For Patients & Caregivers
How It Works
Juice Plus has not been shown to treat or prevent cancer.
Juice Plus is a dietary supplement that contains dried concentrates of fruits and vegetables. It has been studied for its antioxidant and cardiovascular effects, but more studies are needed. Consumption of juice plus is thought to reduce oxidative stress and DNA damage, and has been associated with a reduction in the symptoms of common cold. In a study of head and neck cancer patients, JP affected an increase in serum micronutrient levels, but no clinical benefit.
Although there are ongoing clinical studies of Juice Plus in cancer patients, it has not been proven to treat or prevent cancer. Cancer patients should discuss the use of supplements with their physicians. Juice Plus is not a substitute for fresh fruits and vegetables.
- To prevent and treat cancer Evidence is lacking to support this claim.
- To prevent and manage heart disease Small studies showed mixed results. Well-designed clinical trials are needed.
- To reduce cold symptoms One study shows that taking capsules consisting of a juice powder concentrate of fruits and vegetables can reduce common cold symptoms and duration.
Do Not Take If
For Healthcare Professionals
Juice Plus (JP) is a formulation derived from a variety of fruits and vegetables and contains additional vitamins. It is marketed to complement daily diet based on the notion that people do not consume enough fruits and vegetables. Studies on bioavailability suggest that consumption of JP can increase serum levels of alpha-carotene, vitamin C, and folate (1) (2) but studies with other markers, such as lutein and alpha-tocopherol yielded mixed results. JP was comparable to standard vitamin C and E supplements, (3) but it remains unclear if this product is nutritionally superior to fresh produce. In addition, JP was shown to decrease plasma homocysteine levels, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (9) (1), but the results were not reproducible (4). Studies on cardiovascular effects, such as changes in blood pressure and cholesterol levels are inconclusive (5) (4). JP consumption is thought to reduce oxidative stress and DNA damage (10) (6) (2), and has been associated with a reduction in the symptoms of common cold (12). Gastrointestinal distress (5) and hive-like rash (11) have been associated with intake of JP in clinical trials.
In a study of head and neck cancer patients, JP affected an increase in serum micronutrient levels, but no clinical benefit (15).
While there is ongoing research using JP in cancer patients, it has not been proven to prevent or treat cancers. Due to its antioxidant effects, JP may interfere with the actions of some chemotherapy drugs. Cancer patients should discuss the use of supplements with their physicians. JP is not a substitute for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Mechanism of Action
JP is thought to have antioxidant and immunomodulating properties. It reduces some biomarkers of oxidative stress but not others (6) (3) (2). Inflammatory cytokine TNF alpha production increased up to 8 weeks following consumption of JP but decreased thereafter. It had no effect on other markers including IL-4, IL-6, superoxide dismutase or glutathione (6) (7) (8). JP decreased levels of plasma homocysteine, a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (1) (9), but failed to show similar effects in another study (4). Intake of phytochemical antioxidants may have protective effect on endothelial function by preserving the bioactivity of nitric oxide (4). JP’s effects on regulating blood pressure are mixed. Consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables can lower cholesterol levels due to their high fiber content, whereas JP extract did not appreciably alter cholesterol levels (4) (5).
Hepatotoxicity linked to JP use: A 51-year-old woman with endometrial cancer experienced elevated liver function tests and interference with allopathic therapies. The patient discontinued using the product and liver function tests normalized over 4 weeks (14).