Daily consumption of 100 grams of dried plums for 12 months was associated with modest bone protection in older men, according to study findings published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.
The study randomly assigned 66 healthy men (age range, 50-79 years) of a normal weight to receive either 100grams/day of dried plums (n=33; mean age, 62.1±13.1 years) or no plums (n=33; mean age, 60.1±12.9 years) for 12 months. Researchers collected blood samples at baseline and at 3, 6, and 12 months. Blood samples were used to examine changes in bone biomarkers. Additionally, researchers assessed physical activity at baseline and after 3, 6, and 12 months. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) were used to measure bone markers at baseline as well as 6 and 12 months.
In the control group, levels of serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP) significantly decreased at 6 and 12 months (P =.001), while serum BAP levels significantly decreased in the dried plum group at 12 months (P =.001). Dried plum consumption at 100 grams per day also led to a time-dependent reduction in serum tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-5b (TRAP5b) levels at 3, 6, and 12 months when compared with baseline (P= 003). Bone resorption marker C-terminal collagen cross-link (CTX) modestly decreased in the dried plum group during the same follow-up periods (P =.04). No changes in TRAP5b or CTX levels were observed in the control arm.
The control and dried plum groups both had significant reductions in BAP levels after 6 and 12 months. There were no changes in bone mineral density for total body, spine (L1–L4), hip, and ulna in either the control or dried plum groups from baseline to 6 and 12 months. Endosteal circumferences in the proximal tibia significantly increased in the dried plum group during the 12-month study period.
Researchers relied on participants self-reporting dietary intake and physical activity, which could have affected the study conclusions. However, they concluded there were modest bone protection benefits shown in men who consumed dried plums daily, adding that “more studies with larger sample sized and of osteopenic populations are needed to confirm the findings of this study.”
Disclosure: This research was funded by the California Prune Board.
Hooshmand S, Gaffen D, Eisner A, Fajardo J, Payton M, Kern M. Effects of 12 months consumption of 100 g dried plum (prunes) on bone biomarkers, density, and strength in men. Published online January 13, 2022. doi:10.1089/jmf.2021.0080