More researchers are interested in the potential of prunes to restore bone and prevent bone loss in animal models of osteoporosis, states the International Nut & Dried Fruit Council.
Some animal studies suggest that fruit consumption with antioxidant content may have a pronounced effect on bone health, as shown by higher bone mass, trabecular bone (spongy bone) volume, number and thickness, and lower trabecular separation (which puts the person at risk of osteoporosis) 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 leading to osteoblast mineralization and osteoclast inactivation.
According to a randomized controlled trial published in 2016, prune (dried plum) consumption may prevent the loss of total body mass index 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 (65-79 years old) were randomly assigned into one of three treatment groups for six months: 50 g of prunes, 100 g of prunes or a control group.
All groups were supplemented with calcium and vitamin D.
Total body, hip, and lumbar bone mineral density were evaluated at baseline and six months after using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or DEXA.
In addition, several markers of bone metabolism were determined during the trial.
Data revealed that both prune groups were able to prevent the loss of total body bone mineral density when compared to the control group.
This effect has been explained in part to the ability of prunes to inhibit bone reabsorption.
The study’s results support previous data on the role that prunes may play in bone health, especially in older postmenopausal women.