The International Symposium on Nutritional Aspects of Osteoporosis (ISNAO) brings together the best scientific minds in bone health research and nutrition. Current research presented at the 2015 Ninth ISNAO has added to the increasing body of evidence that suggests dried plums (prunes) help to support healthy bones and may even promote attainment of peak bone mass.

"I'm thrilled to learn more about the research involving dried plums and how they help support healthy bones. The more effective strategies for preventing bone loss we can share with the public, the better," said ISNAO Symposium Director Connie Weaver, PhD, distinguished professor and nutrition sciences department head at Purdue University.

Osteoporosis continues to be a growing health concern, and according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF):

54 million Americans have low bone density or osteoporosis. This can increase their risk for broken bones, causing an estimated two million breaks a year.

One in two women and up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis-related bone breaks cost patients, their families and the U.S. healthcare system $19 billion annually.

Experts forecast that by 2025, osteoporosis will be responsible for three million fractures resulting in $25.3 billion in costs.

Prunes are on the NOF's "Good for Your Bones Foods" list. Two studies presented at this week's ISNAO suggested that eating dried plums help support healthy bones and may even promote attainment of peak bone mass.

Dried plums linked to an increase in bone mass in young adult and aged male mice Bernard Halloran, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, presented his new study today at ISNAO. Based on his previous research that discovered dried plums can restore bone loss in an aging model, Halloran investigated whether dried plums could support the attainment of peak bone mass during growth. Halloran found that incorporating dried plums into the diet may help to increase bone volume in both young, growing mice and also in young adult and adult mice.

"This remarkable observation suggests that dried plums may support bone health earlier in life and perhaps be an effective way to address bone-related issues as we age," said Halloran.

Previous studies suggest that dried plums may help improve bone mineral density by reducing markers of inflammation that increase the rate at which bone cells resorb or breakdown bone.Halloran's study is compelling since age-related osteoporosis is a significant public health problem for both men and women. Despite significant advances in prescription medicine for the treatment of osteoporosis, issues with patient compliance, adverse effects, cost and long term efficacy have remained. Dried plums are a convenient and cost effective snack and culinary ingredient worthy of further investigation.

A daily serving of dried plums is linked to the slowing of bone loss in postmenopausal women Previous studies discovered that eating 100 grams of dried plums (two servings; about 10-12 dried plums) for one year was associated with increased bone mineral density (BMD) and improved indices of bone turnover in postmenopausal women. During a poster session at ISNAO, Shirin Hooshmand, PhD, researcher and assistant professor, Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University, presented new research that comparatively looked at the effectiveness of a smaller dose of 50 grams of dried plums (one serving; about 5-6 dried plums). Results indicate that one serving of dried plums may be effective in improving bone health and slowing bone loss.

"It's an incredible finding," noted Hooshmand, "that a flavorful dried fruit and convenient snack may be helpful in preventing bone loss."