Several microbiome species may be involved in the bone-protective effects of prunes

A rapid decline in bone mineral density is a common effect of menopause. Prunes have been shown to protect against postmenopausal bone loss, but these benefits are only seen in certain individuals. A recent study published in Frontiers in Nutrition examined the relationship among the gut microbiome, immune responses and bone-protective effects of prunes on postmenopausal women.

A total of 52 women who consumed 50-100 grams of prunes daily were divided into responders (n = 20) and non-responders (n = 32) based on percent change in total hip bone mineral density (≥1% or ≤−1% change, respectively).

After 12 months of prune consumption, sequence analysis showed that responders had more diverse gut microbiota both before and after prune treatment, in particular a higher abundance of the bacterial families Oscillospiraceae and Lachnospiraceae.

These results suggest that postmenopausal women with initial low bone mineral density can benefit from eating prunes if they host certain gut microbes. These findings could open new avenues of research into modulating bone mineral density through precision nutrition, including through prune supplementation.

This study was funded by the California Prune Board.

Simpson, A. M. R., De Souza, M. J., Damani, J., Rogers, C. J., Williams, N. I., Weaver, C. M., Ferruzzi, M. G., & Nakatsu, C. H. (2024). Gut microbes differ in postmenopausal women responding to prunes to maintain hip bone mineral density. Frontiers in Nutrition, 11, 1389638.

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