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Polyphenols in Dried Plums Reduce Risk of Osteoporosis

Friday, November 28, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: osteoporosis, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) The naturally occurring polyphenols in dried plums (prunes) may encourage bone formation and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, according to a study conducted by researchers from Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences, and published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Polyphenols are naturally occurring plant compounds known to have antioxidant and other health benefits.

Researchers incubated mouse cells in concentrations of zero, five, 10 and 20 micrograms per milliliter of dried plum polyphenols. Twenty-four hours later, some of the cells were treated with 1.0 nanograms per milliliter of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha).

TNF-alpha is a chemical, naturally produced by the body that is known to inhibit the activity of bone-building osteoblast cells.

Both in the presence and absence of TNF-alpha, the dried plum polyphenols caused mouse cells to produce more chemicals linked to the process of bone formation. The polyphenols also counteracted the negative effects of TNF-alpha on the cells.

"We have demonstrated that dried plum polyphenols effectively enhance osteoblast activity and mineralization under normal and inflammatory conditions," the researchers wrote. "The findings of this study suggest that the polyphenols in dried plum are at least in part responsible for the anabolic effects of dried plums reported in previous animal studies."

Prior studies have shown that dried plums, and particularly the polyphenols from dried plums, have benefits for bone health, but little research has previously been conducted into the mechanisms by which this effect operates.

And estimated 75 million people in the United States, Europe and Japan suffer from osteoporosis. Many of these are treated using drugs with the potential for long-term side effects.

"It is possible that dietary consumption of dried plums could serve as a source of polyphenolic compounds that favorably modulate both bone formation and resorption, and provide a natural alternative for individuals at risk of osteoporosis," the researchers wrote.

Sources for this story include: www.foodnavigator-usa.com.

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