Gwyneth Paltrow has precursor to osteoporosis

Recently, actress and philanthropist Gwyneth Paltrow announced online that she has osteopenia, a condition that healthcare professionals consider a precursor to osteoporosis.

In a newsletter posted on GOOP, her personal website, Paltrow said that she discovered she had the condition after breaking her leg. Doctors ordered a bone scan, which subsequently reveals that the actress had osteopenia, a condition in which bone minerals are not as dense as they should be.

Paltrow wrote that she then had a test performed on the nutrients in her blood and was told she had extremely low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone loss, bone deformity - a condition known as rickets - muscle loss and osteoporosis, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The actress said that her "western/eastern" physician, Frank Lipman, recommended getting direct exposure to sunlight in order to increase her vitamin D count. While the body can synthesize the nutrient from sunlight, the American Cancer Society notes that excess sun exposure can cause skin cancer.

The Mayo Clinic adds that vitamin D may be obtained through dietary sources like fish, eggs, milk, cheese and cod liver oil. ABC News has speculated that Paltrow's diet, which often includes homeopathic "cleanses" and contains few animal products, may be to blame for fast-tracking the actress's risk of osteoporosis.

To treat her condition, Paltrow is reportedly taking a daily supplement.

Without vitamin D, the skeletal system cannot absorb calcium, according the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Such a deficiency can lead to reduced bone mass, broken bones and ultimately osteoporosis.

The foundation recommends that adults consume between 30 and 50 micrograms of the vitamin daily, and that people over the age of 50 be particularly conscious about getting the full 50 micrograms.

Besides osteopenia, risk factors for osteoporosis include low body weight, weight loss and being female, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. The agency states that one in three women over the age of 50 will experience a fracture related to osteoporosis.
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