 mg Mg per tablet)
  4. Doctor’s Best Lutein, 20 mg lutein esters yielding 10 mg minimum free lutein, 2 mg zeaxanthin
  5. Doctor’s Best Strontium Bone Maker, 2194 mg strontium citrate, 680 mg elemental strontium in two capsules (two capsules daily)
  6. Nature Made Multi for Him, No Iron (Not a typo. My husband and I both take this multivitamin.)
  7. Nature Made Vitamin C, 500 mg
  8. Nature’s Bounty Vitamin E, 100 % Natural, 400 IU
  9. Nature’s Way Primadophilus bifidus (This is a probiotic.)
10. Solgar Sublingual Methylcobalamin, 5000 mcg
11. Twin Labs Zinc, 50 mg

Notes on My Supplements

I always keep a couple of bottles of Nature’s Bounty Ginger Root capsules, 550 mg, in my refrigerator and take them for nausea and upset stomach as needed. If I don’t have fresh ginger and need ginger for a recipe, I just open a few, usually three, capsules and use the ginger powder for cooking.

I don’t take a separate vitamin D supplement because my multivitamin contains 1000 IU. I also try to get some sun each week. Some people may need more vitamin D if a 25(OH)D test shows they have a deficiency or insufficiency of this vitamin.

I do not take vitamin K2. Many people take this vitamin for bone and cardiac health. There is some debate about which form (MK4 or MK7) and what dosage of this vitamin one should take. The Japanese studies used 45 mg MK4, and patients are prescribed this dosage by physicians in Japan. The MK7 is taken in microgram dosages. Some people experience sleeplessness when taking MK7. No RDA/RDI has been established for vitamin K2 of either form. Studies in the US and Europe have not confirmed the efficacy of vitamin K2 for bone or cardiac health.

Notes on My Multivitamin

Nature Made has a Multi for Her, Multi for Him, Multi for Her 50+, and Multi for Him 50+. All the formulations are similar except the Multi for Her, which I will not take because it contains iron. Supplemental iron is not needed by men and postmenopausal women unless they have been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. Excessive iron can lead to iron toxicity. I have taken the other three formulations at one time or another, depending on what was available. 

What I like about the Nature Made multivitamins is that they are USP-verified, and that is rare to find. It gives me assurance that the multis contain the vitamins and minerals in the dosages specified and have no impurities.  Nature Made Vitamin C is also USP-verified, as are many of that brand’s other vitamins.

My Supplement History

On 8/5/2010, I posted all my supplements on my blog.
On 09/30/2011, I posted about the three supplements I was taking specifically for bone health.
On 03/2/2012, I posted an update on my calcium/magnesium supplement.

COMB Study

You might also be interested in the protocol used in the COMB study.


Kathy said...

Hi Bone Lady,

ME again...the bad penny! Are you taking an actual Statin drug or only the lecithin supplement? I'm taking 10 mg Atorvastatin daily but only Mk7 (100 mg daily) and no extra B12. Do you have any links where I could read up about the B12 issue?

many thanks

I'm going for my annual physical tomorrow and going to ask the Doc about maybe taking Chlorthalidone so I can take Strontium supplements again. I'm a bit nervous about how that will go down. I'm also finding it very difficult to juggle so much information in my mind. As I get older, I am taking more and more supplements but I understand less and less....


BoneLady said...

Hi! Kathy,

I take lecithin with supper and 40 mg simvastatin just before bedtime.

Vegans, heavy drinkers, and the elderly should supplement with vitamin B12.

A few statin users have reported developing B12 deficiencies after being on statins for a number of years (after 2 – 5 years for those on simvastatin and 5 – 10 years for those on atorvastatin). Vitamin B12 is important in fat and sugar metabolism. Recent studies have shown statins increase the risk for type 2 diabetes. Do statins deplete vitamin B12 or did the people reporting deficiencies develop them from other causes, such as age, which is known to decrease B12 absorption from food? Research is needed to answer this question. In the meantime, I’m supplementing with B12.

Statins lower the levels of coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant made in the human body. CoQ10 also decreases with age. There are numerous articles about taking CoQ10 if you take a statin, particularly if you’ve had muscle pain or weakness. Well, a little-known fact is that taking CoQ10 may not be a good idea if you are taking both a statin and thyroxin, as I am. I have not had muscle problems, but I tried taking ubiquinol, the active form of CoQ10. I developed heart palpitations, and my blood pressure rose to the pre-hypertension stage. Luckily, my husband noted that I had not had these problems before taking “that stuff.” As soon as I stopped taking ubiquinol, my pressure dropped back to normal, and I had no more palpitations. I read the following after the fact:

“Use (CoQ10) cautiously in people who have thyroid problems or those taking thyroid agents. CoQ10 may affect thyroid hormone levels and interact with thyroid agents (such as Synthroid®).”

Here are a couple of articles of interest:

Could simvastatin (Zocor) cause vitamin B12 deficiency?

