Your Nerves on Strontium, Part 1
Can Strontium Heal Neuroinflammation, Diabetic Nephropathy, Neuropathic Pain, & Excitotoxicity?
Strontium (Sr) is a natural mineral and sold OTC as a nutritional supplement in the USA. Sr can dramatically reduce neuro-inflammation, irritation, itch, pain, and especially neuropathic pain.
Strontium can also benefit various mental conditions in a subset of patients, probably from reducing neuro-inflammation.
Although I strongly argue that Sr (strontium) is a nutrient, or an important trace mineral, the doses needed for pain relief may be significantly higher than “nutritional” doses in most cases. However, the safety record even for very high doses is almost spotless.
This is Part 1 of a multipart series.
Currently, Part 3 A can found here.
It covers The use of Strontium to Reverse Pathological Pain & Dermatological Conditions in Germany. Part B and Part C will be posted as soon as I finish the editing.
Other Parts of this series will include:
Part 1: An overview of Strontium & the Nerves
Part 2: 1890s - mid 1900s: The use of strontium to Protect the Nerves from Medications such as Bromide (a Nerve Toxin) & Salicylate (a Nerve Toxin at High Doses)
Part 3: 1920s - mid 1900s: The use of Strontium to Reverse Pathological Pain & Dermatological Conditions in Germany. Part B, Part C
Part 4: 1920s - Present: The use of Strontium to Treat Bone Pain from Osteoporosis, Arthritis, & Metastases Bone Cancer.
Part 5: 1990s - Present: The R&D and Clinical Trials by Modern Pharma to Develop a Patented, Topical Strontium-Based Medication for Pain, Itch & Irritation.
Part 6: A Deep Dive into the Biological Actions & Science on How Strontium Benefits the Nerve Functions & Nerve Cells.
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Neurons Are the Watchman for the Immune System
Neurons Sense Danger, and send out a warning call.
Neurons contribute to both local and systematic Cytokine Storms.
Individual Neurons warn neighboring Neurons of threats.
Neuropathic Pain is pain that originates, or is amplified by the nervous system, and in some cases if forms a cycle that continues when the original cause of pain has long gone.
Neuronal Tissue Damage ➔ Neurons Sense Danger
Neurons Sense Danger ➔ Cytokines & Neurotransmitters
Cytokines & Neurotransmitters ➔ Neuronal Activation & Sensitization
Neuronal Activation & Sensitization ➔ More Cytokines & Neurotransmitters
Neuronal inflammation can also cause nervous tissue damage. Constant neuronal activity cause the neurons to fire more often, and these neurons can recruit other neurons. Growth factors and gene expressions may also contribute to the cycle.
Biological Effects of Strontium
The benefits of Sr are from strontium’s similarity to Calcium (Ca). Besides building bones, Ca is very very important in cell signaling, or cell communications. This is a complex topic that I will cover in more detail in a future post. However, for now, Sr can almost fully replace Ca in cell signaling, but it behaves differently. As we increase the Sr/Ca ratio, the personality of Ca communication changes.
Changes the nature of Ca gates and channels.
Changes inter-cellular Ca oscillations and signaling.
Directly reduces the release of Substance P by neurons.
Directly reduces the release of neurotransmitter by neurons by at least 3 different mechanisms.
Slows the release of neurotransmitters, fooling the relay neuron into not transmitting a pain synapse.
TLRs (Toll-Like Receptors) detect PAMPs and DAMPs (Pathogen/Damage-Associated Molecular Patterns) and release NF-Kappa B as a “danger” signal. Skin cell tend to have lots of TLRs that react to viruses and infections. Sr blocks TLRs and NF-Kappa B.
TNFa, IL-6 and numerous other cytokines are also significantly reduced by Sr. However, this could be a downstream result of NF-Kappa B and/or other cytokines directly reduced by Sr.
Sr protects the mitochondria. Benefits include reduced swelling, reduced cell death, etc.
Amazingly, the available evidence suggest that Sr lowers infections rates, even though it seems to reduce immune activity. These properties of Sr also provide numerous benefits not related to the nervous system. See my article, Benefits of Strontium, for more info.
The French were the first to embrace Sr, starting in 1891. By 1900, Sr was being used as a primary ingredient, and an active secondary ingredient in most pharmaceutical compounds. But it was the Germans that pioneered its use in bone health and as an analgesic.
