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Apricot kernels (laetrile, amygdalin, Vitamin B17) as an Alternative Cancer treatment 

Laetrile, also known as amygdalin or Vitamin B17, has been actively promoted as an alternative cancer treatment. Laetrile is a substance found in the kernels/seeds of many fruits, such as apricots, apple, and in raw nuts. But the richest source is the bitter apricot kernels, which make certain people just eat them to obtain the vitamin B17 in its natural form. But to fully understand this alternative cancer treatment, it is important that we consider its story.  

In the1940s, Dr. Ernst T. Krebs, Sr. and his son Dr. ET Krebs, Jr. published a document entitled “The Unitarian or trophoblastic thesis of cancer “in the Medical Review, New York. In the years that followed, the team of father and son did some research on the co-enzymes and the possibility that cancer could be caused by a vitamin deficiency. In the early 1950s, they hypothesized that cancer is caused by the lack of an essential food compound called Vitamin B17 missing in the modern diet.  


Doing more research, they found out the existence of the kingdom of Hunza, in the Himalayan Mountains to the north of Pakistan, where those people never have cancer. The Hunzakuts consume between 100-200 times more B17 in their diet than the average American, mainly because eating apricot seeds, and also a lot of millet.  


But Doctors Krebs and his Son did not believe at first that the fruit contains substances that can fight against cancer until they learn that Hunzakuts also eat the seeds in apricot kernels, which are rich in nitrilosides, which will be Vitamin B17 later. The nitrilosides are particularly prevalent in apricots, peaches, apples, millet, bean sprouts, buckwheat, and also in other fruits and nuts seeds, including bitter almonds. The researchers extracted some glycosides of the plants which contain nitrolosides. They applied for a patent for the method in order to produce the metabolite formed by these glycosides, for clinical use. The team  called it  "Laetrile". 


Nevertheless, the Cancer Industry has denied these claims, making it be illegal to sell B17. They base on the fact that vitamin B17 contains quantities of cyanide, which is 'deadly'. However, advocates of laetrile say that this is scientifically false; studies show that vitamin B17 is poisonous to cancer cells only, but harmless to healthy tissue.  

The people who advocate for vitamin B17 explain that each molecule of B17 contains one unit of hydrogen cyanide, a unit of benzaldehyde and two units of glucose (sugar) securely locked together. For hydrogen cyanide becomes dangerous, the consumer must first unlock the molecule necessarily to free it, a trick that can only be performed by an enzyme called beta-glucosidase, which is present throughout the human body, only in trace amounts in healthy cells, but in large quantities in cancer cells.

Thus hydrogen cyanide is unlocked at the site of the malignant tumor (cancer), resulting in radical Cytotoxic (poisonous) effects to cancer cells, as the unit is unlocked at the same time as benzaldehyde. Cancer cells get a double whammy, both cyanide and benzaldeyhde! Benzaldehyde is a deadly poison in itself, but when it teamed with cyanide, the result is actually a poison 100 times more deadly than when acting alone. Cancer cells are literally obliterated, while healthy cells remain intact.  

In addition, another mitochondrial enzyme, rhodanese, which detoxifies cyanide by converting it to thiocyanate, is always present in much larger quantities than the enzyme beta-glucosidase released in healthy tissue has the ability to completely degrade both cyanide and benzaldehyde in  thiocyanate (an harmless substance) and salicylate (which is a pain killer similar to aspirin). Interestingly, malignant cancer cells contain no rhodanese at all, leaving them completely without protection from the two deadly poisons. This whole process is known as selective toxicity, since only the cancer cells are specifically targeted and destroyed.   

Ever since, hundreds of clinical studies have been conducted by many competent physicians around the world, including studies run by Dr. Ernesto Contreras at the Oasis of Hope Hospital (an Alternative cancer treatment center in Mexico), have claimed with confidence that the treatment with therapy B17 is harmless to normal cells. Therefore, apricot seeds are safe to be consumed by cancer patients. It is much cheaper and safer than chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 

National Cancer Institute (NCI) Version  


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) team, from their side, has conducted two clinical trials on laetrile in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was a phase I trial. The researchers tried to find a dose laetrile that is safe in six adult patients with cancer. They also studied how and when to give laetrile. This trial showed that there were few side effects, but two patients who also ate almonds during treatment developed cyanide poisoning.

A Phase II trial was held in 1982. During that phase, researchers examined the effect of laetrile on various types of cancer. The study included 178 adult patients, most of whom had breast cancer, colon cancer or lung cancer. During the study, some patients have reported that their cancer symptoms were mitigated and their daily functioning had improved. In about 54% patients, the cancer had progressed before the end of trial. Seven months after the end of treatment, the cancer had progressed in 175 patients, and symptomatic improvement did not last.

The researchers also reported that adverse effects reported for laetrile in various studies are similar to symptoms of cyanide poisoning: nausea, vomiting, dizziness, cyanosis (skin turning blue because the blood does not get enough oxygen), nerve damage, liver damage , low blood pressure, fever, confusion, coma and even death.  


Given all these damaging effects, the researchers of the NCI decided that no further research on laetrile was necessary after the phase II study.  


However, a great majority of scientists have doubt on the NCI studies. Alternative Cancer Treatment have approaches been always disregarded by the medical elite. Therefore, cancer patients need to their own conclusion, go on YouTube to do some research by watching “A World Without Cancer” by G. Edward Griffin, or watch cancer patients who talk about their own experience with apricot seeds, vitamin B17, amygdalin, Laetrile...