Enhancing Gut Microbiota and Reversing Bone Loss with Prunes

Research has demonstrated that prune consumption promotes favorable changes to gut microbiota and bone health, mostly attributing these results to polyphenolic compounds found in prunes; however, exact mechanisms and contributions from other significant nutrients like carbohydrates remain unclear.

Studies have provided compelling evidence that prunes are prebiotic foods, as mice who consumed prunes had their bone loss reversed. Researchers discovered that polyphenols and carbohydrates found in prunes act as prebiotics to promote bone health restoration.

Prunes contain both polyphenols and carbohydrates that modify gut microbiota, and these changed have positive impacts on bone health, specifically restoration. Prebiotics are defined as substrates which alter microbiota activity or composition to provide health benefits; in this instance it was bone restoration restoration that resulted.

In this study, prune carbohydrates and polyphenol compounds were isolated and fed to two distinct groups of female mice deficient in estrogen with significant bone loss for five and 10 weeks respectively. As comparison, three other groups received diets that contained either whole prunes, an extract containing both carbohydrate and polyphenol components of prunes, or no components whatsoever as control groups; macronutrient content of all diets was equal across groups.

Comparative to mice who did not consume any prunes or components thereof, those that consumed whole prunes, prune crude extract, isolated polyphenol or isolated carbohydrates experienced restored bone. Furthermore, these mice also demonstrated increased production of short-chain fatty acids in their gut and favorable changes to gut microbiota composition.

Short-chain fatty acids n-butyrate and propionate were particularly evident, which are widely regarded as effective measures against bone loss by suppressing biomarkers linked to its breakdown. These observations demonstrate how prunes could influence gut processes that promote immune system processes, mineral absorption, integrity of gut barrier integrity and immune cells that play a part in maintaining bone health – all crucial aspects for overall bone wellness.

As early as in the study, carbohydrates were noted as having the capacity to restore bone independently while polyphenols’ effects became noticeable and more significant over time.

According to researchers, although both products possess prebiotic activity, different mechanisms may be at work behind this action. Based on results gathered thus far, whole prunes may provide short-term carbohydrates benefits while polyphenols could bring longer term advantages.

Prunes can also provide us with beneficial minerals, vitamins, and plant compounds which have a direct bearing on their gut and bone health benefits.