Prunes for Bone Health

I found this to be an excellent article from a free health newsletter to which I subscribe, and it's something many of us can do! Eat prunes!
Bottom Line's Daily Health News

November 17, 2008

Prunes Prime Bones for Growth and Repair

Prunes for fiber... for regularity... and sometimes just
because they taste good. But prunes for strong bones?
That's not what comes to mind for most people, but perhaps
that will change. In a number of studies prunes have shown
themselves to be great for your bones, helping to prevent
bone loss and repair bone density as well.

The man behind much of this research is Bahram Arjmandi,
PhD, RD, Margaret A. Sitton Professor and Chair, department
of nutrition, food and exercise sciences at Florida State
University in Tallahassee. He started this research back in
the 1990s, when he was approached by the California Dried
Plum Board. "I was skeptical," he says, "but I figured if
they wanted to fund a study I would take a look."Â To
his astonishment, he discovered that prune consumption
prevented bone loss in female rats. Still, he says he knew
a number of substances did that. The bigger question on his
mind was if prunes could rebuild lost bone... and they
actually did. In earlier research, Dr. Arjmandi had
searched for "bone builders" in growth hormone, growth
factors, raisins, dates, blueberries and more. Prunes
out-performed all of them, he says.


Dr. Arjmandi is currently conducting a clinical study
funded by the US Department of Agriculture and the
California Dried Plum Board comparing the effects of dried
apples versus prunes on bone mineral density in
post-menopausal women. He says that thus far 30 women in
the prune group have had at least a 6% increase in hip bone
(a critical area for maintaining strong bones) and that one
woman had a notable 11% increase over her baseline
measurement. In earlier preliminary data, all prune-eaters
showed at least some improvement in bone mass by six months
into the trial, he says. Final results of the present study
will be available in March 2009.

Research to determine what substance in prunes creates
improved bone mineral density has been done in conjunction
with a team from Oklahoma State University. It revealed
that particular polyphenols in the dried fruit achieve
two effects -- they up-regulate growth factors linked to
bone formation and they counter the activity of tumor
necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), an inhibitor of bone
formation. Prunes also contain potassium and boron (a trace
mineral), both believed to contribute to bone mineral

Interestingly, consumption of fresh plums has not been
shown to substitute for prunes in matters of bone benefits,
says Dr. Arjmandi. The reason: Only certain kinds of plums
become prunes. Dr. Arjmandi's team used an offshoot of La
petite d'Agen, a native of Southwest France, which at
maturity has a royal purple outer skin and amber colored
flesh. This is the commercially available dried plum/prune.
So, while all prunes are dried plums (the preferred name
these days), most fresh plums cannot become prunes.

If you want to boost prune consumption, go slow. Dr. Arjmandi advises starting with just three prunes, and increasing to nine or 10 per day as you adjust to the fiber levels. Because prunes are so low on the glycemic scale, they shouldn't be a problem for people with diabetes, he adds.


Bahram H. Arjmandi, PhD, RD, Margaret A. Sitton Professor
and Chair, department of nutrition, food and exercise
sciences at Florida State University, Tallahassee.

Be well,

Carole Jackson
Bottom Line's Daily Health News
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25 replies. Join the discussion

Sounds as though this might be worth a try..10 prunes a day seems like more fiber than my system will ever handle...but I am going to try working up to it..will just reduce my high fiber whole wheat English muffins if necessary. I read about this several weeks ago and have already bough 4 containers of dried prunes..they are much better soaked in OJ by the way. Think I will wait til after the Holidays to start..they are also high in calories so will have to make adjustments to my overall eating as I want to lose 6 or 8 #, not gain more!

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10 prunes a day would probably keep me close to the bathroom!! . . . . perhaps I might try 3 or 4 occasionally.

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SunnyWLC, Thanks so much for this interesting article. I'm going to see if I can add some prunes to my diet, but it will take a lot of training for my bowels to tolerate 10 prunes daily.

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Actually, I think to get any worthwhile results, it might be necessary to eat 9 or 10 a day. Is anyone besides me game to be a guinea pig and give it a whirl?
I don't have a lot of choices as I can't take the bisphosphates, my Dr does not want me to use the other things that are recommended so except for more Cal citrate, more Vit D and some strength building exercises, I don't have a lot of options.

