If you know anyone who has cancer, who is seeking to complement their treatment with natural products/concepts, then you have probably already heard about Salvestrols.

For years I have heard my colleagues talk about Salvestrols and how they believe these are a vitally important addition into their patient’s wellness programs and especially in the programs of those who have, or who have had cancer.

So when the opportunity arose for me to attend a talk about Salvestrols given by Rebecca Baylis from Salvacare, I became excited.  Finally I would be able to find out more about this natural substance/compounds and to hear first hand about the research done on this.

Leanne salvestrol

Salvestrols Journeys to Wellness By Brian Schaefer

At the talk, Rebecca provided us with some really great information about Salvestrols and “how they came about”, as well as heaps of information about “real life situations” where Salvestrols have been used and the outcomes of its use.  Most of this was outlined in the book – Salvestrols Journeys to Wellness.  By Brian A Schaefer

In his book, Brian starts off by repeating a statement that was made at a public lecture here in New Zealand, on February 2013.  It is

“The beauty of Salvestrols is that you don’t need to paddle up the Amazon to find them – if you grow organically you can find them in your own garden, regardless of where you live”.

I love anything like this.  Finding out about how I can add more of these super compounds into my diet, just by eating more organically grown fruits and veggies!  Yah, that sounds easy!

But sometimes we may need much higher concentrations of compounds like Salvestrols, so may need to take it in a more concentrated form, such as in a supplement.

It is the information in this book that I particularly wanted to share with you, as it is so well written and very easy to understand and as far as I am concerned, tells us all we need to know about Salvestrols.   The book is

Salvestrols. Journeys to Wellness. By Brian A Schaefer.

In this book, Brian starts off by talking about the statement that many of us grew up hearing
“Eat your vegetables!”. 

We have all heard this statement, but what is the basis behind it?  We may have been given the explanation that studies of people who have a diet made up of abundant fruits and vegetables enjoy greater health benefits and reduced risk of cancer, however this doesn’t really tell us “How this works”.

About a decade ago, Brian came across the work of a group of English cancer researchers that provided a real explanation of how this works – a mechanism that explained how eating fruits and vegetables would not just prevent cancer but could kill cancer.

Who are these Cancer Researchers?

This group consisted of Professor Gerry Potter, a Medicinal Chemist; Professor Dan Burke, a Pharmacologist/Toxicologist and Anthony Daniels an Engineer.

In the early 1990s, these men were conducting work that would facilitate their later collaboration on explaining the link between fruit and vegetable consumption and cancer.

Gerry was working at The Institute of Cancer Research in London.  The team he was involved with was interested in prostate cancer and in particular, the role of testosterone production in the hopes of slowing prostate cancer growth.

To this end, they knew that an enzyme CYP17 (pronounced ‘sip 17’) was instrumental in the pathway for production of androgens such as testosterone.  Gerry has a fantastic ability to visualize complex chemical and biochemical shapes.

He began working with CYP17 and designed a compound that would inhibit the operation of this enzyme and consequently the production of testosterone.

He developed a Breakthrough in Prostate Cancer Treatment

For this discovery, Gerry received his Third award from the Royal Society of Chemistry.  He is the only scientist to ever receive more than one of these awards.Royal_Society_of_Chemistry.svg

While Gerry was working on the development of targeted cancer therapies in London, Dan Burke and his students were investigating another CYP enzyme at the Medical School in Aberdeen.

The enzyme was CYP1B1 (pronounced ‘sip one be one’)

They initially discovered that CYP1B1 showed up in soft tissue sarcomas but did not show up in surrounding healthy tissue.  The finding was interesting but did not cause too much of a stir.

Dan and his students were intrigued and decided to investigate other cancers.

They found the same result in Breast cancer, namely that CYP1B1 was present in breast cancer cells, but not in the surrounding normal breast cells.

They then went on to investigate a broad array of cancers and found the same result of CYP1B1 being present in cancer cells of the colon, lung, oesophagus, skin, lymph nodes, brain and testis with no detectable presence in the surrounding healthy tissue.


                CYP1B1 Gene

This cumulative body of evidence was very exciting, as it indicated that CYP1B1 might serve as a universal cancer marker and as such, could be used both as a target for cancer therapy and as a target to use for diagnostic purposes.

In short, CYP1B1 could be the Holy Grail of cancer research.  At this point, laboratories around the world started investigating CYP1B1 and it is now widely regarded as a universal cancer marker of great utility, because it shows up in the various cancers, but is absent from healthy tissue.


Anthony Daniels was working on developing methods of reliably extracting natural compounds from plant material and investigating the utility of botanical compounds for real world applications in health, agriculture and environmental remediation.

