Investigation of the strontium content of foods and the biological role of strontium

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Author: András S. Szabó


1. Summary

From a physiological point of view, strontium is a microelement, having a common transport system with calcium. In plants and soils, there is usually a difference of two orders of magnitude between the concentrations of calcium and strontium. However, in the case of humans and animals, the difference can be as high as three orders of magnitude. The reason for this is the strong ability to discriminate, as a result of which strontium is absorbed from the alimentary canal of warm-blooded creatures in significantly lower amounts. Thus, the Sr:Ca ratio in the human body, as well as its radiostrontium contamination (90Sr/Ca) is significantly lower than the values that can be measured in the foods consumed. It is well known that calcium can be partially replaced by strontium, but large amounts of strontium are toxic to the body. At the same time, strontium is used in medicine to treat osteoporosis.

Clarification of the plant, animal and human physiological role of strontium, and proving of its possible essential role requires further investigation. Since the concentration distribution of essential and non-essential microelements shows significant differences within a healthy organism, this knowledge will be of great help in the determinationof the biological role of the given microelement by examining the concentration distributions in healthy body tissues, because essential elements are present in the tissues in a narrow concentration range.

2. Introduction

In an earlier paper, published in the Journal of Food Investigations, there is a comprehensive overview of the grouping possibilities of microelements, of the relationship between the essential and non-essential nature and the concentration distribution, and of the analytical measurement techniques that can be applied for the analysis of trace elements [1]. In this paper, the physiological role of strontium is discussed. With regard to its concentration in foods, this metal is typically a microelement. It should be noted that several details of its physiological role need further clarification.


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