Isn’t That Stuff Dangerous?
A reader question answered by Nurse mark
Some memories stay with us forever it seems – especially childhood memories of things that frightened us. The “radiation scares” of the 1950′s and 1960′s created just such memories when as kids we were given dire warnings and taught to “protect” ourselves from scenarios that frightened our elders far more than they should have frightened us…
Such was the case with strontium – specifically the isotope strontium 90 which is radioactive, has a moderately long half-life, and an affinity for bone.
This of course leads to confusion between the various forms of strontium – as is evident in the question that Kay recently sent us:
Subject: non-radioactive vs. radioactive strontium
Message: I recently bought a vitamin called “Bone Strength” made by a
company called New Chapter. One of the ingredients is “strontium from
algae.” Having grown up in the 50′s during the Strontium 90 scare, I
still cannot bring myself to take these vitamins.
With or without the “90″ the word “strontium” still sends chills down
my bony spine! How do I KNOW this is safe?
We remember the “Duck and Cover” drills too!
Strontium 90 is indeed bad stuff, while natural strontium is quite stable and safe. Strontium 90 is a synthetic form of the element, created during various nuclear processes.
Here is a brief summary taken from Wikipedia:
Strontium is a chemical element with the symbol Sr and the atomic number 38. An alkaline earth metal, strontium is a soft silver-white or yellowish metallic element that is highly reactive chemically. The metal turns yellow when exposed to air. It occurs naturally in the minerals celestine and strontianite. While natural strontium is stable, the synthetic 90Sr isotope is present in radioactive fallout and has a half-life of 28.90 years. Both strontium and strontianite are named after Strontian, a village in Scotland near which the mineral was first discovered.
We have written about the benefits of strontium in our HealthBeat Newsletter: http://healthbeatnews.com/strontium-the-missing-mineral-for-strong-bones/
As we are not familiar with the brand of supplement that you mention we cannot comment on it’s purity, safety, or efficacy. You do not mention what other ingredients that this formula contains, but I would caution that some “bone formulas” include calcium and strontium in the same formula. While not dangerous is also not effective since the strontium and calcium compete with each other and should be taken apart for best benefit.
The source of your supplement formula’s strontium raises some questions as well, since algae organisms tend to filter out and concentrate any number of things (including strontium) but are incapable of differentiating between the various isotopes of strontium. Since strontium 90 is an isotope of strontium found in nuclear fallout, and nuclear fallout from any number of recent incidents from Chernobyl to Fukushima may have contaminated the water that the algae is growing in, we would want some assurances from the supplement maker that the strontium in that product is a safe form of the element.
Dr. Myatt offers a pharmaceutical grade of strontium (not a “combination formula”) which is simple strontium carbonate. You can find more information about this supplement here: http://www.drmyattswellnessclub.com/Strontium.htm
Here is an article we wrote some time ago that discusses Dr. Myatt’s quality control standards for any product or supplement that she offers – it is well worth a read if you are concerned about the quality of the supplements that you take: http://healthbeatnews.com/a-potpourri-of-questions/
For more information about maintaining healthy bones, please see our page on osteoporosis here: http://www.drmyattswellnessclub.com/osteoporosis.htm
Remember that it is not just calcium or strontium that are necessary for bone health – magnesium, boron, and other minerals are vital for bone health, and you need to be sure that your digestive system is up to par to allow you to assimilate these nutrients.
Hope this helps,
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