“Summary: Vitamin b12 deficiency is found among people who take Simvastatin, especially for people who are 60+ old, have been taking the drug for 2 - 5 years, also take medication Zometa, and have High blood pressure. We study 77,577 people who have side effects while taking Simvastatin from FDA and social media. Among them, 58 have Vitamin b12 deficiency. Find out below who they are, when they have Vitamin b12 deficiency and more.”

Could Lipitor (atorvastatin) cause vitamin B12 deficiency?

“Summary: Vitamin b12 deficiency is found among people who take Lipitor, especially for people who are female, 60+ old, have been taking the drug for 5 - 10 years, also take medication Aspirin, and have Multiple myeloma. We study 129,938 people who have side effects while taking Lipitor from FDA and social media. Among them, 87 have Vitamin b12 deficiency. Find out below who they are, when they have Vitamin b12 deficiency and more.”

Good luck on your physical! If your doctor prescribes chlorthalidone, watch your potassium.

Kathy said...

Thank you so much for all that information. I'll read the articles. I'm taking Atorvastatin and only 10 mg daily (but only for the past year) so I'm probably OK for a few years. Doc says my fats/sugars look OK.

Unfortunately he said he didn't understand about Prof Stoller's research and the whole strontium causing kidney stones issue. So I left him with the link to the original research and a copy of my email where Prof Stoller recommended I get the diuretic to take alongside the strontium supplements. I wish I felt confident my doc will study the issue but he's always in a hurry. I live in hopes. But my only actual osteoporosis level is in my arm, so I'm not too bad yet.

I'm actually much more worried about my husband who goes to the same doctor. He recently got the data from a study he was on for Odanacatib (turns out he was on placebo anyway). His T scores for the lumbar area are -3 with L4 down to -4. But those readings haven't changed in the last 8 years. Doc does not want to prescribe any drugs for that yet and DH is concerned about this kidney issue and so I cannot persuade him to take strontium supplements. I feel hopeless about this and fear he might get fractures. I can see he is getting bent in the shoulder area.

I know he appreciates your high level of scholarship and he analyses everything but he doesn't seem willing to take that extra step.


BoneLady said...


Don't forget that, in addition to strontium, you were taking excessive calcium before developing your kidney stones.

Your husband, together with his doctor, has to decide what's best for him.

I wish you both good health.

Kathy said...

Hi Bone Lady,

I've got another question for you. I am wondering if you know any good links about Atorvastatin and dosage. It can cause fatigue/depression etc (which I have noticed since I started taking it) and my cholesterol/lipid levels are excellent so I'm now wondering about the possibility of lowering the dosage. I joined a support group but it doesn't have a good search engine and so far, I'm drawing a blank on this issue.

Thanks again


BoneLady said...


The 10 mg of atorvastatin you’re taking is the lowest possible dose of this drug. The starting dose for hyperlipidemia and mixed dyslipidemia is 10 to 20 mg atorvastatin. The only way you can lower your dosage and still take a statin is to switch to another drug of this type. You can take 5 mg simvastatin for less than 24% LDL reduction or 10 mg simvastatin for 25-32% LDL reduction. Other statins with available dosages lower (ranked by % LDL reduction rather than by milligrams) than what you are taking are fluvastatin, lovastatin, and prevastatin.

Here is a link to a statin conversion chart. Many people probably think 10 mg atorvastatin is equivalent to 10 mg of the other cholesterol lowering drugs, but this is not so. The reason is that it takes different amounts of each drug to lower LDL by a certain percentage. For example, to reduce LDL by 31 – 39 % requires 10 mg atorvastatin or 20 mg simvastatin. My 40 mg simvastatin is for lowering LDL by 37-45%. The initial statin dosage prescribed depends on how high a patient’s LDL was without medication. lists unusual tiredness or weakness as a less common or rare side effect of atorvastatin, and advises you check with your doctor immediately if this occurs. Mental depression is listed under the category, “incidence not known.”

I wanted to clarify something about B12 supplementation. It’s not just for people on statins. Everyone aged 50 and older, should supplement with B12. It doesn’t have to be as high a dosage as I’m taking, and it doesn’t have to be another pill. Cereals and soymilk and other products are often fortified with B12.

“Deficiency problems typically arise as patients age. The Institute of Medicine recommends that individuals aged 50 and older receive vitamin B12 from synthetic sources (a supplement or fortified product) because unlike those naturally occurring in foods, the B12 is unbound and more apt to be available to the bowel for absorption….”

Kathy said...

Thank you Bone Lady!

Hmmm...I never eat cereal and I use regular milk (but I do eat cheese regularly). Unfortunately, I asked Doc specifically about B12 and if I needed to supplement and he said no and now I can't remember what else he said. Something about anemia. I'll ask him again next time I go in.

Thanks so much for those articles. I'll read them all


BoneLady said...


Your doctor was referring to pernicious anemia, an anemia found in people whose bodies don’t make the intrinsic factor needed to absorb vitamin B12. Doctors usually treat pernicious anemia with vitamin B12 shots.

