Link between good vitamin K status and COVID-19 recovery could drive prune sales
Prunes have seen a rise in exports globally and the California Prune Board are hopeful a recent study could push demand even higher.
There could be a surge in demand for prunes, following a potential link between better vitamin K status and improved COVID-19 outcomes.
With prunes being rich in vitamin K, the California Prune Board (CPB) says that the industry is preparing for busy times ahead.
Link between vitamin K and COVID-19 recovery
The study, which was carried out by Dutch researchers in partnership with the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, monitored 134 patients hospitalised with coronavirus between March and April. Alongside this, the researchers also studied a control group of 184 age-matched patients who did not have COVID-19.
Measurements showed that dp-ucMGP were significantly lower in COVID-19 patients compared with the control group, and dp-ucMGP levels were significantly lower in COVID-19 patients with unfavourable outcomes compared to those with less severe disease – all pointing towards a link between vitamin K deficiency and disease severity.
This suggests that there is a connection between low levels of vitamin K and the accelerated breakdown of tissue fibres, including elastin which is involved in pulmonary disease. Vitamin K plays a part in the production of proteins that regulate clotting.
Prune demand on the rise
California-origin prune exports to the UK have risen by up to 10 percent since 2019, while exports to Germany and Japan have also seen a rise by seven 14 percent respectively. The Polish market has also seen an astounding jump of 87 percent.1 As such it is likely that exports around the world will climb further, says the CPB.
“We note from the study findings that vitamin K is not a treatment for COVID-19, though illustrates that a poor vitamin K status is linked to a poor prognosis,” clarifies Kevin Verbruggen, CPB’s European Marketing Director. “We look forward to further developments in this exciting area. In the meantime, California Prunes are a tasty and easy way to increase our intake of vitamin K, as well as nutrients like vitamin B6 and copper, which can help to keep our immune systems in good working order.”
The authors of the study are eager to carry out an intervention trial in light of their initial findings.
* Matrix Gla protein (MGP)
*The nonphosphorylated-uncarboxylated isoform of MGP (dp-ucMGP)
- Source: FAS, Aug 2019 – April 2020 vs same period Prior Year