Prunes are a prebiotic food that can benefit a person's bone health, according to recent research published in Nutrients. Researchers discovered that prunes' are a rich source of both carbohydrate content and their polyphenol content. The polyphenol content changes the gut microbiota and were linked to be beneficial on bone, specifically on bone regeneration.
A growing body of evidence suggests that prunes have a positive impact on our bone's health. Prunes contain a variety of nutrients that play a vital role in building our bones, its structure, maintenance and also breakdown. It consists of vitamin K, phosphorus, boron and potassium—but research continues to show that prunes help support the health of bones.
In the earlier research, prunes have been shown to promote beneficial alterations in the gut microbiota and safeguard bone health. Their polyphenolic chemicals have been predominantly responsible for such effects; however, the precise mechanisms and contributions of other significant nutrients, like carbohydrates, have not been well understood.
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However, in this study, the researchers isolated the polyphenol (PP) compounds as well as the carbohydrates (CHO) from the prunes. They then fed these prunes to two separate groups of estrogen-deficient, female mice with substantial bone loss. For comparison, three additional groups of the mice were assigned to diets. These either contained whole prunes, prune crude extract with PP and CHO components, or a diet consisting of no prunes which served as the control group. All the diets were comparable in macronutrients. Compared to the mice who did not consume any prune or prune component, those who consumed experienced restored bones.
“Both the carbohydrate component and the polyphenols within the prunes altered the gut microbiota and were associated with positive effects on bone, namely restoring bone. By definition, prebiotics are substrates that alter the composition or activity of the microbiota and confer benefits to the health of the individual” explained Principal Investigator, Brenda Smith, PhD, Professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine. In this case the benefit conferred was the restoration of bone loss.