In 1924, Dr Alwens wrote the following in a Germany medical journal, Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift
“Although Strontium bromide may not be regarded as a fully-fledged substitute for morphine, there is still the possibility of preventing morphinism in patients suffering from long-lasting illnesses accompanied by pain.” …
“R. H., 53 years old, diagnosis: Parkinson's disease (chronic encephalitis). Since the spring of 1920, increasing stiffness in all muscles, combined with swallowing difficulties. Abdominal pain for a year, independent of food intake. …On (July 16th, 1923) the patient received 10 % strontium (bromide) 10 cc intravenously. After that, no pain for 4 hours. In the following time, the patient reacts to every 10 % strontium (bromide) injection with freedom from pain, which lasts about 4-5 hours. With constant strontium bromide therapy, the individual pain attacks become more benign.” Link
Dr Alwens included numerous other case studies with a wide variety of conditions, including phantom limb pain, arthritis etc. A complete translation of his original paper will be provided in Part 3 of this series.
I don’t know what happened to Dr Alwens’ dream of further research and promoting strontium for pain and other nerve conditions. But Germany had just lost WWI, and soon found itself with another dark political crisis. As a hospital director, I suspect he had other priorities. Morphine was quick and easy, and the weaker, slower strontium was apparently soon forgotten.
In Part 2, I will post my translation of the complete article by Dr Alwens.
Cosmederm Pharmaceutical, USA, 1994
In the 1990s, pharma began trying to cash in on the benefits of strontium (Sr). Gary S. Hahn, Cosmederm’s founder, obtained a series of patents on topical formulas from 1998 to 2018.
Obviously, pharma relies on patented formulas and application. Their 2018 patent covers combining strontium with other ingredients such as NAC for use as a topical treatment for chronic and neuropathic pain.
Although this patented formula was a significant improvement over OTC Sr supplements or just mixing Sr in any skin cream, it wasn’t enough for financial success, and Cosmederm’s assets were auctioned off in bankruptcy court.
Here is a case study submitted with the patent.
An 85-year-old woman with severe macular degeneration has serious swelling and continuous burning pain in her feet. … The burning pain had been continuous, all day and all night and during the last 3 years and was made worse with walking. … During the last 6 months, the intensity of the burning pain slowly increased so that she was unable to walk at night after dinner due to the burning pain. ... The pain started to keep her from sleeping. … The subject’s physician suspected that it was caused by the compression of the spinal nerves at the L-4 to S-1 level, and the chronic nerve compression had produced nerve damage, … “nerve compression neuropathic pain state”. … (A topical formula containing Sr, gallic acid, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) was applied.) … Within 5 minutes, the pain was gone and 6 months later she was still completely pain-free. However, the numbness in her feet remained unchanged by the treatment.
I will cover this research in detail in Part 3.
Santosolve Pharmaceutical, 2001
Another Pharmaceutical, Santosolve, also attempted to cash in by patenting a formula based on strontium. Here is a case study found in their patent.
A 35 year old woman was involved in a car accident seven years earlier and had developed severe pain in the neck and shoulders. The patient had used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for a long time without significant effect. She had not slept continuously any night since the accident. The patient tried the composition of Example 19 (topical strontium formula) by administering topically to the areas of pain. She claimed a pain-relieving effect after one minute and had no or very little pain for the following 2 to 3 days. After administration of the composition of Example 13. (topical strontium formula) … she was able to sleep for about 10 hours each of the next two nights.
Santosolve went on to carry out a number of phase II clinical trials, before apparently going out of business. Here is the results of one of their phase II trials. (2PX is the name of their strontium formula.)
“…The Phase IIa trial with Santosolve’s development compound, 2PX, reported early in 2008 and showed that after 4 weeks administration, the treatment group experienced a reduction in average pain intensity of 47.7% compared to 21.8% for the placebo group. Corresponding reduction in worst pain intensity was 42.0% for 2PX compared with 17.8% for placebo. The results for other endpoints, including sleep disturbance, use of rescue medication, and quality of life were consistent with the results on pain intensity.”
Other phase II on osteoarthritis pain, osteoarthritis of the Knee Pain, fibromyalgia pain, and pain from ultraviolet B radiation were also carried out. I quoted from the p
I specifically choose to quote from this trial because phantom limb pain is such a clear example of pain that originates from the nerves in the spinal cord.
I will cover this research in detail in Part 3.
Big Pharma & Nutrients
Why didn’t either of these 2 pharmaceutical companies find success?
