17th June 2020

California Prunes: nature’s secret source of Vitamin K

Following the news that Dutch scientists[1] have found a potential link between better vitamin K status and improved COVID-19 outcomes, California Prunes growers are gearing themselves up for even greater demand for the wonder fruit, on top of an increase in sales across Europe already this year.

High in vitamin K, California Prunes are globally renowned for their large size and sweet taste, with UK demand for the delicious Californian dried fruit up by 10 per cent year on year[2]. Prunes are also a natural source of other vitamins and minerals, which support overall health and the immune system, including vitamin B6[3], copper[4] and fibre[5].

Kevin Verbruggen, European Marketing Director for the California Prune Board, which represents the US state’s growers and packers, says: “California Prunes are a tasty and easy way to help increase the intake of important nutrients like vitamin K.

“People love our prunes for their versatility, size and taste. They can be kept in the cupboard for up to a year, and are great as a handy snack. As an ingredient, they can complement sweet and savoury dishes in so many ways, from breakfast cereal through to meat- or plant-based meals. They add wonderful taste and texture, and, thanks to their sweetness, can even be used a substitute for fat and sugar in baking, or as a delicious addition to desserts.”

The study carried out by Dutch researchers, and published in the journal Preprints, suggests a connection between low levels of vitamin K and the accelerated breakdown of tissue fibres, including elastin, which is involved with pulmonary disease. Vitamin K[6] plays a part in the production of proteins that regulate clotting.  In light of the initial findings, the study authors remain cautious and eager for next steps, including an intervention trial. Researchers have encouraged a healthy intake of vitamin K, with the exception of those on blood-clotting medications.

The California Prune Board (CPB) has long recognised the power of prunes, and has supported scientific research into the nutritional and health benefits of incorporating the dried fruit into the diet for decades, including the part vitamin K plays in the maintenance of normal bones.

Kevin Verbruggen adds: “We note from the study findings that vitamin K2 is not a treatment for COVID-19, though illustrates that a poor vitamin K status is linked to a poor prognosis. We look forward to further developments in this exciting area. In the meantime, if people are looking for simple and tasty ways to help increase their intake of vitamin K, then we have a host of delicious California Prunes recipes to try at www.californiaprunes.co.uk.”


Kathryn Swinglehurst, Apple Tree Communications (ATC) Ltd  E:  kath@appletreecomms.co.uk / T: +44 (0) 7775 814156

[1] The research was undertaken by Dutch researchers in partnership with the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, one of Europe’s largest heart and vascular research institutes. It studied 134 patients hospitalised for Covid-19 between 12 March and 11 April, alongside a control group of 184 age-matched patients who did not have the disease. Measurements show that dp-ucMGP were significantly lower in COVID-19 patients compared with controls, 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.

[2] Source: FAS, Aug 2019 – April 2020 vs same period Prior Year.

[3] Vitamin B6 contributes to the normal function of the immune system. Enjoy prunes as part of a balanced diet & healthy lifestyle.

[4] Copper contributes to the normal function of the immune system.

[5] Prunes are the only natural, whole and dried fruit to achieve an authorized health claim in the EU, which states that 100g of prunes, eaten daily, can contribute to the maintenance of normal bowel function. It is recommended that prunes are introduced into the diet gradually, with a concurrent increase in fluid.

[6] Vitamin K contributes to normal blood clotting.