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As National Osteoporosis Month (June 2008) is fast approaching, a UK study on osteoporosis in young (aged 20 – 29 years) British women shows how this ‘silent disease’ is becoming more and more prevalent – and, even more worryingly, shows no sign of decreasing.

Evidence suggests that a combination of weight bearing exercise and a diet rich in calcium helps to build strong, healthy bones, but as the research shows, it is clear that insufficient levels are being met. One solution may be to encourage people to change their drinking habits. Drinking 2 litres of Willow Water each day will give well over 25% of the calcium recommended daily allowance – and with the added bonus of no extra calories.

A poor diet, deficient in calcium and Vitamin D, is known to be a risk factor for osteoporosis and with so many women reluctant to increase their dairy food intake because of the perceived high fat content, a calorie-free method of increasing dietary calcium should be warmly welcomed.

The study1 presented at the last National Osteoporosis Society’s conference, revealed that a high proportion of young women already have ‘low bone mass’ which is known to be an important predictor of fractures caused by osteoporosis in later life. Peak bone mass (PBM) is usually reached between 28 and 35 years of age, but in the study ‘low bone mass’ was evident in nearly 20% of women aged between 20-29 years.

Most of us know we should be drinking 1.5 litres of water each day for other major health benefits (e.g. increased energy, prevention of headaches, hydration, improved concentration etc). If we make this Willow Water, the added calcium benefit of this unique water may help prevent the onset of a crippling disease in later life.

For further information about Willow Water please go to www.willowwater.com or call 015395 59452. Willow Water is available in all Waitrose stores, all EH Booths stores, selected Sainsbury stores, Independent Health Food stores and many independent retailers. RRP £1.29 for 1.5 litres.

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Ref 1 S.A Lanham-New et al ‘Extent of vitamin D insufficiency in British women aged 20-29 years: implications for bone health, Osteoporosis International, 2007;14:S22 & Presented at the National Osteoporosis Society conference Nov 2007.

Willow Water background

Willow water can trace its roots back to the 12th century when it was discovered by Augustinian Monks. This underground body of water is the source of the famous Holy Well of Cartmel which has been renowned in the North West of England for its restorative qualities from the 1700s up to the present day. The water contains natural salicin and calcium as a result of the unique geology of this part of the Southern Lake District, which acts as a filter for rainwater on its way to the aquifer.

Osteoporosis Facts:

• It currently affects 75 million in Europe, Japan and US
• By 2050 6.3 million people will suffer hip fractures worldwide
• Cost of care: c£8.5 billion per year / c£23.5 million per day
• 15% of hip fracture patients walk unaided at 6 months whilst25% require long term care
• Multiple fractures are common
• 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men will suffer a fragility fracture in their lifetime
• By age 20 98% of a woman’s skeletal mass is established, building strong bones during childhood and adolescence can help prevent osteoporosis in later life
• The number of Osteoporotic hip fractures has quadrupled in the past decade. This number will continue to rise as older population doubles by 2040
• Osteoporosis is especially common in White and Asian women over 50 years old

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis are;

• Female
• Over 50 years old
• Low estrogen
• Body mass index <19kg/
• Low bone mass
• History of fragility fractures in self or family
• Poor nutrition (with deficient calcium and vitamin D intake)
• Smoking
• Excessive alcohol use
• Inactive lifestyle
• Steroid or anticonvulsant drug use
• A woman’s risk of hip fracture is equal to the combined risk breast, uterine and ovarian cancer
• 'An average of 24 percent of hip fracture patients aged 50 and over die in the year following their fracture'. http://www.nof.org/osteoporosis/diseasefacts.htm

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