Osteoporosis: Exploring the Alternatives

In the recent past, it wasn’t uncommon for most women to be placed on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for easing the symptoms of menopause, in addition to protecting them from osteoporosis. But that standard of care has since changed with the discovery that HRT may increase the risk of breast cancer and heart disease. Without the use of HRT, it has become increasingly challenging to treat and prevent osteoporosis. Many women have turned to other pharmacological options, like selective estrogen receptor modulators (raloxifene; Evista) and bisphosphonates (alendronate; Fosamax), but these medications aren’t without their side effects, either. Raloxifene can increase the risk of blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and the lungs (pulmonary embolism), while alendronate can cause severe damage to the esophagus and may increase the risk of thigh bone fracture. [Read more…]

Osteoporosis and Strontium

Osteoporosis can present many challenges in clinical practice, particularly in women who have a history of estrogen-sensitive cancers. This is further complicated if they are sensitive to the typical bisphosphonate drugs (Fosamax, Boniva, etc.) that are usually relied upon to treat osteoporosis. Plus, recent evidence is suggesting that these drugs may actually weaken bone strength, actually increasing the risk of fracture.

For women who fit this clinical picture, or simply wish to avoid the risks and side-effects often associated with bisphosphonate drugs, the mineral strontium may be a viable treatment option. In Europe and other parts of the world, strontium (in the form of strontium ranelate) is being prescribed as a reliable treatment for osteoporosis. Among other benefits, it has been shown to enhance the activity of cells that regenerate new bone, reducing the overall risk of fracture in women with osteoporosis and osteopenia.
Other forms of strontium, such as strontium citrate, are just now beginning to undergo clinical trials, but clinical evidence looks promising so far. Talk to your naturopathic physician about whether you are a candidate for strontium or other alternatives to prescription drug therapy for osteoporosis.