Prune Consumption Attenuates Proinflammatory Cytokine Secretion and Alters Monocyte Activation in Postmenopausal Women: Secondary Outcome Analysis of a 12-Mo Randomized Controlled Trial: The Prune Study

Background: Proinflammatory cytokines are implicated in the pathophysiology of postmenopausal bone loss. Clinical studies demonstrate that prunes prevent bone mineral density loss; however, the mechanism underlying this effect is unknown. Objective: We investigated the effect of prune supplementation on immune, inflammatory, and oxidative stress markers. Methods: A secondary analysis was conducted in the Prune Study, a single-center, parallel-arm, 12-mo randomized controlled trial of postmenopausal women (55-75 y old; n = 235 recruited; n = 183 completed) who were assigned to 1 of 3 groups: "no-prune" control, 50 g prune/d and 100 g prune/d groups. At baseline and after 12 mo of intervention, blood samples were collected to measure serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), serum total antioxidant capacity (TAC), plasma 8-isoprostane, proinflammatory cytokines [interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α] concentrations in plasma and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) culture supernatants, and the percentage and activation of circulating monocytes, as secondary outcomes. Results: Prune supplementation did not alter hs-CRP, TAC, 8-isoprostane, and plasma cytokine concentrations. However, percent change from baseline in circulating activated monocytes was lower in the 100 g prune/d group compared with the control group (mean ± SD, -1.8% ± 4.0% in 100 g prune/d compared with 0.1% ± 2.9% in control; P < 0.01). Furthermore, in LPS-stimulated PBMC supernatants, the percent change from baseline in TNF-α secretion was lower in the 50 g prune/d group compared with the control group (-4.4% ± 43.0% in 50 g prune/d compared with 24.3% ± 70.7% in control; P < 0.01), and the percent change from baseline in IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 secretion was lower in the 100 g prune/d group compared with the control group (-8.9% ± 61.6%, -4.3% ± 75.3%, -14.3% ± 60.8% in 100 g prune/d compared with 46.9% ± 107.4%, 16.9% ± 70.6%, 39.8% ± 90.8% in control for IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8, respectively; all P < 0.05). Conclusions: Dietary supplementation with 50-100 g prunes for 12 mo reduced proinflammatory cytokine secretion from PBMCs and suppressed the circulating levels of activated monocytes in postmenopausal women. This trial was registered at as NCT02822378.

Effects of Prune (Dried Plum) Supplementation on Cardiometabolic Health in Postmenopausal Women: An Ancillary Analysis of a 12-Month Randomized Controlled Trial, The Prune Study

Background: Estrogen withdrawal during menopause is associated with an unfavorable cardiometabolic profile. Prunes (dried plums) represent an emerging functional food and have been previously demonstrated to improve bone health. However, our understanding of the effects of daily prune intake on cardiometabolic risk factors in postmenopausal women is limited. Objectives: We conducted an ancillary investigation of a randomized controlled trial (RCT), The Prune Study, to evaluate the effect of 12-mo prune supplementation on cardiometabolic health markers in postmenopausal women. Methods: The Prune Study was a single-center, parallel-design, 12-mo RCT in which postmenopausal women were allocated to no-prune control, 50 g/d prune, or 100 g/d prune groups. Blood was collected at baseline, 6 mo, and 12 mo/post to measure markers of glycemic control and blood lipids. Body composition was assessed at baseline, 6 mo, and 12 mo/post using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Linear mixed-effects models were used to evaluate the effect of time, treatment, and their interaction on cardiometabolic health markers, all quantified as exploratory outcomes. Results: A total of 183 postmenopausal women (mean age, 62.1 ± 4.9 y) completed the entire 12-mo RCT: control (n = 70), 50 g/d prune (n = 67), and 100 g/d prune (n = 46). Prune supplementation at 50 g/d or 100 g/d did not alter markers of glycemic control and blood lipids after 12 mo compared with the control group (all P > 0.05). Furthermore, gynoid percent fat and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) indices did not significantly differ in women consuming 50 g/d or 100 g/d prunes compared with the control group after 12 mo of intervention. However, android total mass increased by 3.19% ± 5.5% from baseline in the control group, whereas the 100 g/d prune group experienced 0.02% ± 5.6% decrease in android total mass from baseline (P < 0.01). Conclusions: Prune supplementation at 50 g/d or 100 g/d for 12 mo does not improve glycemic control and may prevent adverse changes in central adiposity in postmenopausal women. This trial was registered at as NCT02822378.

Reduction in Serum LDL Cholesterol Using a Nutrient Compendium in Hyperlipidemic Adults Unable or Unwilling to Use Statin Therapy: A Double-Blind Randomized Crossover Clinical Trial.

Background: Many hyperlipidemic patients prescribed β-hydroxy-β-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) are unable or unwilling to take them. A hedonically acceptable snack-based solution formulated from cholesterol-lowering food ingredients could represent a therapeutic alternative but has not been tested in this population. Objectives: To evaluate the effect of snacks containing a compendium of functional bioactives on fasting LDL cholesterol in statin candidates unwilling to use or intolerant to ≥1 statin drug. Secondary outcomes included changes in circulating total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, fasting glucose, insulin, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein concentrations, as well as effects of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on outcome. Methods: This multicenter, randomized, double-blind, free-living crossover study was composed of 2 regimented phases of 4 wk each, separated by a 4-wk washout. Eighteen men and 36 women, with a mean ± SD age of 49 ± 12 y and mean ± SD LDL cholesterol of 131 ± 32.1 mg/dL, were instructed to ingest a variety of ready-to-eat snacks twice daily as a substitute for something they were consuming already. Other behavior changes were actively discouraged. Treatment products provided ≥5 g fiber, 1000 mg ω-3 (n-3) fatty acids, 1000 mg phytosterols, and 1800 μmol antioxidants per serving. Control products were calorie-matched like-items drawn from the general grocery marketplace. Serum lipids were measured at baseline and the end of each phase and compared using the ANOVA model. Compliance to study foods was confirmed by serum 18:3n-3 concentration assessment. Results: Comparing intervention phase endpoints, LDL cholesterol was reduced a mean ± SD of 8.80 ± 1.69% (P < 0.0001), and TC was reduced a mean ± SD of 5.08 ± 1.12% (P < 0.0001) by treatment foods compared with control foods, whereas effects on other analytes did not differ between treatments. SNPs were not significantly related to outcomes (P ≥ 0.230). Compliance with study foods was 95%. Conclusions: Consumption of hedonically acceptable snacks containing a compendium of cholesterol-lowering bioactive compounds can rapidly and meaningfully reduce LDL cholesterol in adult patients unable or unwilling to take statin drugs.