LONDON, February 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Media interest in the current Expedition 46 (being undertaken at the International Space Station), with Britain's Major Tim Peake on board is likely to fuel interest into the long term health consequences of extended periods in space and the potential dangers posed by exposure to space radiation - which includes risks to bone health. So great news then that research just released today in Nature (http://nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/srep21343) has indicated once again that eating prunes may be beneficial in helping to preserve bone strength!
This exciting new animal research, is timely as a year-long space mission to help scientists better understand the effects of space on the human body is about to conclude in March. Results suggest that California Prunes may help minimise bone loss in those exposed to radiation, including astronauts in space. Additionally, radiation workers and those who receive radiation therapy as part of a treatment for cancer are also subject to possible bone loss from exposure to radiation. While California Prunes have been linked to bone health in previous studies, this emerging research explores the bone-preserving role of prunes specific to radiation exposure.
Researchers from the Universities of California, Irvine and Texas looked at the effect of various antioxidant or anti-inflammatory interventions - (including California Prune powder and a control) - on mice that received radiation. Researchers observed that the California Prune powder was the most effective in reducing undesired bone marrow cells' responses to radiation compared to the other interventions. Additionally, the researchers observed that mice on the prune diet did not exhibit decrements (bone volume loss) after exposure to radiation in any of the structural parameters measured. The results of this study suggest that California Prunes may serve as an effective intervention for bone loss due to unavoidable exposure to space radiation or radiation therapy.
"Preserving bone strength during space travel is a serious issue faced by astronauts," notes Researcher Bernard Halloran, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and Veterans Affairs. "Radiation-induced bone loss resembles the age-related structural changes of osteoporosis. But health concerns remain with current remedies, such as secondary effects from drug treatments. This preliminary research provides promising hope that something as easy as eating prunes may be able to counter the negative aspects of space travel on bone health."
Previous clinical trials also indicate that prunes may help to preserve bone health. A clinical research study published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests eating 100g California Prunes (about 10 to 12) daily compared to dried apple, may improve bone mineral density (BMD) and slow the rate of bone turnover in post-menopausal women. New research shows eating half that amount daily, about 5 to 6 prunes, may be as effective in reversing bone loss in post-menopausal women. 5 California Prunes is about 100kcal.
"These findings are remarkable and add to the growing body of research that prunes help support healthy bones," says Halloran. "We would love to further investigate the effect of prunes on bone health for those who have been exposed to radiation, since this provides a promising and practical way to counter the detrimental effects of radiation on bone strength. Additional research will also help us to determine more about the specific mechanism that allows prunes to have a protective effect on our skeleton."
California Prunes are recognised already for their digestive health benefits - eating 100g daily contributes to normal bowel function and California Prunes are The Whole Package - they are a good source of fibre; a high source of vitamin K and a source of manganese which contribute to the maintenance of normal bones; a high source of potassium with contributes to normal muscle function; a source of copper and manganese which are antioxidant nutrients that help protect cells from oxidative stress; and a source of vitamin B6 which helps maintain normal hormone levels.
California Prunes require no refrigeration and can be enjoyed as a convenient snack or incorporated into sweet or savory dishes. Whether whole, chopped or puréed in meals, California Prunes are a great way to boost the nutritional value in recipes.
Find more information on research, recipes and how-to videos at http://www.californiaprunes.co.uk. Follow the California Prune Board on:
California Prune Board (CPB): The CPB represents 900 prune growers and 22 prune packers under the authority of the California Secretary of Food and Agriculture. Revered as part of California's rich history, the prune remains a vital player in California's economic wealth. California produces 99 percent of the United States' and 41 percent of the world's supply of prunes, a convenient, healthy snack for today's busy lifestyle. Bernard Halloran, PhD, has conducted research funded by the CPB. The CPB provided the prune powder used in the study.
1. Willey J et al (2011) Space Radiation and Bone Loss. Gravit Space Biol Bull. 25; 14-21.
2. Hooshmand et al. Comparative effects of dried plum and dried apple on bone in postmenopausal women. Br J Nutr. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21736808 ] 2011 Sep; 106(6):923-30.
3. Metti et al. Effects of Low Dose of Dried Plum (50 g) on Bone Mineral Density and Bone Biomarkers in Older Postmenopausal Women. April 2015 The FASEB Journal vol. 29 no. 1 Supplement738.12
SOURCE California Prune Board