Skeleton Pirate

Skeleton Pirate
Artist: LindaB


Have you experienced, or read about, negative, and even dangerous, side effects from Fosamax (alendronate), Boniva (ibandronate), Actonel (risedronate), and other bisphosphonates prescribed for osteoporosis? If you have, then rest assured there is a safe, effective treatment for this condition. Strontium, primarily in the form of strontium citrate, is taken orally once a day.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Exercise Rapidly Improves Bodies and Brains

Identical twins in Finland who shared the same sports and other physical activities as youngsters but different exercise habits as adults soon developed quite different bodies and brains, according to a new study that highlights the extent to which exercise shapes our health, even in people who have identical genes and nurturing.

The researchers found 10 pairs of young, male identical twins, one of whom regularly exercised, while the other did not. The dissimilarities in their exercise routines had mostly begun within the past three years, according to their questionnaires.

The scientists measured each man’s endurance capacity, body composition and insulin sensitivity, to determine their fitness and metabolic health. The scientists also scanned each twin’s brain.

The sedentary twins had lower endurance capacities, higher body fat percentages, and signs of insulin resistance, signaling the onset of metabolic problems. (The twins tended to have similar diets, so food choices were unlikely to have contributed to health differences.)

The twins’ brains also were unalike. The active twins had significantly more gray matter than the sedentary twins, especially in areas of the brain involved in motor control and coordination.

The researchers concluded the following:
“Among healthy adult male twins in their mid-30s, a greater level of physical activity is associated with improved glucose homeostasis and modulation of striatum and prefrontal cortex gray matter volume, independent of genetic background. The findings may contribute to later reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and mobility limitations.”

The study was small and not a formal randomized trial. But the results strongly imply that the differences in the twin’s exercise habits caused the differences in their bodies.

More subtly, the findings also point out that genetics and environment do not have to be destiny when it comes to exercise habits. Even if the input from our DNA and upbringing urges us to skip the gym, we can move more, and, based on this study, rapidly and substantially improve the condition of our bodies and brains.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fracture Risk

“Osteoporosis and resultant fractures of the spine, hip and other sites are important public health problems with significant individual and societal costs. The risk for osteoporotic fracture is based upon low bone density and the presence of one or more clinical risk factors (see Table 1). A history of fracture during adulthood or falls are important clinical factors in determining the risk of future fracture; however, age is the most influential risk factor, such that middle-aged adults with other risk factors are likely to be at low absolute fracture risk in the medium term. Using these clinical risk factors and BMD when available, fracture risk assessment tools (based upon data collected from large prospective observational studies) have been developed to estimate the 5–10 year probability of hip fracture and other fractures in untreated patients. Clinicians should be aware that fracture risk can also be estimated using the FRAX or Garvan tools without BMD data. Chronic glucocorticoid use is an established risk factor for osteoporosis, with studies showing that use of glucocorticoids leads to accelerated bone loss and an increased risk of fracture. Other drugs are increasingly recognized as potential causes of bone loss and fracture, particularly amongst predisposed individuals….”

See the following link for more on other drugs that can cause bone loss and fractures:

Table 1.  Clinical risk factors for fracture
Advancing age
Previous fracture during adulthood
History of a fall or falls in the past 12 months
Glucocorticoid therapy
Parental history of hip fracture
Low body weight
Current cigarette smoking
Excessive alcohol consumption
Medical diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, hyperparathyroidism, coeliac disease, hypogonadism)

This introduction and table appeared in “Adverse Skeletal Effects of Drugs – Beyond Glucocorticoids,” Susannah O'Sullivan, Andrew Grey, Clin Endocrinol. 2015; 82(1):12-22.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Adverse Skeletal Effects of Drugs

