24 May 2013

Can salvestrols fight disease?

Scientists are describing a plant compound called salvestrols as one of the most significant breakthroughs in nutritional science since the discovery of vitamins.

Scientists are describing a plant compound called salvestrols as one of the most significant breakthroughs in nutritional science since the discovery of vitamins.

Salvestrols are naturally occurring compounds (phytonutrients) which fight fungi in fruit and vegetables, are essential for human wellbeing and are being hailed as having a significantly powerful impact on fighting disease.

Salvestrols were discovered by Professor Gerry Potter, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Director of the Cancer Drug Discovery Group at Leicester’s De Montfort University and Professor Dan Burke, a pharmacologist and former Dean of Science at the UK’s Sunderland University.

Professor Potter had spent almost 20 years designing synthetic cancer drugs and discovered that plants have similar compounds that could prove beneficial in the treatment of diseased cells in humans.

Salvestrols emerged out of a cancer drug discovery programme which has delivered several key pharmaceutical products (including Abirateronea, a breakthrough treatment for prostate cancer). Salvestrols' effect on humans has since been backed by other prominent scientists. Case studies on diseased patients who have used salvestrols with positive outcomes have been published in respected medical journals. South African medical practitioners and patients are also increasingly also discovering the incredibly positive effects of salvestrols on disease.

Unique enzyme protein

During his research, Prof Burke discovered that diseased cells contain a unique enzyme protein called CYP1B1. He found that salvestrols have a deadly effect on this enzyme while leaving healthy cells intact. In collaboration with Prof Potter, they discovered that salvestrols exert similar effects to those they were seeking through synthetic pharmaceuticals. As a result, their focus and research is now entirely dedicated to salvestrols.

Potter then coined the name salvestrols from the Latin word salve, meaning "to save" and Burke has described salvestrols as "probably the most significant breakthrough in nutrition since the discovery of vitamins".

More than $30million has gone into the research of salvestrols over the last 15 years and salvestrols food supplements are now available worldwide including Europe, Australia, the UK, Canada, Japan and now in Southern Africa. 

Salvestrols are found in the skin of fruit and vegetables but due to modern farming practices -- in particular the use of fungicides – their levels have diminished in commercially produced crops. Organic fruit and vegetables have a higher salvestrol content.

Salvestrols was voted as "the no 1 big idea of the year" in health by Dr John Briffa ( in Observer Magazine. He wrote in the Observer newspaper that salvestrols could play a key role in cancer research.

The British Daily Mail dedicated an article to salvestrols and quoted the results of research by Burke and Potter which were published in the British Naturopathic Journal.

Various other studies relating to salvestrols have been undertaken over the last two decades. Below are the most prominent with case studies to be found in point 2:
  1. Evidence that CYP1B1 is a universal tumour marker
  2. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine article: Nutrition and Cancer: Salvestrol case studies
  3. Nutrition and the prevention and treatment of cancer
 - (Leap Communications press release)

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