I found press releases from both companies that showed that each had a minimum of 50 million dollars from investors. However, phase 3 clinical trials would have probably cost at least 250 million dollars. All good gamblers know when to walk away, and when to run. So, why did the investors run? I don’t know.
Anyway, I believe that God owns the real patent on strontium, and although we may invent new formulas, strontium is a natural substance, a God-given nutrient.
Bone Cancer Pain
Strontium (Sr) also help with bone pain, especially pain from bone cancer.
Cancer can eat holes in the bones. Calcium (Ca) alone does not re-mineralize these bone lesions. But Sr does. Sr has a special ability to find these holes and accumulate there, and Ca follow the Sr re-mineralizing the lesions with mostly Ca, but also a significant amount of Sr.
OK, strontium accumulates in these bone lesions, and that includes the man-made radio-active form of strontium called Sr89. Srontium89 releases radiation that kills neurons, which results in a reduction in pain. Sr89 therapy is commonly used in the last stages of life to treat pain from terminal bone cancer.
However, larger doses of non-radioactive Sr will re-mineralize these cancer bone lesions, resulting in pain reduction.
I don’t plan to write extensively about this aspect in this series, mainly because it is not directly related to the nerves. Hopefully I will be able to cover this in more detail in a future article.
Mental Health on Strontium
Since Sr seems to reduce neuro-inflammation, we could expect that Sr would also be beneficial to mental conditions when neuro-inflammation is a contributing.
Sr has been shown to have benefits in these conditions.
Bromide Toxicity: Bromine is a nerve toxin, but at one time is was a very common medicine, and used for epilepsy and as a sensitive. A zombie-like state was a very common side effect. However, formulating bromides with Sr (Sr bromide) greatly reduced all of the side effects, and improved epileptic control.
Epilepsy: Bases on limited data, Sr seems to reduce epileptic fits, but the reduction is only slight to moderate.
Bipolar Disorder: John Cade, the Australian psychiatrist who pioneered lithium for the treatment of bipolar disorder, also experimented with Sr on “acute schizophrenics” and other mental conditions. The results were very impressive in some patients.
Excitotoxicity: There is also a lot of good info on Sr and excitotoxicity. Theoretically, it appears that Sr might be very helpful. Theoretically, this would be good news for those suffering from traumatic brain injuries. See Part 4 for more info.
Anorexia: Sr would probably be beneficial.
Autism: Theoretically, Sr might be very beneficial in some cases. But the only case that I am aware of that Sr has been tried in autism, the patient experienced negative effects.
The Curse of the Bromide & the Magic of Strontium
Bromism was once a very common disorder, being responsible for 5 to 10% of psychiatric hospital admissions. Wikipedia
“This condition [bromism] is characterized by a blunting of the intellectual faculties, impairment of the memory, and the production of a dull and apathetic state. The speech is slow, the tongue tremulous and saliva may flow from the mouth. The gait is staggering, and the movements of the limbs feeble and infirm. The mucous membranes suffer, so that the palatal sensibility may be abolished, and nausea, flatulence, and diarrhea supervene. The action of the heart is low and feeble, the respiration shallow and imperfect, and the extremities blue and cold. An eruption of acne frequently covers the skin of the face and back.”
“Other psychiatric symptoms could also occur, such as disinhibition, self-neglect, fatigue, sluggishness, irritability and emotional instability, depression, and occasionally a schizophrenic-like psychosis. Hallucinations were not uncommon, as well as violent behavior, especially at night.” …
In institutions that treated epilepsy, patients were “stupefied with sedatives [i.e., bromide] and made to live a living death”. In fact, many patients preferred the epileptic fit over the effects of bromism. Drug treatment of epilepsy in the century of the ILAE: The first 50 years, 1909–1958
Bromine (aka bromide, its ionic form) was used as a sedative and an anticonvulsant, especially in epilepsy. In fact, in the mid-1870s the pharmacy at Queen Square in London was dispensing 2.5 tons annually, and in 1928, one in every five prescriptions written by physicians in the United States was for bromides.
Bromides are always formulated as a salt. Some of the most common forms include potassium bromide, sodium bromide and lithium bromide,
When Jean-Baptiste Vincent Laborde, a famous French doctor began promoting Sr in 1891, doctors began experimenting with Sr bromide, and the historical record shows that Sr bromide greatly reduced the side effects associated with bromide.
