Home Clean Living Daily prune consumption preserves, protects bones in postmenopausal women

Daily prune consumption preserves, protects bones in postmenopausal women

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August 12, 2022

2 min read


Source/Disclosures


Disclosures:
De Souza reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.


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In postmenopausal women, eating prunes every day prevented loss of hip bone mineral density and protected against hip fractures, according to a randomized controlled trial published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“Our data supports the use of prunes to protect the hip from bone loss post-menopause,” Mary Jane De Souza, PhD, FACSM, distinguished professor of kinesiology and physiology and director of the Women’s Health and Exercise Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University, said in a press release. “Indeed, these data may be especially valuable for postmenopausal women who cannot take pharmacological therapy to combat bone loss and need an alternative strategy.”



Data derived from De Souza MJ, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022;doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqac189.

Data derived from De Souza MJ, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022;doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqac189.

De Souza and colleagues randomly assigned 235 women (average age, 62.1 ± 5 years; 97% white) to eat 50 g of prunes daily for 1 year (n = 79), 100 g of prunes daily for 1 year (n = 78) or to a control group (n = 78). Controls were prescribed calcium and vitamin D3 as needed to meet the recommended daily allowance.

The researchers assessed the effects of dietary intervention on bone mineral density (BMD) and bone biomarkers every 6 months.

Although 90.2% and 87.1% of women eating 50 g and 100 g of prunes, respectively, were compliant with the intervention, the dropout rate was significantly higher among those assigned to eat 100 g of prunes (41%) compared with the rates in the 50 g group (15%) and the control group (10%).

Changes in BMD, fracture risk

Mary Jane De Souza, PhD, FACSM

Mary Jane De Souza

Total hip BMD measurements revealed that women who ate 50 g of prunes — or six prunes — every day preserved BMD at the 6- and 12-month assessments. They also had a significantly smaller decrease in BMD between baseline and 12 months compared with the control group (–0.27% ± 0.2% vs. –1.1% ± 0.2%; P = .011).

The group eating 100 g of prunes — or 12 prunes — daily did not experience the same hip BMD benefit as the 50 g group when compared with the control group. These women did, however, have a lower risk for major osteoporotic fracture compared with the control group (P = .03).

Pooled prune analyses

In pooled analyses, the control group lost significantly more total hip BMD compared with the prune group (1.1% ± 0.2% vs. 0.25% ± 0.2%; P = .007). The control group had a greater risk for hip fracture at 6 months and a greater risk for major osteoporotic fracture at 6 and 12 months compared with baseline (all, P < .05). On the other hand, participants in the prune group maintained their risk for hip fracture and major osteoporotic fracture through 12 months.

Pooled analyses of bone biomarkers and hormones revealed that both the control group and the prune group experienced increases in insulin-like growth factor-1 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Despite the findings that daily prune consumption may be a non-pharmacological option for preserving BMD, De Souza and colleagues advised that “the magnitude of the effect of prune treatment on bone density is not comparable to osteoporosis medication.”

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