He became particularly adept at extracting compounds from herbs and foods – something that was about to become very important for the advancement of cancer research.

And Dan Burke?

Dan Burke left Aberdeen and took an academic post as Head of the School of Pharmacy in Leicester.

He then recruited Gerry Potter to his department at the University to develop a prodrug for CYP1B1.

Dan discussed his work on CYP1B1 with Gerry and outlined the problem that needed to be solved.  Following on his success with CYP17, Gerry set to work on CYP1B1 and designed a prodrug for it.

The drug was designed to be activated through metabolism by CYP1B1, to produce a metabolite that would initiate apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the cancer cell.  In this way, the drug would be absolutely targeted to the cancer and leave little room for harmful side effects.

Many discussions were held as to why CYP1B1 would be present in cancer cells and not in healthy tissue – What was its function?

The professors hypothesised that CYP1B1 must be a rescue mechanism for ridding the body of aberrant cancer cells.  Enzymes work by changing the shape, structure and often function of compounds that can bind with them.

If this hypothesis were true, then a prediction that could be derived was that the compounds for CYP1B1 to metabolise, would come from ones diet.

Dan and Gerry realized that they had seen similar compounds in plant biology.

They began a search for plant compounds that could be metabolised by CYP1B1, to see if they would have the same anti-cancer property as their prodrug.  They found some!!!!

Tests were performed and it was found that these natural compounds performed selective targeting of CYP1B1.  The natural compounds are metabolised by CYP1B1 and then the metabolite bought about the destruction of the cancerous cell.

These natural compounds were named Salvestrols.

What the professors discovered was that nature produced some Salvestrols with very high, targeted selectivity.

By selectivity we mean that the metabolite produced by CYP1B1 was able to kill cancer cells because of the presence of CYP1B1, but not kill normal cells, which contained no CYP1B1 and hence no metabolite.

Here was a specific, tested mechanism to explain how certain dietary compounds could prevent and treat cancer.

So how do Salvestrols Work in the body?


Organic Fruits and Veggies Contain Naturally Occurring  Salvestrols

We ingest Salvestrols from organic fruit and vegetables.  They are absorbed and transported through the body.

When Salvestrols encounter the CYP1B1 enzyme in cancer cells, the CYP1B1 enzyme metabolises the Salvestrols, producing a metabolite that induces the death of the cancer cell.

It is a very elegant mechanism and it provides great credibility to the hypothesis that CYP1B1 is a rescue enzyme.

It also indicates that cancer can be viewed as a dietary deficiency.  When the diet is deficient in Salvestrols, cancer cells proliferate.  When a diet is rich in Salvestrols, this rescue mechanism maintains good health of the body.

If the body has cancer cells, the ingestion of Salvestrols tend to get rid of the cancer cells and returns the body to good health.

So what now?

With this discovery of Salvestrols, came the question of how to make this knowledge available to people that were suffering with cancer.  The initial approach was to put together a diet to highlight the foods that would deliver Salvestrols.

The Green and Red Diet

Professor Potter produced what is known as the Red & Green Diet. He also got in touch with Anthony Daniels to discuss whether or not it would be possible to formulate a supplement that provides the higher levels of daily intake of Salvestrols that people would likely need if they were diagnosed with cancer.

Early on it was known that a variety of herbs were good sources of Salvestrols, but Anthony knew that changes to the regulatory framework for health products made extraction from herbs a problematic direction to take.

A program of work was initiated to screen fruits and vegetables for Salvestrols and it produced some very interesting findings.

What did their findings show?

In short, it showed that fruits and vegetables that were grown using traditional or organic methods produced significantly higher quantities of Salvestrols than those grown conventionally.

These heritage Pendragon Apples contain good amounts of Salvestrols

These heritage Pendragon Apples contain good amounts of Salvestrols

Furthermore, they found that heritage varieties (plants that have not been bred or modified to change their original characteristics) produced vastly higher quantities of Salvestrols.

Why do heritage Fruits & Veggies contain higher amount of Salvestrols than other produce?

Salvestrols are part of the plants defense against predation, particularly against fungal attacks.  They are produced in response to predation.

Consequently if a plant is sprayed with agents that reduce predation or reduce fungal attacks, the plant does not produce Salvestrols.

This is why these beneficial compounds are not part of our typical diet.

Furthermore, plants have been bred to produce sweeter fruits and vegetables in an attempt to increase their market appeal.

What do Salvestrols taste like?

Salvestrols typically have a bitter taste and therefore they do not contribute to the notion of a highly marketable fruit or vegetable.

This is why when we look at the level of Salvestrols in heritage crops, they are vastly higher than those found in modern varieties.

