The Salvestrol molecules themselves are not new discoveries, since their chemical structures and the plants in which they occur have been known about for many years. But never before have these chemicals been grouped together on the basis of this particular set of recently discovered anticancer actions. The key feature of Salvestrols is that they are activated only inside the cancer cells, which they arrest or kill. The anticancer effects are due, not to the plant chemicals themselves, but to what they turn into within the cancer cells triggered by the presence of a specific enzyme.
Salvestrols Are Nature’s Defence Against Attack
Since plants cannot run away from predators and pathogens, how do they defend themselves? The answer is by chemical warfare. Plants produce chemicals that act as attractants and repellents. The repellents are synthesised in response to microbial attack and fight off microbial pathogens such as fungi (mould) or bacteria. When ripe fruits and vegetables are attacked by fungus, which happens all the time, they develop Salvestrols as a natural defence. When we eat the plants, the Salvestrols in the food are triggered by a particular enzyme in pre-cancerous or cancerous cells to produce piceatannol, which then then attacks these cells. So, instead of using a synthetic drug to fight cancer, it may be possible to plug into one of nature’s existing natural defence mechanisms.
Potter believes that Salvestrols have evolved as “a rescue mechanism” that causes a cascade of events that can kill cancerous cells before they have a chance to develop into tumours, possibly explaining the protective effects of a diet high in fruits and vegetables. Having discovered this, his team searched for plants that had the highest level of Salvestrols. Their definition of salvestrol is not an actual compound, like vitamin C, but an actual effect. So, any plant that could activate the production of the anti-cancer agent piceatannol only within cancer cells, but not normal cells, is deemed to have a salvestrol effect.
As I’ll illustrate shortly, Potter’s team identified the potency of each plant in Salvestrol ‘points’. Professor Potter then started testing to see if the compound would fight an active cancer if taken in a concentrated form as a supplement. Results were impressive. Professor Burke describes Salvestrols as “the most ......
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