As the demographic shift to an older population continues, a growing number of men and women will be diagnosed with osteoporosis. In addition to existing drug therapies, certain lifestyle and nutritional factors are known to reduce its risk.
The benefits of prune consumption for osteoporosis and their role in total body bone mineral density (BMD) loss have been supported by scientific research in both animal studies and clinical trials.
Research in prunes has increased beginning with studies of their potential in restoring bone and preventing bone loss in animal models of osteoporosis. Animal studies suggest that fruit consumption with antioxidant content may have a pronounced effect on bone health by enhancing bone formation, suppressing bone resorption and increasing bone strength. The bone protection effects seem to be mediated via antioxidant or anti-inflammatory pathways.
According to a randomized controlled trial published last year, prune consumption may prevent the loss of total body BMD in older osteopenic postmenopausal women. Forty-eight osteopenic (bone mineral density is lower than normal but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis) women were randomly assigned into one of three treatment groups for six months: 50 g of prunes, 100 g of prunes or a control group. Total body, hip and lumbar bone mineral density were evaluated, as well as several markers of bone metabolism. Data revealed that both prune groups were able to prevent the loss of total body BMD when compared to the control group. This effect has been explained in part to the ability of prunes to inhibit bone reabsorption. The study support previous data on the role that prunes may play in preventing bone loss, especially in postmenopausal women.
Source: International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC)