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What About Laetrile B17 and Apricot Peach Almond Kernels Contain Amygdalin

MARCH 2014

Learning About Vitamin B17, Laetrile and Amygdalin

Laetrile returns as a controversial form of cancer therapy. Most scientific journals will explain that cyanide and derivatives are toxic poisons and cannot help heal cancer. You will have to do your own investigations in order to make a decision.

Amygdalin is a cyanogenic glycoside found in the seeds of several plants belonging to the Rosaceae family. Apple seeds, cherry pits, and other seeds from the Prunis family contain small amounts of amygdalin. Seeds, fruits and plants from around the world contain different amounts of amygdalin. One hundred grams of moist peach seed contains 88 mg of cyanide, while an equivalent amount of apricot seed holds 217 mg.


Care When Handling Crude Doses

Why do cells die when in contact with cyanide? Cyanide inhibits the oxidizing enzymes containing ferric iron, particularly cytochrome oxidase, which results in interference with aerobic respiration. Although hemoglobin is the highest reservoir of iron in the body, this is ferrous iron and is not affected by cyanide. With the inhibition of aerobic respiration, lactic acid accumulates and cells die from a histotoxic anoxia.

If cyanide alters absorption of calcium into the cells this increase can also contribute to cell death.  Both Hydrogen cyanide (HCN is produced on an industrial scale and is a highly valuable precursor to many chemical compounds ranging from polymers to pharmaceuticals.) and Chlorine cyanide (CK chemical asphyxiant that interferes with the body's ability to use oxygen) are highly toxic.


While exposure to 60 mg-min/m3 of HCN in air generally causes no serious symptoms, tripling that exposure to roughly 200 mg-min/m3 is fatal within 10 minutes, and ten times that dose is immediately fatal. One of the other main differences between HCN and CK is that CK also possesses lung irritant properties much like phosgene or chlorine. These irritant effects are present at very low exposure rates. Just 2.5 mg-min/m3 of CK produces eye and upper airway irritation within 10 minutes and doubling that dose is intolerable at the 10 minute mark. CK requires an exposure of 400 mg-min/m3 to cause death within 10 minutes.


Cyanide can be absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes, chemical-protective clothing must be used in areas of exposure. When released as a gas, cyanide compounds may be toxic and cause death.


Natural News Reports on Laetrile | There is some confusion surrounding laetrile or B17 for curing cancer. Laetrile was banned by the FDA in 1971 despite its proven efficacy. But the source of laetrile or B17, which are both the same, is legally available. That natural substance source is amygdalin. Unfortunately, many falsely believe this poses a serious cyanide poisoning threat.

Homeopathy and Cyanide

Argentum-Cyanatum or Silver Cyanide was found recorded by Calvin B. Knerr in Repertory of Hering's Guiding Symptoms, 1896, and has been listed for cancer of the tongue, larynx with pain in the throat, asthma and constant tickling cough, especially from dust, inflammation of the throat, vomiting, general burning, constrictive and scraping sensations, cramps in extremities with sleeplessness.

Additional Elemental Homeopathic Remedies Originating From A Cyanide Compound

Six remedies have been listed with some form of cyanide including: Argentum cyanatum, Cuprum cyanatum (brain inflammation), Ferrum cyanatum (constipation alternating with diarrhea, epileptic convulsions and spasms), Kalium cyanatum (tongue epithelioma cancer, jaw pain, throat inflammation, constipation, ulcers and cancer in general), Mercurius cyanatum (diphtheria, eye inflammations, black tongue, ulcers on tonsils, dysentery, hemorrhage, weakness), and Zincum cyanatum (effects nervous system, coma, brain inflammation, violence, chorea, children's complaints, paralysis, trembling). All homeopathic remedies have been diluted and succussed to remove any harmful effects. They work on the basis of "likes cures likes" the similimum and do not produce side effects when well selected and given in the appropriate potency. 

  • Source CompleteDynamics
  • Hydrogen cyanide can be hydrolyzed to formic acid and ammonia. Formic Acid is another potent homeopathic remedy typically for gout, but many other symptoms.

Including Fruits Into the Diet

Vegetarians who eat the following foods that contain the "bitter" ingredients on a regular basis will be ingesting the cancer reducing properties into their diet. In addition to the well-known apricot pits, the other wild natural foods that contain a small amount of B17 include: Apple seeds, alfalfa sprouts, apricot kernels, bamboo shoots, barley, beet tops, bitter almond, blackberries, boysenberries, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, buckwheat, cashews, cherry kernels, cranberries, currants, fava beans, flax seeds, garbanzo beans, gooseberries, huckleberries, lentils, lima beans, linseed meat, loganberries, macadamia nuts, millet, millet seed, peach kernels, pecans, plum kernels, quince, raspberries, sorghum cane syrup, spinach, sprouts (alfalfa, lentil, mung bean, buckwheat, garbanzo), strawberries, walnuts, watercress, yams.

The Mechanism of Cyanide From Fruit Pits

The cyanide in stone fruit isn't in a free state, it is actually part of another molecule called amygdalin, which on its own is harmless. When the kernels are crushed or chewed the amygdalin is released. Certain enzymes like beta-d-glucosidase can also be released. This enzyme cleaves (breaks down) the amygdalin into glucose, benzaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide (HCN). If the beta-d-glucosidase enzyme isn't present in the fruit, it can be found in your intestinal tract, so there's no way to avoid the enzymatic decomposition of amygdalin and the release of hydrogen cyanide.

Cyanide As A Toxin

Cyanide kills by interfering with the body's ability to utilize oxygen at the cellular level. The lowest known adult fatal dose of hydrogen cyanide was estimated to be 50 milligrams. Reportedly, if a person eats 30 or more apricot pits they will become very ill and possibly die. However, the liver has the capacity to cleanse the body and eating 10 pits appears to be the amount to help remove cancer cells, while eating less when healthy cannot harm anyone. