British Journal of Nutrition

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Comparative effects of dried plum and dried apple on bone in postmenopausal women

Shirin Hooshmanda1, Sheau C. Chaia1, Raz L. Saadata1, Mark E. Paytona2, Kenneth Brummel-Smitha3 and Bahram H. Arjmandia1 c1

a1 Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences, Florida State University, 436 Sandels Building, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA

a2 Department of Statistics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA

a3 College of Medicine, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA


Aside from existing drug therapies, certain lifestyle and nutritional factors are known to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Among the nutritional factors, dried plum or prunes (Prunus domestica L.) is the most effective fruit in both preventing and reversing bone loss. The objective of the present study was to examine the extent to which dried plum reverses bone loss in osteopenic postmenopausal women. We recruited 236 women, 1–10 years postmenopausal, not on hormone replacement therapy or any other prescribed medication known to influence bone metabolism. Qualified participants (n 160) were randomly assigned to one of the two treatment groups: dried plum (100 g/d) or dried apple (comparative control). Participants received 500 mg Ca plus 400 IU (10 μg) vitamin D daily. Bone mineral density (BMD) of lumbar spine, forearm, hip and whole body was assessed at baseline and at the end of the study using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Blood samples were collected at baseline, 3, 6 and 12 months to assess bone biomarkers. Physical activity recall and 1-week FFQ were obtained at baseline, 3, 6 and 12 months to examine physical activity and dietary confounders as potential covariates. Dried plum significantly increased BMD of ulna and spine in comparison with dried apple. In comparison with corresponding baseline values, only dried plum significantly decreased serum levels of bone turnover markers including bone-specific alkaline phosphatase and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-5b. The findings of the present study confirmed the ability of dried plum in improving BMD in postmenopausal women in part due to suppressing the rate of bone turnover.

(Received September 15 2010)

(Revised January 06 2011)

(Accepted January 21 2011)

(Online publication May 31 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr B. H. Arjmandi, fax +1 850 645 5000, email


Abbreviations: BALP, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase; BMD, bone mineral density; CRP, C-reactive protein; OC, osteocalcin; TRAP5b, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-5b