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Osteoporosis is a debilitating disorder that affects both female and male, albeit to a greater extent in women than men. As the demographic shift to a more aged population continues, a growing number of men and women will be afflicted with osteoporosis. Therefore, search for potential non-pharmacological alternative therapies for osteoporosis is of prime interest. Aside from existing drug therapies, certain lifestyle and nutritional factors are known to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Among nutritional factors, recent observations suggest that dried plum, or prunes (Prunus domestica L.) is the most effective fruit in both preventing and reversing bone loss. Several animal studies, a 3-month and a one-year long clinical trials conducted in our laboratories have shown that dried plum has positive effects on bone indices and bone mineral density (BMD). The animal data indicate that dried plum not only prevents but more importantly reverses bone loss in two separate models of osteopenia. Our initial animal study indicated that dried plum prevented the ovariectomy-induced BMD reduction of the femur and lumbar vertebra. In another study rats were ovariectomized and allowed to lose bone before the initiation of treatment to mimic established osteoporosis. Dried plum as low as 5% (w/w) gram per kilogram diet restored BMD to the level of intact rats. Dried plum also reversed the loss of trabecular architectural properties such as trabecular number, connectivity density, and trabecular separation. We have also shown the effectiveness of dried plum in reversal of bone loss due to skeletal unloading. Microcomputed tomography (µCT) analyses revealed that dried plum enhances bone recovery during reambulation following skeletal unloading and has comparable effects to parathyroid hormone. In addition to the animal studies, our 3-month clinical trial indicated that the consumption of dried plum daily significantly modulated serum markers of bone turnover in postmenopausal women.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Bahram H. Arjmandi, Professor Directing Dissertation; Kenneth Brummel-Smith, University Representative; Peggy Y. Hsieh, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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