There is an expanding list of drugs for which there are concerns regarding adverse skeletal effects. The effect of long-term use of glucocorticoid drugs to cause accelerated bone loss and increase the risk of fracture is well recognized. For some drugs (TKIs, calcineurin inhibitors and loop diuretics), the available data are inconsistent and/or do not support a definite adverse skeletal effect. Patients receiving these drugs can be managed in line with guidelines for the general population (See table). Other drugs (SSRIs, antipsychotic drugs, AEDs and PPIs) do not seem to affect bone metabolism or BMD, but there is evidence for increased fracture risk. However, the evidence is limited to observational data, and any relationship may be attributable either to nonbone effects of the drug or effects of the underlying condition to increase fracture rate. In these patients, evaluation for other risk factors for fracture and management of these risk factors should be considered. In a third group (depot MPA, chemotherapy and ART), there is evidence for increased bone loss and/or fracture, but the patient population is generally at low risk for fracture. In these cases, patients may require an assessment of risk, but will rarely require specific treatment for fracture risk reduction. In the last group (aromatase inhibitors, GnRH agonists and thiazolidinediones), there is evidence of increased risk of bone loss and/or fracture, and the drugs are more frequently prescribed to individuals at higher baseline fracture risk. Patients receiving these drugs require risk assessment and those at high risk of fracture should receive alternative treatments (or "add-back" HRT in the case of GnRH agonists) or, if necessary, specific treatment for osteoporosis.

Table:  Summary of management recommendations
Example drugs
Evidence for risk
Management recommendations
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors

   Calcineurin inhibitors

   Loop diuretics
No adverse 
skeletal effect 
or data 
Manage as per general population

Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs)


   Anti-epileptic drugs

   Proton pump inhibitors
Evidence for increased fracture risk but fracture risk seems to relate to nonbone effects of the drug or effects of the underlying condition
Evaluate for other risk factors for fracture and manage these risk factors

Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate


   Antiretroviral therapy
Evidence for increased bone
loss and/or 
fracture, but low
risk population
Assessment of fracture risk, but will rarely require specific treatment

Aromatase inhibitors

   Gonadotrophin hormone-releasing hormone agonists


Evidence for increased risk of bone loss and/or fracture, and the drugs are more frequently prescribed to individuals at higher baseline fracture risk

Assessment of fracture risk and those at high risk should receive alternative treatments and/or specific treatment for osteoporosis.

 The conclusions and table are from a longer article, “Adverse Skeletal Effects of Drugs – Beyond Glucocorticoids,” by Susannah O'Sullivan and Andrew Grey, Clin Endocrinol. 2015;82(1):12-22. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My DXA Scan Results Look Great After Strontium Citrate

My first DXA scan was in May, 2007 (diagnosed with osteoporosis):

Spine from L1-L4 T-score -3.0
Left hip (total) T-score -2.2
Left femoral neck T-score -2.8

My second DXA scan was in July, 2009 (After 6 months on Fosamax once weekly and 18 months on strontium citrate, 680 mg strontium daily, still at osteoporosis, but scores improved):

Spine (total) T-score -2.7
Left hip (total) T-score -1.7
Left hip (neck) T-score -2.6

My third DXA scan was in August, 2013 (After 5 ½ years on strontium citrate, scan results were at the osteopenia stage; I was probably at the osteopenia stage before this, but I did not have a DXA scan in 2011):

Spine from L1-L4 T-score -1.6
Left hip (total) T-score -1.4
Left hip (neck) T-score -1.4

Osteopenia is defined as T-scores < -1.0 and -2.5.

Wandering Skeleton

Wandering Skeleton
Artist: Joel Hoekstra

Osteoporotic Bone

Osteoporotic Bone

How Strontium Builds Bones

Strontium is a mineral that tends to accumulate in bone. Studies have shown that oral doses of strontium are a safe and effective way to prevent and reverse osteoporosis. Doses of 680 mg per day appear to be optimal. See my "For More Information About Strontium" links section.

Osteoporosis is caused by changes in bone production. In healthy young bones there is a constant cycle of new bone growth and bone removal. With age, more bone is removed and less new bone is produced. The bones become less dense and thus more fragile.

Scientists believe that strontium works in two ways. It may stimulate the replication of pre-osteoblasts, leading to an increase in osteoblasts (cells that build bone). Strontium also directly inhibits the activity of osteoclasts (cells that break down bone). The result is stronger bones.

When taking strontium, be sure to take 1200 mg calcium, 1000 IU vitamin D3, and 500 mg magnesium daily. It is best to take strontium late at night on an empty stomach. Calcium and strontium may compete with each other for absorption if taken together.