Strontium Ranelate, the synthetic form of natural strontium, brought to market by the French pharmaceutical company Servier, has been on the market for some time. This summer has produced a number of new articles about Strontium ranelate.

In July there was a report from scientists in Lisbon, Portugal that gave a review of research studies. They noted that strontium ranelate is able to both increase the activity of osteoblast cells [bone building] and slow osteoclast [bone removal] cells. They also note that ALL parts of bone, including the critical trabecular bone, shows improvement.

If you want the exact reference, here it is:

"Strontium ranelate is able to increase pre-osteoblast replication, osteoblast differentiation, collagen type I synthesis and bone matrix mineralization probably through a calcium-sensing receptor (CaR)-dependent mechanism. Paralleling this anabolic effect there is inhibition of osteoclast differentiation and activity mediated by an increase in osteoprotegerin (OPG) and a decrease in RANK ligand (RANKL). The overall effect is a rebalanced bone turnover in favour of improved bone geometry, cortical thickness, trabecular bone morphology and intrinsic bone tissue quality, which translates into enhanced bone strength."


In June 2008 the journal, Arthritis Rheum. published "Effects of long-term strontium ranelate treatment on the risk of nonvertebral and vertebral fractures in postmenopausal osteoporosis: Results of a five-year, randomized, placebo-controlled trial." that was authored by scientists at University of Liège, Liège, Belgium.

Note: Randomized, placebo controlled trials are as strong as they get. They are the 'top of the line' in pharmaceutical studies. Here is the abstract of the article. The CONCLUSION of the scientists:

" Our findings indicate that treatment of post menopausal osteoporosis with strontium ranelate results in a sustained reduction in the incidence of osteoporotic nonvertebral fractures, including hip fractures, and vertebral fractures over 5 years."

For those who want more details, here is the abstract of the study:

OBJECTIVE: This study was undertaken to assess the effect of strontium ranelate on nonvertebral and vertebral fractures in post menopausal women with osteoporosis in a 5-year, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

METHODS: A total of 5,091 post menopausal women with osteoporosis were randomized to receive either strontium ranelate at 2 gm/day or placebo for 5 years. The main efficacy criterion was the incidence of nonvertebral fractures. In addition, incidence of hip fractures was assessed, by post hoc analysis, in the subset of 1,128 patients who were at high risk of fractures (age 74 years or older with lumbar spine and femoral neck bone mineral density T scores -2.4 or less).

The incidence of new vertebral fractures was assessed, using the semiquantitative method described by Genant, in the 3,646 patients in whom spinal radiography (a nonmandatory procedure) was performed during the course of the study. Fracture data were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier survival method.

RESULTS: Of the 5,091 patients, 2,714 (53%) completed the study up to 5 years. The risk of nonvertebral fracture was reduced by 15% in the strontium ranelate group compared with the placebo group (relative risk 0.85 [95% confidence interval 0.73-0.99]).

The risk of hip fracture was decreased by 43% (relative risk 0.57 [95% confidence interval 0.33-0.97])

and the risk of vertebral fracture was decreased by 24% (relative risk 0.76 [95% CI 0.65-0.88]) in the strontium ranelate group. After 5 years, the safety profile of strontium ranelate remained unchanged compared with the 3-year findings.

As for side effects - There appear to be few.

2 - 4% of users report nausea, diarrhea, headache and/or eczema. There are cautions that the drug should not be used by those with renal disease and there are reports of a few cases of thrombosis (blood clots.) But all that would be discussed with your health care provider.

I realize that this drug is not available in every country and that some of us who want to use strontium, need to take a non-pharmaceutical supplement of natural strontium - used by the Mayo clinic and elsewhere.

Before you ask: I believe that there will NEVER be 'double blind placebo controlled studies' of natural supplements. These studies cost a great deal of money and since no natural supplement can get a patent, there is no way to recoup the costs on the part of manufacturers. If you are interested in reading more, use the Index of the web site to find Strontium and Protelos (the name used in several countries for strontium ranelate.)

If you want more information about either the drug or the natural form, use the Index page on the web site and scroll down to Strontium or Protelos (drug). I shall be adding these recent studies in a few weeks.

Special Note to you loyal readers:

Despite my good will, there have been few additions to the web site this summer. I have been struggling with Lyme disease for some months and just needed a 'breather'. My hope is to get back in the swing of things in September.

Thank you for reading. Much good health to you.