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Laetrile, Vitamin B17


I had the privilege of listening to a live interview with Tanya Harter Pierce, author of Outsmart Your Cancer, Alternative Non-Toxic Treatments That Work by Lisa Wilson. For the past month, Lisa and I have been drinking all kinds of elixirs, tonics and homemade concoctions. One of them being our daily apricot kernel power shot. When I returned to Washington, DC, I wanted to write this blog about Laetrile, also known as Vitamin B17 and amygdalin, and in gathering my research I came across  shocking misinformation.

One would think that resources such as WebMD would give  accurate information about treatments but I was shocked to find otherwise. WebMD says that “apricot kernels contain a toxic chemical known as amygdalin. In the body this chemical is converted to cyanide, which is poisonous. There was interest in using apricot kernels to fight cancer because it was thought that amygdalin was taken up first by cancer cells and converted to cyanide. It was hoped that the cyanide would harm only the tumor. But research has shown that this is not true. The amygdalin is actually converted to cyanide in the stomach. The cyanide then goes throughout the body, where it can cause serious harm, including death.” Needless to say, all research referred to is performed by the FDA.

Surprised by WebMD’s statements, I read another article by Cancer Research UK, thinking surely in Europe they would be more advanced in alternative treatments. Instead, I found more supporting evidence on the side of WebMD and it reads very convincing.

I remembered Tanya’s book that I just ordered and flipped through it to the section on Laetrile. In summary, here is what I learned:

  • B17 is high in the diets of those people around the world who rarely get cancer
  • B17 is naturally found in lima beans, bean sprouts, most berries, yams, many seeds, cashews, macadamia nuts, millet and buckwheat
  • B17 is composed of 4 molecules: 2 glucose, 1 benzaldehyde and 1 cyanide
  • Cyanide becomes unlocked and released as a toxic substance from the 4-molecule unit when it comes into contact with the enzyme beta-glucosidase, which is only significantly present in cancer cells
  • Normal cells have the back-up protecting enzyme, rhodanese, which has the ability to neutralize cyanide on contact and convert it into other components that are beneficial to the body
  • Rhodanese is prevalent in great quantities except where there is cancer
  • To learn more about laetrile read the World Without Cancer by G. Edward Griffin. He reports that as early as 1974, there were 26 published papers written by well-known physicians who had used Laetrile in the treatment of their own patients and had concluded that Laetrile is both safe and effective in the treatment of cancerScreen Shot 2013-07-26 at 2.49.09 PM
  • The Hunza people of the Himalayas live to be over 100 years old and cancer was unknown to them before being introduced to modern civilization
    • The Hunza diet is historically high in B17, apricot trees have always been their main crop and the wealth of a Hunzakut man was measured by how many apricot trees he had
    • It would be common for the Hunza people to eat 30 to 50 apricot kernels daily as a mid-afternoon snack, 200 times the amount of B17 as the average American diet
    • The Healthy Hunzas by JI Rodale
  • The mineral zinc is an important transportation mechanism for B17, without it, dietary B17 does not get into the tissues of the body
  • Laetrile was studied and used in Germany by Dr. Hans Nieper, in Mexico by Dr. Ernesto Contreras and the Philippines by Dr. Manuel Navarro. Prominent American Physicians who successfully treated cancer with Laetrile are Dr. Philip Binzel, Dr. John A. Richardson of California and Dr. Douglas Brodie of Nevada
  • The use of Laetrile alone is not enough to cure cancer and high doses of intravenous Laetrile is key to the nutritional therapy approach to cancer
  • Dr. Binzel could keep an average of 62 patients out of every 100 with metastasized cancer alive for a minimum of 18 years, while conventional doctors could only keep about 1 in every 1,000 patients with metastasized cancer alive for 5 years
  • Despite prominent physicians and researchers around the world were showing positive results using Laetrile for cancer, the president of the American Cancer Society of California wrote a condemning article at the end of 1973, “Laetrile is goddamned quackery!”
  • The misleading information put out about Laetrile is focused around (1) that Laetrile is too toxic for people to use because it contains cyanide and (2) that it is simply not effective in treating cancer
  • If Laetrile is toxic, then why is Vitamin B12 allowed to be sold as a health supplement when it too contains the same type of cyanide molecule as B17?
  • Aspirin tablets are 20 times more toxic than the equivalent amount of Laetrile
  • As a result of their improperly done studies, the Mayo Clinic researchers concluded that they found no effectiveness of Laetrile on cancer
  • Dr. Sugiura was Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s senior laboratory researcher and found that Laetrile is highly effective against cancers of all types. However, most medical professionals do not know about his findings because the higher-ups at Sloan-Kettering found ways to alter his results
  • According to a study done by USA Today, more than half of the experts hired to advise the government on the safety and effectiveness of medicine have financial relationships with the pharmaceutical companies that are affected by their advice
  • Even the sale of apricot seeds, one of the richest natural sources of B17 is greatly restricted

I strongly suggest picking up Outsmart Your Cancer and reading it for yourself. This is just one of many non-toxic treatments available to us. I believe knowledge is power. Question everything and before forming an opinion, do your research and be well-informed.


The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Discuss this information with your own physician or healthcare provider to determine what is right for you.  All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We cannot and do not give you medical advice. The information contained in this online site is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad consumer understanding and knowledge.

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