Dried Plums May Help Protect Against Bone Loss From Radiation

First Posted: Feb 22, 2016 03:47 PM EST

New findings published in the journal Scientific Reports show that dried plums may provide protection from bone loss due to radiation.

Researchers investigated interventions they hypothesized could prevent bone damage, as well as oxidative stress-related factors leading to cancellous bone loss-or "spongy bone," from exposure to both low linear energy transfer and high linear energy transfer radiation. They did this when using mice and putting them in different interventions that exposed them to ionizing radiation.

"We evaluated different interventions with antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties, including an antioxidant cocktail, dihydrolipoic acid, ibuprofen and dried plum, to determine their ability to prevent bone loss and to blunt the expression of genes in marrow cells that lead to the breakdown of bone after irradiation with either gamma rays or simulated space radiation," Dr. Nancy Turner, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist in College Station, said in a news release.

Of the interventions tested, researchers noted that dried plus were most effective in reducing the expression of genes related to both the breakdown and prevention of spongy bone effects caused by irradiation via photons or heavy ions. 

"Dried plums contain biologically active components that may provide effective interventions for loss of structural integrity caused by radiotherapy or unavoidable exposure to space radiation incurred over long-duration spaceflight," she said. "From this study, we can conclude that inclusion of dried plums in the diet may prevent the skeletal effects of radiation exposures either in space or here on Earth."

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