Gerry from Leicester, Leicestershire, United Kingdom asked:

Does salvestrols, found in plants and fruits, prevent cancer?

Fruit and vegetables and cancer

Is it true that a diet high in salvestrols is beneficial to cancer patients? I read about it in a few case studies.

Our answer

Salvestrols are naturally occurring plant chemicals or phytonutrients. Some studies in the lab suggest that their health benefits may be worth investigating further, but for now, we don’t know whether or not they really can help treat cancers. There are published case studies that suggest the people involved may have experienced an improved prognosis after using these compounds (found in varying amounts in fruits and vegetables, depending on the types, growing conditions, etc). However, these reports are essentially detailed stories about what happened to individuals who tried the treatment. Each had a different history, cancer background and overall treatment regime. If they really did have a positive outcome, there could have been many potential reasons. Unfortunately, people’s stories, however compelling, don’t offer proof that treatments work. Well-designed, clinical trials are needed, and we don’t have any at this point in time. We do know that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is the best protection against cancer, but we are a long way from knowing which particular compounds in these foods are the important ones –  and whether any of them may offer a proven treatment for cancer in the future.

This page was last updated on: June 11, 2013

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