“Dr. Ch. Fere has demonstrated, in support of Laborde's contention in favor of the tolerance for strontium bromide that as much as 14 to 15 Gm. (217 to 232 grn.) of it have been tolerated by the patient without grave inconvenience. This much could never be given of the potassium salt without great danger.” Merck Journal Page 71 February, 1900
“There was during the administration continued absence of the usual bromide acne, the somnolent effect was much less than with other salts and some of the patients were decidedly less quarrelsome and troublesome after their seizures than they had been whilst subjected to other courses of treatment. The dose given was about thirty grains three times a day. After five months the patients treated with this drug showed no tendency to relapse into their former condition.” Johns Hopkins Hospital 1893
“CASE 2.-This was the case of a girl, aged seven years…the attacks numbered from 12 to 14 in the course of 24 hours. The mental condition bordered on imbecility, with complete loss of memory. … I prescribed the bromide of strontium in doses of half a drachm (886 mg) to be taken three times a day…Marked improvement resulted in all the symptoms, the last report being that for 17 days she had not had an attack. There was also much improvement in the mental condition, the child taking an interest in her surroundings.” …
“The mental condition of all these patients improved to a certain extent on the strontium bromide treatment, but whether this was due to the direct action of this salt on the cortical cells or was the result of a diminution of the fits I am unable to say. The patients, however, were less irritable and not so liable to outbreaks of mania.” A Human Trial on Sr Bromide 1907
The common daily doses of all the bromides were usually about 3 to 5 grams daily, although the lower toxicity of Sr bromide allowed larger doses.
Since Sr bromide was about 65% bromide and Sr 35% by weight, a 3 gram dose provided about 1.06 grams of Sr, while a 5 gram dose provided 1.77 grams of Sr. The obvious problem is that the dose of Sr is tied to the dose of the bromide.
Although Sr bromide was being almost exclusively used in France in the late 1890s, Sr was much more expensive than potassium or sodium, and Sr bromide only had a minor share of the market in the US and England.
In 1916 a very poorly designed and possibly dishonest study concluded that Sr salicylate had no advantages over the other types of salicylates, and the “medical authorities” concluded that Sr offered no benefits. However, after reading all the historical document I could find, I found almost no good evidence for their claim, and very convincing (but not perfect) evidence that Sr has strong and clear benefits.
I will cover this research in detail in Part 2.
Schizophrenia & Other Mental Conditions
John Cade has been called the “Father of Lithium Therapy”, although some would call him the “Co-Father”. At the very least, he rediscovered lithium and without his research and dedication, lithium may have never become a reality.
I have spent many hours searching the web for good info about his work on Sr. However, I have found almost nothing. The quote below is the only real info I found. (I live in Lima Peru, and some things can only be found in libraries.)
“Strontium salts, he claimed, had marked anxiolytic properties, and after trying it out on himself (it had a tranquillising action), he tested it clinically. As it had a tranquillising and mildly sedative effect on such a relatively pharmacologically tough animal as myself, it seemed reasonable to evaluate it further, and over 10 months its effects on over 30 patients suffering from a variety of psychiatric disorders was assessed. There is no doubt whatever that it is substantially anxiolytic, safe, effective, and cheap. Even in patients who showed no real improvement otherwise, there was in many cases a tranquillising effect with diminished restlessness and in some, drowsiness. In the two patients with anxiety severe enough to warrant hospitalisation, there was complete and prompt remission in two days . In seven acute schizophrenics there was complete and prompt remission in four, substantial symptomatic improvement in another, and in two no effect whatever. .. . Most would agree that this is tenuous evidence on which to base any sort of therapeutic claim and I wholeheartedly concur. I merely present the results as interesting, possibly significant, certainly worthy of further study." The lead was not followed, however, and lithium therapy was to remain the sole legacy of John Cade's experimental work.” https://vdoc.pub/documents/the-history-of-lithium-therapy-6peqo12o6h30
Could Sr Help Anorexia?
I generally would not base medical care decisions on only one obscure sentence from a medical text written in 1898.
“We have had many cases of anorexia with hyperacidity where the appetite returned after the use of bromid of strontium.” Diseases of the stomach by Hemmeter, John C 1898 Anorexia 1898
Apparently, Sr bromide was probably used as a sedative, and the restored appetite was a welcomed side effect. The bromides were commonly used whatever mental problem during that era. Given that the bromides had a side effect of reducing appetite, I would have avoided it.
