Monday, April 11, 2011

Real-Life Health Drama

I think I heard before that Academy Award-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow has been diagnosed with early stages of osteoporosis but the info really sank in when I read the PR. Now, that got me a bit apprehensive because I remembered my grandmother developing a severe spinal curvature while I was growing up. I wonder how susceptible I am, and the female members of my family, to this condition?

Press Release:

She’s an Oscar-award-winning actress, rock star’s wife, mother of two, and the envy of millions for her all-American beauty and wispy model’s figure. Recently, however, Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow made headlines for being diagnosed with the early stages of osteopenia, a condition wherein bone density falls below its less-than-normal range. Paltrow, who revealed the findings in her online newsletter GOOP, discovered her osteopenia while being treated for a severe fracture in her leg a few years ago. Those diagnosed with osteopenia—commonly elderly and menopausal women—have a greater chance of developing osteoporosis, the disease wherein bones become brittle, fragile, and vulnerable to breaking. Paltrow is only 37. 

The actress’ extreme eating habits may have something to do with her poor bone health. In the late ‘90s, she adapted a macrobiotic diet, a regimen that does not include meat and dairy products. She also resorts to a variety of liquid fasts and cleanses to shed off unwanted weight. "I need to lose a few pounds of holiday excess," she announced on her blog last year. "Anyone else? I like to do fasts and detoxes a couple of times during the year, the most hardcore one being the Master Cleanse I did last spring. It was not what you would characterize as pretty. Or easy. It did work, however." 

Paltrow’s story is the story of many young women around the world.  Is it really worth it to look better in a gown or bathing suit without proper nutrition to support some drastic weight loss scheme? But, like the actress, countless females fail to realize that bone loss, thought to be an aging woman’s disease, can begin as early as the age of 25. Calcium loss due to monthly periods and pregnancy affects bone loss even more, as does menopause, which lessens the production of estrogen, the hormone that helps protect our bones. 

While females (whether petite or not, white or Asian, elderly women, those with a family history of osteoporosis or fractures, smokers, excessive alcohol drinkers, and people with a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet practices) are susceptible to osteoporosis, 50 percent of Filipino women are at risk of the bone-weakening condition as well. A lack of bone-building calcium in our daily diet explains it. In fact, a study shows that Filipinos only consume half of their daily recommended allowance of the vital nutrient.

A stooped back, loss of height, and fractures in the hips, wrists, ankles, back, and waist are not the worst of osteoporosis. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, 30 percent of those who develop a hip fracture never walk again, while 20 percent die in a year’s time. No wonder many have dubbed it a Silent Killer

Fortunately, achieving optimum bone health is within anyone’s reach. Regular weight-bearing exercises like running, walking, and lifting weights toughen our bones, as does maintaining our appropriate weight. Ensure your daily diet is rich in calcium and Vitamin D. Leafy green vegetables, dairy products like milk and cheese, tofu, and soy products are excellent sources of calcium. For better calcium absorption, get your Vitamin D from fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), fish liver oil, egg yolks, and early morning sun exposure. Women between the ages of 25 and 50 should aim for 750 mg of calcium daily; more for those who are older, pregnant or lactating. As for Vitamin D, the Recommended Daily Allowance for women aged 19 to 50 is 600 IU (international units). 

As the Expert in Bone Nutrition, Anlene contains 500 mg of calcium in a single glass, while a glass of Anlene Gold has 600 mg of calcium. Drinking two glasses a day means you meet your daily calcium needs; you also reduce bone breakdown within four weeks as proven by a landmark clinical study* conducted by Anlene. 

By drinking two glasses of Anlene daily with exercise and a balanced diet, Filipino women could avoid the Silent Killer altogether.

*Kruger et al. 2009. The Effects of Fortified Milk

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