Among nutritional factors, dried plum (prunes; Prunus domestica L.) is most effective for preventing and reversing bone loss.

Researchers in Oklahoma and Florida examined the extent to which dried plum reverses bone loss in osteopenic postmenopausal women.

First, the details.

  • 236 women, 1 to 10 years postmenopausal, and not on hormone replacement therapy or any other prescribed medication known to influence bone metabolism were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
    • Dried plum (100 grams/day)
    • Dried apple (as a control)
  • Participants received 500 mg calcium plus 400 IU (10 mcg) vitamin D daily.
  • Bone mineral density (BMD) of the lumbar spine, forearm, hip, and whole body was assessed before and after the study.
  • Blood samples were collected before and at 3, 6 and 12 months to assess bone biomarkers.
  • Physical activity was recalled by the women and 1-week food frequency questionnaire was completed before and at 3, 6 and 12 months to examine physical activity and potential dietary confounding factors.

And, the results.

  • Dried plum significantly increased BMD of ulna and spine compared with dried apple.
  • Only dried plum significantly decreased serum levels of bone turnover markers including bone-specific alkaline phosphatase and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-5b.
    • Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase is a marker of active bone formation
    • In animals, tT

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “The findings…  confirmed the ability of dried plum in improving BMD in postmenopausal women in part due to suppressing the rate of bone turnover.”

Excellent. Now we need a study of the effect of prunes on fracture risk.

8/22 21:56 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.