Sr is well documented for its anabolic properties, especially in the sick and weak. It has been shown effective for treating cachexia in modern studies. In mostly historical documents, Sr was commonly said to stimulate appetite and growth, especially for sick and weak people. The literature from the late 1890s was full of statements suggesting that Sr improves “nutritional status”.
I remember my anorexic friend I knew long ago, a beautiful girl except for her sickly, weak, fat-less body. She wanted to loose just a few more pounds, and I don’t think Sr would have changed her body-image.
Anorexia seems to have both physical and psychological causes. In 1898, the most common “motivation” was not weight loss, but religious and financial concerns. Spending too much money of food was a source of guilt, while being overweight wasn’t common.
My conclusions is that Sr probably couldn’t fix anorexia, but it might help.
Since I started researching Sr, I have had the fantasy that Sr would one day be a key to curing autism. And I have found many hints that it just might be very helpful, especially in some cases. Abnormalities in Ca metabolism and signaling are major factor in autism, and Sr almost always moves Ca signaling in the right direct. “Almost always”.
However, autism is very very complicated. Since Sr usually decreases Ca signaling, if an individual autistic child had a genetic snip or problem with under-active Ca signaling in a key biological pathway, Sr could theoretically make it worse.
I know of one case when a father (who had studied nutrition and organic chemistry) had an autism-spectrum child. The child had very low Ca and Sr levels on a hair analysis. He attempted supplementation with Sr citrate, but his child’s OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) got worse, and improved when the Sr was stopped.
This case is unpublished, and I know about from via personal online communication with the father. My speculation is that low Ca levels make Sr much more likely to cause problems.
Also, Sr toxicity is much much more common in babies and children than in adults. I am specifically speaking of Sr rickets. In adults, Sr increases bone mineralization, however, large doses does the opposite, and causes a loss of minerals and bone mass. This is referred to as “strontium rickets”. In babies and children, this happens at a much lower dose.
So be careful, there are risks, and there is just too much we don’t know.
The above product would be my first choice. There are other forms that are just as good if not better, but they are not available. Most OTC supplements are in the Sr citrate form, which I suspect is inferior for various reasons. The above produce is sold here. I do not have any financial agreement with this company. I only recommend them because they have the only Sr L-lactate product on the market, and my other preferred forms of Sr are not currently available as a nutritional supplement. I cover my reasons in my first article found here. I hope to write more on this in the future.
Tricalm was originally formulated by Cosmederm, but was auctioned off to Galleon Bio LLC by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy court. I would love having this product without the aluminum acetate and with a higher dose of Sr. However, I can not fully recommend any product with aluminum acetate. But, unfortunately, this is apparently the only Sr topical formula currently being sold.
Look Before You Jump.
It was never my intention of the article…
to push the use of strontium apart for proper medical supervision,
to be a guide to the use of strontium,
to provide a protocol for the use of strontium,
to provide enough information for any of the above.
I am not a doctor, and I do not give medical advice. The info here is educational in purpose, and although I take responsibility for the content, I do not take any responsibility on how you use this info.
For those that may want to try strontium, please read my other post, and preferably read a few of the references I provide. Although Sr is sold OTC (over the counter), the doses used in these cases studies are often much higher than the standard recommended doses.
Even though after years of deep research, I can’t find any reason to believe that Sr is toxic to the vast majority of the population, hidden toxicity are possible. I suspect that less than 1 in 1000 persons, and probably maybe 1 in 10,000 or 100,000 may have a genetic problems that cause a severe reaction. Strontium Ranelate, a toxic pharmaceutical made with Sr bound to a toxic man-made molecule, increased the risk of strokes and heart attacks, but I determined that the probable cause was not Sr. But, the only long-term, well-controlled studies on Sr were on Strontium Ranelate.
Think and look before you jump.
Part 3A has been finished. Parts 3B and 3C are coming soon, hopefully within a few weeks.
Part 2, & Parts 4-6 will hopefully start appearing within a month or more.
For a general overview of Sr, please refer to my previous post "The Benefits of Strontium" .
The benefits of Sr are many, and the amount of literature on Sr is huge. Apparently, I am the only person is the world who is attempting to research Sr and share the research with the world on the science and benefits of Sr.
But, unfortunately, I have currently only posted 3 blog post, which is only a very small portion of my research. Future post are coming, and I hope that other researchers also take up the cause.
Also, PLEASE EMAIL ME with any questions, comments, offers or request. I get lonely and I like emails. I also like comments. email@example.com
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