Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
Can you please offer some expert opinion on the vitamin supplement, Juice Plus? It is being shamelessly promoted as a cure and prevention for cancer and [from] what I have read about it, it has really shocked me. It looks like a total scam. Can you please comment on this product?
Katrina Claghorn, MS, RD, Registered Dietitian at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:
Juice Plus is a dietary supplement that its manufacturers claim has many health benefits, and it is heavily promoted to cancer patients. It is a concentrate of fruits and vegetables and is available in a variety of forms. The benefits of nutrients found in fruits and vegetables and their role in helping to prevent diseases such as cancer have been extensively researched. It is generally found that high consumption of plant-based foods helps reduce disease. However, the key word here is food. Plant foods contain many different compounds, including vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (plant compounds), that all have a synergistic effect, meaning that they work together. Consequently, it is best to get these nutrients from their natural food forms, rather than from supplements. While concentrated fruit/vegetables supplements may be a way to increase the intake of plant foods, they are not comparable to the whole foods themselves. In addition, since there is no oversight of the supplement industry, products do not have to be standardized, and thus there is no assurance that the nutrients on the label are present in the amounts listed - or present at all, for that matter. Bottom line, try to eat a total of 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and before taking any supplement, do your research and discuss the product with your medical team. In addition, keep in mind that these foods are thought to help prevent disease, but they are not a treatment for disease.