Vitamin B17: Poison cancer remedy?

Vitamin B17: Poison or cancer remedy?

9:07 AM, 18th March 2017
Vitamin B17: Poison or cancer remedy?
Best sources of Vitamin B17- apricots, apple seeds, raspberries, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, etc.

BRENTWOOD, US: Banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the 1980s but to lauded by some alternative medicine practitioners as a treatment for cancer, the controversy over vitamin B17 rages on.

Vitamin B17, also called amygdalin or laetrile, is a glycoside nutrient linked with cancer prevention in alternative medicine practices — and there are anecdotal claims that it’s actually cured cancer. It is derived from natural food sources and most abundant in seeds of plants of the prunasin family, such as apricots and apples.

Vitamin B17 interacts with other antioxidants including vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E along with pancreatic enzymes to break down and eliminate harmful cells from the body. This makes it beneficial for detox support, immunity and potentially even various forms of disease prevention.

Vitamin B17, which has the scientific name mandelonitrile beta-D-gentiobioside, is considered a nitriloside, a natural cyanide-containing substance. Laetrile, the extract form of vitamin B17, is most well-known for potentially helping prevent cancer development through the production of hydrogen cyanide.

This beneficial compound is released into the body’s tissues and targets and destroys mutated cells. Although more formal research is still needed to prove vitamin B17’s effectiveness, many alternative medicine practitioners use vitamin B17 to increase immunity. Cyanide is thought to be the main anti-cancer component of vitamin B17 but is not fully proven in clinical settings as of today.

Vitamin B17’s potentially big benefits 

1. May help protect against cancer 

Vitamin B17, specifically in the form of D-amygdalin, may help with the regression and growth of cancerous cells and tumours because it exhibits selective killing effects on mutated cells, also called apoptosis. Apoptosis is a mechanism of “programmed cell death” and considered an important part of cancer treatment. Vitamin B17 compounds have the important ability to kill cancer cells more readily than killing normal, healthy cells.

But in the medical community, there is still an argument whether vitamin B17 should be used as an anti-cancer treatment or not.

2. Boosts immunity

Vitamin B17 contains special properties that slow down the spread of illness throughout the body by killing harmful cells, but the exact way that vitamin B17 does this isn’t well-understood.

3. Reduces pain

In a case series published in 1962, when patients were treated with a wide range of doses of intravenous vitamin B17 laetrile, pain relief was the primary benefit reported. Some of the patients’ responses included decreased adenopathy (swollen lymph nodes) and decreased tumour size.

However, patients weren’t followed long term to determine whether or not the benefits continued after treatment stopped, so it’s hard to tell whether vitamin B17 could act as a natural pain reliever for other conditions, such as arthritis.

4. Lowers high blood pressure

Vitamin B17 may cause a low blood pressure reaction due to a formation of thiocyanate, a powerful blood pressurelowering agent. However, it’s unknown if this is an effective treatment long-term or if the effects are mostly temporary.

If you have any existing heart issues that could become complicated if you experienced a sudden drop in blood pressure, you should avoid taking vitamin B17.

Is Vitamin B17 safe?

Although many studies find vitamin B17 to be safe for human consumption, more information is still needed to determine the most effective dose, possible toxic reactions and long-term side effects of high doses.

Toxicity resulting from cyanide poisoning is much higher when vitamin B17 is given orally because intestinal bacteria contain enzymes that activate the release of cyanide found in vitamin B17 and make its effects much more drastic and quick-acting. However, when vitamin B17 laetrile is injected, this rarely occurs.

Because the evidence is unclear, it is recommended to obtain vitamin B17 from food sources rather than high doses of supplements. While food sources may provide smaller doses, they’re always a safer option that poses much less of a risk than extracts and pills.

Best sources of Vitamin B17

  • Apricots (kernels/seeds), Almonds, Cashews, Macadamia nuts 
  • Seeds from other fruits like apples, cherries, peaches, prunes, plums, pears
  • Lima beans, Fava Beans, Bean sprouts, Bamboo shoots
  • Wheatgrass, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Barley, Millet
  • Raspberries, Elderberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, Blueberries

Is Vitamin B17 treatment new?

Vitamin B17 is far from new. “Bitter almonds,” another source of vitamin B17, have been used as a traditional remedy for thousands of years by cultures, including ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Pueblo Indians. The compounds in vitamin B17 were discovered around 1802 when a chemist realised that distilling the water from bitter almonds released hydrocyanic acid and this could be purified to form amygdalin, the active ingredient of vitamin B17.

Vitamin B17 in the form of laetrile was first used as a cancer treatment in Russia back in the mid-1800s and then spread to the United States in the 1920s. By the 1970s, laetrile gained popularity as an anticancer agent, with more than 70,000 individuals in the U.S. alone using vitamin B17 laetrile to help treat cancer.

Today, vitamin B17 laetrile is not approved for cancer prevention or cancer treatment use in the US. That’s because there’s little evidence to fully understand how laetrile works in humans and prove that it’s definitely safe and effective.

While vitamin B17 shows anti-cancer activity in some animal studies, the FDA feels that more information is needed regarding the effects of vitamin B17 in human clinical trials before it can be widely used to prevent disease and increase immunity.

While it’s a banned substance for retailers to sell, it’s not illegal to possess or use. Therefore, some practitioners still use vitamin B17 in the form of laetrile to help treat cancer. They often obtain these supplements and extracts from Mexico, where vitamin B17 production for medicinal purposed is still supported.

Recommended intake of Vitamin B17

Currently, the administration, schedules and the length of treatment with vitamin B17 vary widely depending on the patient’s specific condition and the practitioner prescribing it.

Vitamin B17 side effects and interactions

Many cases show that vitamin B17 is usually well-tolerated and doesn’t cause toxicity or harm, but some people experience side effects associated with symptoms of cyanide poisoning. Cyanide is a neurotoxin that causes a range of side effects, including nausea and vomiting, headaches, dizziness, discoloration of the skin resulting from oxygen-deprived haemoglobin in the blood, liver damage, abnormally low blood pressure, mental confusion, and even death.

Oral vitamin B17 is considered more dangerous and prone to cyanide poising than injected laetrile. These side effects are increased by eating raw almonds or crushed fruit pits, or by eating fruits and vegetables that contain beta-glucosidase enzymes — including celery, peaches, bean sprouts and carrots.

High doses of vitamin C can also add to harmful side effects when taking vitamin B17. On the other hand, consuming foods that contain acid, specifically hydrochloric acid, helps prevent side effects of vitamin B17. These include citrus fruits like lemon, orange or grapefruit.

A couple of serious warnings to keep in mind regarding interactions of vitamin B17 include the fact that it can lower blood pressure drastically in some cases and also cause blood thinning.

So, it should never be used with other blood pressure medications or prescriptions known to thin blood. It’s also not recommended to take vitamin B17 with probiotics because probiotics may enhance the effects of cyanide and lead to cyanide poisoning in some rare cases.

© Dr Axe News

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