The Friendly Prune: more than just a laxative

As an antidote to constipation, prunes are already of interest to those with PD. Now there is another benefit coming to light: strengthening our bones.

You probably know that a tendency to thinning bones ("Parkinson's disease: A risk factor for osteoporosis." and to balance problems (hence falls) are a double whammy for PwPs, nudging them towards an early grave. These two symptoms make one more prone to fractures, and hip fractures in particular, which are especially lethal. The balance problems may be helped by exercise. What about the osteopenia and the osteoporosis? Prunes are coming to the rescue! Recently published research shows that eating just 5-6 prunes per day may not merely slow bone loss, but actually has the ability--unique among the fruits that have been studied--to restore bones, building up their mineral density. (non-technical) (journal articles)

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  • Having been diagnosed with osteoporosis last year and having too strong side effects from the normal drugs prescribed, I welcome your post and links and will purchase prunes asap. Thank you

  • Glad to be helpful. I thought the sky was falling when my diagnoses of PD and of osteopenia came in one after another. As it always does, the shock eventually wore off, and I calmed down. The MD offered bone drugs, but given their poor reputation and my chronic distrust of drugs, I rejected them.

  • Thanks for this. I just had a bone scan and was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I also have very low vitamin D & B12 levels that don't seem to respond to supplements (especially the D). The doctor here didn't think this was related to my Parkinson's. Perhaps he was wrong. I'm off to the supermarket to look for prunes! (I live in Thailand, so they're likely to be pretty expensive here.)

  • You're welcome. The dosage of D3 needs to be adequate. I take 4,000 - 6,000 IU of D3 daily to keep my levels up. It works for me. And for the B-12, I use a 1,000 mg lozenge under the tongue, which bypasses the vagaries of the GI tract, and goes directly into the blood.

  • Thanks for sharing your info about the potential benefits of eating prunes re osteoporosis. I used to drink prune juice and eat prunes each day as a laxative, but stopped as soon as my constipation disappeared (quite recently.) However, I will return to eating prunes again now.:)

  • Might be good to read the research booster . It relates to females only. Osteopenic post menopausal women.

  • Hikoi, Thank you for your perceptive comment. However, I beg to differ. Postmenopausal women are naturally the most frequent target of osteoporosis research since, of the two sexes, they are more often affected by osteoporosis. Researchers seeking to tease out the effects of a treatment will always study the most extreme example first. Though clinical studies of human males seem to be missing so far, animal models show that male rodents also grow stronger bones when fed a diet of prunes:

    Personally, I take this as very encouraging. I do not plan to wait an unknown span of years until the prune diet is tested on men.

  • Here's the question: how long can a person eat prunes each day before he gets thoroughly tired of them? After eating oatmeal for breakfast for several years, I recently got sick of it, and can't bare to scarf it down it anymore even if you begged me paid me too. One may need to schedule regular prune-free holidays to avoid a gustatory revolt.

  • You just adjust according to the regulariy of th

  • dumpelkin, "One may need to schedule regular prune-free holidays to avoid a gustatory revolt." lol. Maybe our prune receptors need a rest, huh? Seriously, I manage to eat 5 prunes almost everyday by eating them with other things like peanut butter or oatmeal. Between the prunes and other veggies everyday, I avoid the constipation issue.

  • HeartSong, With peanut butter? Sounds yummie. I was only semi-serious about the prunes. I enjoy them like candy. But even now there is a limit--if I ate more than about 10 per day, I'd be asking for trouble. Though I crave carbs, they make me sleepy. Then I want to nap for an hour or two. My insomniac wife envies my "talent" for dozing off. It's a talent I'd prefer to be spared.

  • I have been eating 3 prunes a day at lunch for several years (maybe 10) and my osteopenia has not developed into osteoporosis yet.  I will try to eat a few more.

  • Attagirl, that's the way!  I recently ran out of magnesium and discovered that the prunes plus fiber has little or no effect on my constipation.  It's the magnesium that gives a green light to my bowels.  But like you, I have osteopenia, and  still take prunes in the hope that they will benefit my bones.  In a few years, I'll have another DEXA scan and will find out how the old femurs are doing.

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