WOW, that is Such Interesting Information! AND It makes Sense!  If you spray the fruits and vegetables with fungicides, the plant doesn’t need to make its own fungicidal.   Common Sense!

So here is the Summary on Salvestrols

  • Salvestrols are most abundant in organically grown fruits and vegetable especially heritage varieties.
  • CYP1B1 is a universal cancer marker that shows up in all the various cancers but not in healthy tissue.
  • Salvestrols are food based compounds that when metabolised by CYP1B1, produce a metabolite that induces apoptosis in the cancer cell.
  • Salvestrols are part of the plants defense mechanism against predation such as fungal attack.
  • In the presence of a large dietary source of Salvestrols such as from organically grown heritage crops, this mechanism works to maintain good health by killing off aberrant cells.  In dietary deficiencies in which Salvestrol ingestion is chronically low, aberrant cells proliferate.  By addressing this dietary deficiency, the mechanism can return the body to good health.

Since the discovery of Salvestrols, many people have adopted dietary changes and Salvestrol supplementation, as a means of addressing their dietary deficiency after receiving a diagnosis of cancer.

Brian tells us “We have had the opportunity to work closely with a number of these individuals, to study their journey from diagnosis to recovery.  These studies cover a wide cross section of cancers: anal, bladder, breast, colon, leukaemia, liver, lung, lymphoma, melanoma, peritoneal and prostate”.

“They represent the situations of people from a number of different countries: Canada, England, Korea, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. ”

“Obviously both males and females are involved and they represent a cross-section of ages from 36-94”.

He goes on to say “Over the last year, up until February 2013, I have been conducting a follow up on these people to determine how they have got on after achieving remission”.

“The first eleven chapters of my book, Salvestrols Journeys to Wellness, document each of their situations as they worked through to remission”.  “I then go through the data obtained through the follow up, to highlight the lessons learned.  From the lessons learned, I introduce two situations that challenge our thinking about cancer and cancer progression”.

“Finally, I introduce the work that we are conducting on the development of blood tests for early cancer detection, disease monitoring and determination of treatment efficacy as these tests will alleviate a great deal of the uncertainty that accompanies many peoples journey from diagnosis to recovery”.

Salvestrol Points & what these actually mean

When we take pills or capsules, we are used to seeing the amount of a drug or nutrient given in a unit such as milligrams or international units.

This follows from a pharmaceutical model where a single active agent is being given.

Salvestrols represent a class of compounds

Salvestrols are derived from food and they constitute a class of compounds rather than a single compound.

Each unique Salvestrol compound has its own characteristic selectivity.

This fact makes it unreasonable to indicate an amount in milligrams, as the potency of the product would vary greatly depending on which mix of Salvestrols were used.

Salvestrol points have been developed as a metric of potency that can be used with any mixture of Salvestrols.

Salvestrols in a capsule

salvestrol bottle

Salvestrol Platinum

Capsules are produced that contain 100 points, 350 points, 1,000 points and 2,000 points.

After reviewing the pharmacokinetics of these various Salvestrol compounds, our best estimate is that an intake of 4,000 to 6,000 Salvestrol points per day would likely be required to overcome a long term dietary deficiency that has resulted in a cancer diagnosis.

However, much higher doses have been used with cancers of the brain and in advanced metastatic disease.

Once remission has been achieved, it is thought that a daily intake of 2,000 Salvestrol points per day should be sufficient to maintain good health.

Salvestrols are not the answer for everyoneSalvestrol book

The situations described in the book, Salvestrols Journeys To Wellness, are meant to show how this Salvestrol/CYP1B1 rescue mechanism can assist some of those afflicted with cancer in their return to good health.

They are not meant to convey a sense that these are the outcomes that everyone should expect.  Certainly people have made dietary change and utilised Salvestrol supplementation without achieving remission.

Many factors contribute to the success or failure in individual cases, including dietary choices, exercise level, psycho-social stresses, type and amount of conventional therapies and exposure to toxins in the environment.

References available.

Footnote from Leanne James
What exciting information this is! The information above is the Introduction in the 1st chapter of the book Salvestrols Journeys to Wellness by Brian Schaefer.  The rest of the book (the other 16 chapters) is all of the specific information, about individual cases, with real people and their outcome.  Well worth a read.   Also, well worth considering adding more organically grown foods into our diet.  What about planting some Heritage seeds/plants yourself?  You can purchase heritage seeds from Koanga Institute, home of New Zealand’s largest heritage organic seed collection.

If you would like to discuss any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact one of the Naturopaths in our team, who would be happy to talk to you about your health concerns.



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