The California Prune Board has highlighted recent research from San Diego State University’s School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences has suggested daily prune consumption may have a protective effect on bone health in men older than 50. It's reportedly estimated two million men have osteoporosis, while 16.1 million have low bone mass, or osteopenia.
“We’ve already seen significant evidence that prunes have a positive effect on bone health in women, so it’s particularly exciting to find that prunes can also play a beneficial role in men’s bone health. We look forward to continuing to study the "prune effect" on bone and other health outcomes in men,” said Lead Researcher Prof Shirin Hooshmand, School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University.
In the randomised clinical study, 57 healthy men aged 50-79 were assigned to consume either 100g of prunes every day or no prunes for 12 months. At the trial's conclusion, the prune group reportedly showed significant decreases in biomarkers of bone breakdown, while no changes were observed in the control group. The authors also reported the men who ate prunes showed improvements in bone geometry, indicating greater bone strength.
Historically, research has focused on osteoporosis and bone health in women, already indicating a favourable response to prunes specifically among postmenopausal women. Studies have suggested eating 50-100g of prunes a day could lead to increased bone mass and decreased bone breakdown. A case study published in Bone Reports earlier this year also reported a total bone mineral density increase in a postmenopausal woman with osteopenia after she consumed 50g of prunes daily for 16 months.
California Prune Board consultant Jo Travers, said: “Bones act as reservoirs for minerals that have many other uses throughout the body, and when these minerals get low, bone is broken down in order to release these reserves. Getting the minerals out of bone is a very quick process, but putting them back is much slower, leading to an overall net loss of bone mineral density.”