Osteoporosis cases in the United States are growing every year despite the advancements in science and technology and the various medications available on the market. Though the exact numbers are unknown, osteoporosis is estimated to affect at least 13 million women by 2030. Osteoporosis also affects a majority of men, and statistics suggest roughly 25% of men over 50 years old will break a bone due to osteoporosis, meaning it is even more common in men than prostate cancer. Osteoporosis not only affects the physical characteristics and bone mineral density, but it also affects the quality of the life of millions of people dealing with the outcomes of the disease. Fractures are extremely common to see in osteoporotic bones as these bones typically become less dense, and much easier to break.
The loss of bone mass in the elderly during osteoporosis was thought to be due to either endocrine, metabolic or mechanical factors. However, in the past 2 decades increased research and evidence continue to support that inflammation and natural bone resorption has the most significant impact on bone loss. Osteoporosis is more common in geriatric populations and post-menopausal women, these special populations typically have other comorbidities or risk factors of worsening osteoporosis, high pill burden and occasionally difficulty taking pills, tablets and capsules. Though prescribers have plenty of medications to choose from to help with osteoporosis, it is precedent that there are also non-pharmacologic methods to help prevent and reverse bone loss.
A breakthrough in research suggests a non-pharmacological treatment for osteoporosis is prunes. Consumption of either dried prunes, or prune juice strengthened immune pathways in the study, and offered many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. The results of prune juice seemed significant as early as 3 months of daily prune consumption, and at 1 year there was a significant preservation of bone mineral density and reduced number of fractures. It is difficult to say which aspect of the prune has the most impact on bone health, but it’s generally accepted that potassium, vitamin K and phenolic compounds have the greatest effect on slowing bone deterioration. Prune juice also has many other benefits besides helping with bone health, extended research also suggests that prunes can be part of a healthy diet and used to alleviate hunger or control appetite.
Though the research is relatively new, the data we currently have is promising and we hope to get more information regarding prune consumption as a non-pharmacological treatment to aid in the battle against osteoporosis. At the moment, the antioxidant effects of the prune juice seem effective but the efficacy has not been compared to prescription medications therefore it is hard to determine whether or not that prunes can be a total replacement for osteoporosis treatments or just an adjuvant therapy that is easy and efficient to consume. We look forward to see where these studies will go.
Article Link: https://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/MJ23p8.shtml
Image Link: https://www.juicebuff.com/prune-juice-vs-plum-juice/