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Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 11/17/2010

Gwyneth dances great on 'Glee,' despite osteopenia

By Jennifer LaRue Huget

"Glee" was pretty darned great last night, eh? I was so wowed by Gwyneth Paltrow's singing (Yes, I know she's promoting a movie in which she plays a country singer. So what?) and also with her dancing.

Paltrow's dance performances were particularly impressive to me in light of her recent diagnosis of osteopenia, a thinning of the bones that can lead to osteoporosis. She revealed this summer on her Web site GOOP that she had a few years earlier suffered a lower-leg fracture; tests showed she was extremely low on Vitamin D, a nutrient we all (especially women) need to keep our bones healthy but that most Americans get too little of. Exercise -- such as dancing -- can actually help ward off osteoporosis.

Holly (guest star Gwyneth Paltrow) performs "Singing in the Rain" and "Umbrella" with New Directions in "The Substitute" episode of GLEE airing Tuesday, Nov. 16 on FOX. (Adam Rose/FOX)

At 38, Paltrow's quite young for such a diagnosis. But her long-time dalliances with low-dairy diets, including the macrobiotic regimen she followed for years, likely contributed to the problem. She's supposed to be taking Vitamin D supplements and spending some time in the sunshine to get more of the vitamin in her system.

The Institute of Medicine will release new Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D (and its equally important co-nutrient, calcium) on Nov. 30. That should offer much clearer guidance than we currently have for how much Vitamin D we should be getting. The "Adequate Intake" for adults is currently set at 400 International Units to 600 IU daily, depending on your age. Many experts say that's far too little.

I'll be watching -- and reporting to you.

In the meantime, you go, Gwyneth Paltrow!

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | November 17, 2010; 10:05 AM ET
Categories:  Chronic Conditions, Dietary supplements, Nutrition and Fitness, osteoporosis  
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Gwyneth is hot!

Posted by: ProfessorPeabody | November 17, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

...and by that, I'm referring to her ability to sing and dance, of course.

Posted by: ProfessorPeabody | November 17, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

If followed correctly, the macrobiotic diet is rich in calcium. Tofu is a main component, as are greens and seaweed.

Posted by: 1shot | November 17, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

In my opinion, Gwyneth Paltrow is one of the most enjoyable actresses in all Hollywood. She just makes me FEEL good.

She may not be the most knockout gorgeous (although she's certainly not hard to look at by any means), but her overall aura of fluid gentleness and the kindness implicit in the way she smiles just sends me somewhere I think I'd really like to go and stay there.

There's something in the way she moves...

Posted by: FergusonFoont | November 17, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Couple questions. You wrote: "But her long-time dalliances with low-dairy diets, including the macrobiotic regimen she followed for years, likely contributed to the problem."

Dairy is not the only source of calcium available today, and milk's corner on the "good bone health" market in the eyes of the NIH (due in part to the milk lobby, I'd bet) is becoming more tenuous. Yes, it's a source, but it's not the only one. And, as the other poster suggested, the macrobiotic diet should have plenty of other alternative methods for both calcium and vitamin D.

Interesting reading:

For example, almond milk actually has more calcium and less cholesterol than milk (a tad more sugar, though).

I believe Paltrow spends a lot of time in rainy England with husband Chris Martin -- could the comparative lack of strong sunlight in that area also have an impact on her bone health?

Posted by: music1an | November 17, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

The jury is out on Vit D... we all though E would be a great help but that turned out to be false...

Don't buy into the latest vitamin fad, it could prove dangerous.

Posted by: kkrimmer | November 17, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

People with osteopenia or even osteoporosis usually have no outward signs or symptoms. They are more susceptible to breaks or fractures, but in their day to day lives may have absolutely no idea that they have it. It is not particularly impressive in and of itself for a person with either to be a good dancer. We tend to picture an older woman with a hunched back, but many of us with these conditions feel and look normal.

Posted by: jake14 | November 17, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

It only takes 20 minutes of sunshine a day to get the recommended dose of vitamin D. She's so skinny and pale it looks like she needs to just start eating and get more sunlight and exercise. She also needs to stop modeling clothes made with real fur.

Posted by: rj2008 | November 17, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I think we were all sold a bill of goods by the docs who told us we had better be wearing tons of sunscreen every time we ventured into daylight!! In the zeal to prevent skin cancer, they :somehow forgot that we evolved in sunlight and need it to make Vitamin D - which is actually a hormone and is not available in most foods. Even milk does not have it - it's added.

Every cell in our bodies has receptors for Vitamin D products. It has important actions all through our bodies. We REALLY need the stuff. I would guess that once we all get some sun and also supplement our Vitamin D, there might just be a steady DROP in cancers, diabetes, osteopenia/osteoporosis, etc. It's not the only lifestyle fix we need but it is a big one.

Posted by: bernadete | November 17, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

In 2006, just before I went on bioidentical hormones & 5000 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily--DEXA scan showed mild osteopenia. 3 years later, hormones balanced, daily exercise, D3 levels still a little too low but better (and I live in NC, where I can get adequate sunlight about 7 months out of the year) not only did I no longer have osteopenia, but my bone density was comfortably in the normal range. Both of my doctors were thrilled, as was I. Even at 5000 IUs daily, I am still a bit below where I need to be optimally, so my hormone physician in Southern CA upped it to 10000 through the winter--he says even with his CA patients, he sees frequent low levels even with supplementation. The current guideline of 400-600 IUs is a joke and far outdated. A great book to read more about Vitamin D is The Vitamin D Revolution by Dr. Sorham Khalsa. If anyone would like a list of resources to help you find a bioidentical hormone practitioner in your area, or a list of recommended reading, please feel free to drop me a line at Besides the osteopenia, BHRT has cured my seasonal allergies, acid reflux, and restless leg syndrome, and as of last week has dropped my cholesterol by 100 points (no, that is not a typo). I'm off seven medications, including the Ritalin I had taken for 15 years for ADD. Hormone balance goes way beyond alleviation of hot flashes---hormones affect every system in the body. Best wishes to all for hormonal health and a sunny, bright and beautiful winter season.

Posted by: holyhormones | November 18, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Oh, please. This kind of headline does a disservice to all concerned about factual health reporting. In fact, your column has already been cited by Health News Review for the "disease-mongering" of osteopenia here.

Dr. Angela Cheung, reporting in the May 2004 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, said:

“More than 45% of women have so-called ‘osteopenia’. The fracture risk for these women is very low.”

Note that osteopenia is described as a "so-called" condition. It's actually merely the result of a Big Pharma plan to sell pills to treat a condition that only recently started to be thought of as a problem that even needs treatment.

More at "We Never Imagined People Would Think Of Osteopenia As A Disease" at

Posted by: TheEthicalNag | November 22, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

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