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Can Prunes Reverse Bone Loss After Menopause?

roups will be required to take 500 milligrams of calcium and 200 units of vitamin D daily; undergo blood and urine testing every three months; and have their bone mineral density measured at the beginning and end of the study using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, or "iDXA" (eye-DEX-uh), the latest in whole-body scanning technology.

Meanwhile, hopes are high for those plums. In a 2004 study he led while at Oklahoma State University, Arjmandi found that a diet supplemented with dried plums produced significant restoration of bone mass in female rats whose ovaries had been surgically removed.

"I've never seen results that were more consistent," he said. "If the findings from FSU's human study are similarly positive and reproducible, they could help researchers isolate the compounds responsible. From there, it may be possible to create a safe, low-cost alternative or adjunct to prescription medications for osteoporosis."

While eating the fruit itself is the best way to benefit from potent, concentrated plant-based chemicals such as polyphenols, supplemental forms are useful when fruit isn't consistently available or consumed in sufficient amounts, Arjmandi said. And when it comes to plums and apples, only a few varieties provide optimal health benefits in dried form.

Joining Arjmandi as a co-investigator is Dr. Kenneth Brummel-Smith, chair of geriatrics at the FSU College of Medicine. Members of the nutrition, food and exercise sciences department research team include post-doctoral fellow Latha Devareddy; doctoral student Shirin Hooshmand, the study coordinator; and master's degree students Raz Saadat and Kellie Adkins.

"Given its rapidly growing and aging population, the state of Florida has been an ideal location for this research," said Arjmandi. Further studies are in the works. "Currently, my colleagues and I are preparing a major proposal for the National Institutes of Health that exceeds $1.5 million, which
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