Celebrity Health - Anthea Turner

TV presenter Anthea Turner talks to Liz Parry about her new osteoporosis awareness campaign

Throughout her life, TV presenter Anthea Turner has followed a healthy, active lifestyle, keeping fit and eating a varied, balanced diet. So, when she recently underwent a DEXA bone scan, Anthea, 58, was shocked to discover that the results classed her as high risk for osteoporosis of the spine and at risk of osteoporosis in her hips. Following her shocking results, the former Blue Peter and Perfect Housewife presenter has now teamed up with bone health brand LithoLexal® to raise awareness of osteoporosis and change people’s perceptions of bone and joint health.

More than three million people in the UK are estimated to have osteoporosis, the bone weakening condition that leads to approximately 500,000 fractures every year. Millions more people suffer from osteopenia, the pre-osteoporotic loss of bone density from which Anthea suffers, and which can lead to the development of osteoporosis. Factors such as genetics, ageing, low BMI, lack of vitamin D, calcium and key nutrients, menopausal changes and lack of sunlight can all affect bone integrity. Here Anthea talks to us about her new awareness campaign.

As someone with a life-long passion for healthy eating, exercise and wellbeing, finding out my bone density was pre-osteoporotic was a bit of a shock. I’ve always considered myself to be very healthy. I’ve never followed any restrictive diets, I’ve always exercised and I don’t smoke or take drugs. I did know, however, that I was in a high risk category because of my small frame and I was aware of the fact that my vitamin D levels were probably low as I try to avoid the sun.

There are three main things that I have done to address the issue. I have changed my diet, altered the type of exercise I do and I now take LithoLexal®’s Bone Health supplement daily. I have always enjoyed a range of different types of exercise, such as ballet and Pilates, but I no longer swerve the weights which is something that I used to do.

I am trying to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet because sugar destroys so much for us. It destroys the good bacteria in our stomachs and it’s no good for our skin or our bones. I now eat more kale and oily fish, like salmon and mackerel, to up my intake of omega-3 fatty acids. It goes without saying that, like a car, the better fuel you put into your body the better it runs.

I tend to start my day off with a smoothie made from a banana, two scoops of Huel powder, some almond milk and some honey. For lunch and dinner I might have fish or chicken with vegetables. I’m not a fan of fizzy drinks – I love to drink water – but I do like the odd bit of chocolate. Every morning I have 170ml of kefir on an empty stomach to support my gut health.

When it comes to supplements I’ve always made sure that I do my research. Dr Hilary Jones once said to me that if you don’t take the right supplements you’re just going to end up with very expensive wee! That’s always made me laugh and I’ve never forgotten that. If I’m going to take a supplement I’m not going to look for the cheapest, I’m going to look for the best. I now take LithoLexal® on a daily basis. What sets it apart from generic calcium supplements, which are poorly absorbed, is that it contains a unique form of marine calcium which is proven to be more bioavailable and is effectively absorbed by bone tissue. I also take an omega-3 supplement, a vitamin C tablet and I take a collagen supplement for my skin as well as a supplement for my hair.

A lot of women in my age group stand in front of the mirror and we spend a lot of time studying our wrinkles, looking for new grey hairs or complaining that we have put on weight. But what we forget is that our bones are also ageing. We don’t think about what’s going on inside our bodies because we can’t see it. When you start to get towards your fifties I think you have to thank the lord for good health and if you’ve got good health then don’t abuse it.

I feel fantastic and don’t look or feel my age, but my DEXA scan shows that bone loss is a silent health issue that could have a dramatic impact on my life left undetected and untreated. My greatest fear is to be inactive, so I’m fully prepared to put up a fight on this one, encouraging others in the danger zone to do the same.

Anthea Turner’s top tips for maintaining good bone health and avoiding osteoporosis:

  • Lifestyle – Your lifestyle is crucial. Make sure you get enough sleep, don’t drink excessively or too often, eat well, exercise, find time to relax. Don’t smoke and supplement with a good calcium product.
  • Exercise regularly – Gentle aerobics, regular walking and suitable resistance training can help promote the entry of calcium into bone tissue which will help improve bone mass density.
  • Eat the right foods – Dairy foods, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, soya beans, oily fish and nuts are all positive contributors to maintenance of calcium balance.
  • Avoid smoking – As well as the wider health implications, smoking increases risk of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, which can have an impact on brittle bones.
  • It's never too early to start – Although problems generally occur in later life, start taking care of bones from an early age.
  • Love your bones as you age – Listen to your body. For women, the menopause presents a new problem with regard to bone health. It is in fact just as important to maintain healthy bone density before the menopause, to further reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

LithoLexal® Osteoporotic Bone Health contains uniquely-absorbed marine calcium, magnesium, Vercilexal® fish cartilage extract and vitamin D. It has been scientifically researched and proven to help improve the health of the bones and help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. For more information visit litholexal.co.uk

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