Have had 2 serious auto-immune diseases so I really don't want to try ReClast, which my Dr recommended , she only had 1 patient out of several with severe reaction to ReClast..I don't want to be number 2..the 2 auto immune problems I had occur only once in every 100,000 to 200,000 people so I am not going to gamble on something that only hits an occasional patient...with my luck..that would be me!!!! Think I will see if the prunes can be tolerated...if worse comes to worse, I can eat extra

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That's funny, raindancer! Eat more cheese!! :-) I just bought some prunes the other day because I forgot that they are good for bone density! I've been trying to eat 5 or so a day, but forgot today, so I must go eat my prunes. I want to join the "Prune Guinea Pig Group"!!! I'd read they were good for bones, but had not read anything about any trial study until now!! I'm a believer! I'm on my way to get some before bed!

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I actually read that article some months ago and have had a daily input of prunes since. I did that on the basis that at least they can't do much harm and add to the daily fruit intake.
Had no problems with toileting but I started stontium at about the same time which can cause constipation.
I'm also taking cissus quadrangularis daily where there is some evidence that it increases osteo blast activity.

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Well, I started with 3 prunes today..I will stay at that for a few days and then go up a couple every week or so until I hit nine. The ones I ate this AM were delicious..nothing like the old dried out ones I remember from years back.

I am going to get serious with this because even if it stops bone loss that would be a plus. I dropped them in my OJ and left them while I ate my English Muffin..then ate them when I finished my OJ..which I diluted 50% with water to make up for the extra calories in the prunes. Then I took 1 cal citrate along with everything to make up for the loss of 4 oz calcium plus OJ. Still got most of C vits along with some calcium from OJ and extra fiber and other goodies from prunes.

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I don't know that prunes are really low-glycemic. I've got an unopened pkg of prunes & it says that 5 prunes contain 14g of sugar, so eating 10 prunes a day would add 28g of sugar to your daily diet which is about 7 teaspoons of sugar.

For anyone with candida or fungal issues or even diabetes, this seems like it might present problems.

Still I love prunes and even tho I couldn't eat them daily in those amounts, it is good to know how good they are for bones.

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I used to put prunes in my hot cereal .... looks like I will go back to doing that!

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NOF has articles in the fall 2008 newsletter about a study that showed "Dried Plums Show Promise to Improve Bone Health".

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Thanks for all the giggles, ladies! Prunes do have a certain reputation! As noted, the article advises people to enter this prune world slowly! The glycemic load of food is affected by many things, one of which is the fiber content of the food. Foods with soluble fiber, such as prunes (also known as dried plums), slow digestion and therefore reduce the glycemic impact. You may want to check with your medical professionals if you are dealing with diabetes, as most fruits have natural sugars in them. I found a good website with lots of prune info, in case you want to learn more:

Happy pruning!

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good news/bad news about prunes:

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Has anyone taken Ezorb?
Have you seen positive results?
I need to take something, I have take forteo with excellent results in my more osteo.
However, my spine is still at risk? If someone has taken Ezorb and has either positive or negatives let me know.
I do not want to take Boniva injection as my dr., has suggested..too many side effects...
Thank you, any information would help me...Happy New Year to all..

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Hey Itzy, I took ezorb for over one year, no change in my Dexa, I am at the end of my last ezorb bottle and will change to Calcium Citrate along with Calcium amino acid chelate in high doses. Have been taking 1000 to 1500 IU Vitamin D. Actually have started the other calciums along with the ezorb.

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Worried about Prunse ,because of my Celiac des. took boniva for one year no Side affect now on the one year injiction can't remember the name do any one out there know the name or takeing it ? if so did it help thanks.

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Reclast? Prunes don't have wheat or gluten, why would they bother someone w/Celiac disease? ~ JJ

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How many people have been in this study??
We are a large population.. I wonder if it really works?

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Re. the prunes and cancer risk-
What I could glean from that article is that there is some concern - but would the milk thistle, and anti oxidents (resvertol etc...) combat that risk?
I've been eating 10 prunes a day for about 2 months now.
I have osteopororsis and am currently battling it w/o drugs - weight bearing exercises - supplements etc... kale etc... I am interested in whatever supplements that might lessen the risks (of anything negative) from eaating the prunes.
Thanks -Better bones -
ps - I read BOTTOM LINE all the time!

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i'm convinced...prunes are on my shopping list. i wonder how they'll be in my morning smoothie? LOL

i'm always up for more fiber because i love the feeling of having a "clean" system...i feel more energized and that makes it easier for me to maintain the good posture i struggle to have. i'm a notorious sloucher since childhood...not good for an osteoporitic!

go prunes!

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