Doctors are trained to treat diseases. Only a few medical doctors practice holistic medicine, which emphasizes lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness. So, when you ask a traditional doctor if you need to supplement with B12, he thinks you do not if you do not have a disease condition, such as pernicious anemia. However, vitamin B12 deficiency can damage the nervous system even in people who don't have anemia. Preventing a B12 deficiency should be the goal, not treating a deficiency.

Many older adults do not have enough hydrochloric acid in their stomach to absorb the vitamin B12 naturally present in food. People over 50 should get most of their vitamin B12 from fortified foods or dietary supplements because, in most cases, their bodies can absorb vitamin B12 from these sources. Vitamin B12 is found in almost all multivitamins.

Kathy said...

Thank you Bone Lady, I see you take both the multivitamin and the Solgar methylcobalamin. That's a lot of B12! The NIH is saying '2.4 mcg' daily. There's almost 8 X that in the multivitamin. I need to go read my food labels and see if there's any place where I'm already getting any! Maybe yoghurt.


BoneLady said...


Yes, I’m taking very large amounts of B12. Yes, the RDA for B12 is only 2.4 mcg.

The Nature Made Multi for Him contains 18 mcg of vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin). One nugget of Solgar methylcobalamin contains 5000 mcg of B12. I first started taking one nugget of methylcobalamin two to three times per week; later, I increased my dose to one nugget per day. I had the 5000-mcg nuggets on hand because my husband was taking them for canker sores, which used to plague him until he started taking high doses of B12. I don’t recommend that everyone take such high doses.

When high doses of vitamin B12 are given orally, only a small percentage can be absorbed, which may explain the low toxicity. Because of the low toxicity of vitamin B12, no tolerable upper intake level (UL) has been set by the US Food and Nutrition Board.

Higher doses of vitamin B12 supplements are recommended for patients taking medications that interfere with its absorption.

Because vitamin B12 malabsorption and vitamin B12 deficiency are more common in older adults, the Linus Pauling Institute recommends that adults older than 50 years take 100 to 400 mcg/day of supplemental vitamin B12.

Kathy said...

Thank you so much!

I'm going to the grocery store and check out supplements added to the food I normally buy. If that doesn't work, I'll get some multivitamins.

Thank goodness you are keeping up about these things! Those holistic doctors must be in super-high demand. I wonder why they don't train more of them!


P.S. Do you know, would the regular type of blood tests show anything indicative of malabsorption of B12? Do doctors just wait until someone becomes anemic?

BoneLady said...


In the case of pernicious anemia, a complete blood count (CBC) would indicate anemia, and the MCV included in the CBC would indicate macrocytosis (abnormally large red blood cells). CBCs are often ordered routinely. Further tests would be needed to confirm a diagnosis of pernicious anemia. Tests for vitamin B12 deficiency include serum cobalamin, serum methylmalonic acid and homocysteine.

Here is a government source for information on diagnosis and prevention of pernicious anemia:

Here is a source for evaluation of macrocytosis:

You can't prevent pernicious anemia caused by a lack of intrinsic factor (IF). Deficiency of IF is the most common cause of pernicious anemia.

You want to prevent age-related B12 deficiency caused by poor absorption from the stomach or intestines of B12 in food. This type of deficiency is common.

There was a high (14.5%) prevalence of B12 (cobalamin) deficiency as demonstrated by elevations in serum methylmalonic acid and homocysteine in addition to low or low normal serum cobalamin levels in elderly outpatients. The serum cobalamin level was insensitive for screening since similar numbers of patients with low normal serum cobalamin levels of 201-300 pg/mL compared with patients with low cobalamin levels (less than or equal to 200 pg/mL) had markedly elevated metabolites which fell with cobalamin treatment.

maykela said...


I apologize for my bad English. English is not my native language.

I am 56 years old and I was diagnosed in February with severe osteoporosis with no fractures. After further tests rule out secondary causes I was suggested Reclast infusion. After a long research I did on the net and reading forums and blogs, including your blog that was informative and very encouraging,I decided to treat my osteoporosis the natural way using supplements, previously recovered from cancer and I have no intention of using the osteo drugs.

The list of supplements that I take is -
for my eyes - lutein and billiberry.

for my osteo - D3 - 5000iu
k2 mk4 - 5mg
magnesium glycinate - 400mg (divided into twice daily)
Boron chelate - 6mg
zinc & copper - 15mg/1mg
chelated manganese - 10mg
strontium citrate 680 mg at night
Calcium I get from what I eat.

I started taking the osteo supplements gradually to see how I would react to them. The K2 - 7 that made me dizzy I changed to K2-4 . I take this supplements protocol for several weeks, but the last three weeks I feel a severe joint and muscle pain - like the flu and I wake up early in the morning and cannot fall asleep back and I wonder if the pains are due to the combination of the osteo supplements .

People, react differently to supplements and drugs, but I'd love to hear your thoughts about the pain - Is this a temporary response to the supplements? do I take too many and can settle with just D3, magnesium , Calcium from food and strontium citrate ?

I dont want to consult my doctor, she is against the natural way that I decided to be treated...

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.