Strontium Supplements

[BPSDB]The pill-pushers over at naturalnews are now telling us how wonderful strontium supplements are. This is a classical illustration of why you should not take health advice from supplement fans.

In her paean to the wonderfulness of strontium Melanie Grimes (apparantly an adjunct faculty member at Bastyr University. She’s also a homeopath – quite why she’s pushing supplements is not clear. I would have thought that they are dangerously allopathic.) claims that there are “no known side effects” of this supplement. She obviously has not done much research because according to Wikipedia “The most common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, headache and eczema, but with only 2–4% increase compared with placebo group”. While this suggests that the side effects are not a major problem, clearly it is still a long way from having “no known side effects”.

As well as the above, the net doctor website adds
Blood clots in the blood vessels (venous thromboembolism, eg deep vein thrombosis).
Fainting.
Memory loss.
Seizures.
Vomiting.
Sore mouth.
Abdominal pain.
Allergic reactions.

This site also points out that strontium ranelate is used for treating osteoporosis in post-menopausal women and should not be used by children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with severely decreased kidney function or those who have previously shown an allergic reaction to it. Grimes neglects to mention any of this.

She also fails to mention that the effectiveness of the medicine may be reduced if calcium supplements, mulivitamins or other medicines containing calcium are taken from two hours before to two hours after taking strontium ranelate. Would it be terribly patronising to say that anybody who takes health advice from naturalnews.com is likely to be taking these supplements?

Nor does she mention that this medicine may also reduce the absorption of tetracycline antibiotics. This will of course make them less effective and help breed resistant strains of bacteria, making the diseases harder to treat. This will feed into the nutritionistas and homeopaths notions that antibiotics don’t work but I thought it was supposed to be Big Pharma who sold drugs to make us sicker?

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11 Responses to “Strontium Supplements”

  1. warhelmet Says:

    i thought that Melanie Grimes bred llamas and had a shoe empire as well as writing ill-informed crap?

  2. Twitter Trackbacks for Strontium Supplements « Letting Off Steam [jaycueaitch.wordpress.com] on Topsy.com Says:

    […] Strontium Supplements « Letting Off Steam jaycueaitch.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/strontium-supplements – view page – cached [BPSDB]The pill-pushers over at naturalnews are now telling us how wonderful strontium supplements are. This is a classical illustration of why you should not take health advice from supplement fans. — From the page […]

  3. draust Says:

    You wouldn’t just have to avoid:

    “calcium supplements… or other medicines containing calcium”

    – for 2 hrs before or after: it would be a similar problem to be taking any food rich in calcium, which basically means milk or anything largely made from it, like yoghurt or cheese.

    Perhaps not a problem for Woo-mad types with “dairy intolerance” and hence eschewing milk / cheese intake, but presumably not all of the Worried Well have binned dairy.

    Actually, though, I would bet money that:

    (i) popular “multi-nutrient” supplements containing strontium probably have several hundred times more calcium than strontium in them, so there is likely to be minimal absorption of strontium; and

    (ii) the amount of strontium in these products is likely to be piddling – I would guess of the order of milligrams – which is way below the therapeutic dose and will almost certainly do naff all, even if it were absorbed, which it likely won't be.

    So – er – sounds like yet another flim-flam "magic ingredient" to help shift those multi-vitamin formulas. How drearily predictable.

    NB: Bastyr University, a name familiar to those following the US “naturopathic medicine” scene, is a private naturopathic school in the Pacific NW.

    And in the US “Adjunct Faculty” are people who are hired by the term (i.e. not permanent or even necessarily “repeat” staff members) to teach a specific course or courses. So I would hazard a guess that the likely nature of Grimes’ “adjunct appointment” at Bastyr is that they pay her to teach a course on homeopathy.

    Whether that would give you confidence in her ability to tell you anything useful about remedies for osteoporosis I will leave to your, er, imagination.

  4. draust Says:

    oops – sorry – crap HTML – was supposed to be after “more calcium”

  5. draust Says:

    “sigh” – frakkin’ HTML interpreters. I meant the bold type was only supposed to be on the words “more calcium”.

  6. jaycueaitch Says:

    Now edited to read as you wanted. Interesting info on Bastyr University, thanks for that.

  7. warhelmet Says:

    Yup, Bastyr is known as “Bastard” in certain circles. Erm, I’m not sure, but aren’t their qualifications worthless and not recognised?

  8. Rik Cederstrom Says:

    Bastyr is a Naturopathic college giving the N.D. degree. It is licensed and recognized in most states. It’s worth is up to you. If you don’t use a Naturopath, I suppose it is worthless. There is no Homeopath degree. That was eliminated by the AMA offensive a century ago. Presumably, Dr. Grimes is an N.D. who specializes in Homeopathy. She would still be highly qualified to evaluate and report on supplements. From the tone of this blog, maybe this isn’t the information you want to hear?

  9. jaycueaitch Says:

    Presumably Dr. Grimes is an N.D.? You’re just guessing in other words.

    In any event, since homeopathic nostrums are diluted to non-existance whereas naturapathic remedies do contain active ingredients, homeopathy and naturopathy are contradictory. If a homeopath was consistant s/he would reject naturopathy as it is in fact allopathic.

    Not sure what you mean by the “tone” of the blog. Do you find the requirement for evidence offensive?

  10. Megan Cornish Says:

    I’m not a reader of Natural News, but came across the research that’s been done on strontium, which seems to show pretty clearly that doses in the range of 680mg of strontium indeed build stronger bones and reduce fractures in people with osteoporosis. The side effects were at larger doses. As someone with osteoporosis who just suffered a fracture, I’m glad to hear about this stuff, and will try it. It’s not that hard to take the calcium supplement separately. another supplement I’d recommend for practically everyone is Vitamin D, which most people are deficient in, and which can cause osteoporosis. Don’t my word for it, get a blood test.

  11. Geoffrey Taylor Says:

    My wife has been taking strontium for over five years now. The Dr wanted to put her on fosamax, we looked that up, it’s a scary thing. We did our research on strontium from a Canadian company, any contraindications were minor compared to the scary jawbone killing side effects of fosamax. Let us not forget that the medical profession is not required, nor do most of them bother, to do more than about 40 hours study on nutrition in their whole university time. Yet they have the audacity to get all uppity should that be mentioned to them. I’d equate it to a mechanic going to school to study engines and learning nothing about the fuel system. My wife has had a positive trend in bone density on her last two check ups and she doesn’t have osteonecrosis.

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