Finally! A natural alternative treatment for cancer.
Vitamin B17’s Potentially Big Benefits
1. May Help Protect Against Cancer
Overall, study results investigating the anti-cancer effects of vitamin B17 are mixed. Some show that vitamin B17 is beneficial in avoiding cancer and keeping the spread of existing cancer cells to a minimum, while others show no effects of vitamin B17 on cancerous cells. While many practitioners believe that vitamin B17 laetrile is a very good cancer treatment, most agree that it shouldn’t be the primary cancer treatment for any patient — instead, they recommend that it be used as an effective add-on supplement.
Vitamin B17, specifically in the form of D-amygdalin, may help with the regression and growth of cancerous cells and tumors 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.
In a study by the Department of Physiology at Kyung Hee University in South Korea, when amygdalin extract was combined with cancerous human prostate cells, the extract helped significantly induce apotosis in the prostate cancer cells. The researchers conclude that amygdalin may offer a valuable, natural option for treating prostate cancer. (1)
Other animal studies show that vitamin B17 amygdalin is effective at killing cancerous bladder and brain cells under certain conditions, especially when combined with other antibody-enzyme complexes. (2)
On the other hand, other studies using human lung and breast cancer cells show no effects of vitamin B17 on stunting tumor growth. Therefore, in the medical community, there still isn’t agreement at this time as to whether vitamin B17 should be used as an anti-cancer treatment.
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.
A study published in the International Journal of Radiation and Biology found that vitamin B17 amygdalin stimulated the immune system by causing a statistically significant increase in the ability of a patient’s white blood cells to attack harmful cells. (3) One theory of vitamin B17’s effects suggests that transformation of normal cells into dangerous cells that can cause disease is normally prevented by beneficial enzymes produced within the pancreas. So vitamin B17 may help increase the production of pancreatic enzymes that destroy harmful properties within the body.
Vitamin B17 is also thought to help the body experience enhanced detox effects by supporting liver function. This boosts immune function by ridding the body of toxins, malignant cells and other potentially harmful substances before they cause illness or serious chronic diseases. Another explanation of vitamin B17 mechanisms is that when vitamin B17 releases cyanide, it increases the acid content of tumors and leads to the destruction of harmful cells within the tumors, arresting their growth.
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 tumor 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)
4. Lowers High Blood Pressure
Vitamin B17 may cause a low blood pressure reaction due to formation of thiocyanate, a powerful blood pressure–lowering agent. However, it’s unknown if this is an effective treatment long-term or if the effects are mostly temporary.
Once metabolized, vitamin B17 causes enzyme beta-glucosidase production that interacts with intestinal bacteria to detox the body and lower blood pressure. This normally isn’t a danger for most people and may be beneficial for some, but it’s important not to use vitamin B17 in this way if you already take blood pressure-lowering medication.
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.
Apricot kernels and bitter almonds are most commonly used to create an extract form of vitamin B17. But
almost all seeds and kernels from various types of fruits contain vitamin B17, such as apple seeds and pear seeds. Beans and certain whole grains also contain vitamin B17.
The exact amount of vitamin B17 within foods is not well-known, and levels are thought to vary widely within a food depending on where it’s grown, the quality of the soil and how fresh it is.
According to the Vitamin B17 Organization, these are some of the highest sources of absorbable vitamin B17: (5)
Seeds from other fruits like apples, cherries, peaches, prunes, plums, pears
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 realized 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 anti-cancer 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 United States. 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