Strontium is a silvery gray element that was first discovered in the early 1800s. It is a soft, easily worked metal that resembles calcium. Because of this similarity, strontium can replace calcium in certain processes in the body. Strontium may promote extra calcium uptake into bones.
Strontium has sixteen forms: twelve radioactive and four nonradioactive. Strontium-88 is the most common form, making up 83% of natural strontium. Strontium-90 is a radioactive form that earned public attention for being a dangerous byproduct released from nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s. Strontium-89 chloride is another radioactive form used to reduce pain in people with cancer and is the active ingredient in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug Metastron®.
In the United States, strontium salts (carbonate, chloride, citrate, gluconate, sulfate, etc.) are available as dietary supplements. According to secondary sources, the most common form of strontium found in dietary supplements is strontium chloride. Strontium chloride, as well as strontium acetate, may be found in dental products like Sensodyne®, a toothpaste used to reduce pain caused by teeth sensitivity.
In Europe, strontium ranelate is a prescription drug used for osteoporosis. It is marketed under the trade names Protos®, Protelos®, Osseor®, Bivalos®, and Protaxos®. According to previous and ongoing research, strontium ranelate may prevent bone loss, increase bone strength, and reduce fractures in postmenopausal women. It may also benefit people with osteoarthritis.
Strontium nitrate has been studied for skin irritation and inflammation caused by allergic reactions to cosmetics, personal care products, and drugs, and during occupational exposure. However, large, well-designed trials are needed before a conclusion can be made.
According to experts, taking calcium and strontium at the same time may reduce strontium absorption. Strontium ranelate should not be used in people with kidney problems. Preliminary studies suggest that strontium may increase the risk of artery blockages.

Related Terms

84Sr, 86Sr, 87Sr, 88Sr, 89Sr, 90Sr, alkaline earth metal, atomic number 38, Bisfil-P, Bivalos®, celestine, celestite, Crest®, element, estroncio (Spanish), group 2 (IIA), Hyposen®, isotope, Metastron®, metal, nonessential trace mineral, nonradioactive element, Osseor®, Protaxos®, Protelos®, Protos®, radioactive isotope, radioisotope, radiopharmaceutical, ranelic acid, Sensodyne®, Sr, Sr ranelate, SrCO3, SrH2, SrO, SrRan, SrSO4, SrTiO3, stable strontium, strontia, strontianite, strontium acetate, strontium aluminate, strontium barium niobate, strontium carbonate, strontium chloride, strontium chloride hexahydrate, strontium chromate, strontium citrate, strontium gluconate, strontium hydride, strontium hydroxide, strontium malonate, strontium nitrate, strontium nitride, strontium oxide, strontium phosphide, strontium polyacrylate, strontium ranelate, strontium salts, strontium sulfate, strontium titanate, strontium-84, strontium-86, strontium-87, strontium-87:strontium-86, strontium-88, strontium-89, strontium-89 chloride, strontium-90.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Cancer (Grade: A)
Strontium-89 chloride may relieve bone pain associated with prostate and breast cancer. Metastron® is an FDA-approved drug for this use. In clinical research, up to 80% of people reported improvement and 10% reported complete pain relief.
Dental conditions (Grade: A)
Strontium chloride and strontium acetate, found in dental products like Sensodyne® and Hyposen®, are used for reducing the pain and discomfort of sensitive teeth. Studies suggest that brushing twice daily with toothpastes containing strontium acetate has helped with long-lasting pain relief.
Osteoporosis (Grade: A)
Clinical studies have found that strontium ranelate can prevent bone loss, increase bone strength, and reduce fractures in postmenopausal women. Evidence suggests that treatment compliance may further reduce the risk of hip fractures.
Osteoarthritis (Grade: B)
Some studies have found that strontium ranelate may reduce back pain and slow the development of spinal osteoarthritis. However, more studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Skin irritation (Grade: B)
Strontium salts been found to have an anti-itch, anti-irritant effect against some cosmetics and chemical peels, without numbing side effects. Studies found that applying 20% strontium nitrate to the arm for 30 minutes decreased allergic itch. However, more studies are needed before a clear conclusion can be made.