Gwyneth Paltrow has Osteopenia: Is There a Diet and Weight-loss Connection?

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NEW YORK - JUNE 08: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow attends Stella McCartney - Spring 2011 Presentation at Gavin Brown's Enterprise on June 8, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Stella McCartney)

Last week, we heard that Gwyneth Paltrow was diagnosed with osteopenia (a precursor to osteoporosis).

Osteopenia is the term used for bone density that falls somewhere between less than normal and osteoporosis. People with osteopenia have a greater chance of developing osteporosis, a bone disease which leads to an increased risk of fractures.

Paltrow was told by her doctors that her vitamin D levels were extremely low. Because vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium into our bones, a vitamin D deficiency is the likely cause of her early diagnosis of osteopenia. Many people are wondering if Paltrow's strict dieting habits (she is an 11-year follower of the macrobiotic diet) could be partially responsible for her current condition. She has now been put on prescription strength vitamin D to hopefully aid in her calcium absorption and prevent the onset of osteoporosis.

From WebMD - Gwyneth Paltrow Has Osteopenia

Paltrow writes: "I suffered a pretty severe tibial plateau fracture a few years ago (requiring surgery) which lead the orthopaedic surgeon to give me a bone scan, at which point it was discovered I had the beginning stages of osteopenia. This led my western/eastern doctors in New York to test my Vitamin D levels, which turned out to be the lowest they had ever seen (not a good thing). I went on a prescription strength level of Vitamin D and was told to ... spend a bit of time in the sun!"

Otherwise healthy, Paltrow is the perfect example of how important a well-balanced diet is to our overall health and wellness, proving that even health conscious people with fancy exercise regimes, diets, fasts, and cleanses, can still fall prey to diseases like osteopenia.

From ABC News - Is Gwyneth Paltrow's Diet to Blame for Her Bone Disease?

Paltrow began following a macrobiotic diet of mostly vegetables, grains, soup and fish in 1999. She took a break between 2003 and 2006 while having her children, Apple, now 6, and Moses, now 4. Though she follows a less intense version of the diet now, she still does not consume much dairy.

Paltrow has also followed more extreme diets at times.

In an effort to bring more awareness to bone disease, Paltrow is now joining Sally Field and Joan Rivers in the fight against osteoporosis.

A natural consequence of aging is a loss of bone density, but there are other factors that can directly contribute to osteopenia.

From Suite 101 - What is Osteopenia?

Aside from the natural aging process and the subsequent loss of bone density, some factors can directly contribute to osteopenia:

  • eating disorders or metabolism problems that rob the body of essential vitamins and minerals
  • chemotherapy or medications such as steroids
  • exposure to radiation
  • family history of osteoporosis
  • being white (Caucasian), or, to a lesser degree, being Asian
  • being thin
  • being bedridden or inactive for a long period of time
  • smoking
  • drinking excessively
  • having a diet low in calcium and vitamin D

Here is a video about how many people actually have osteopenia ...

Could your diet be effecting your bone health?  Have you been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis? Have you blogged about it? Please leave your thoughts and links in comments.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
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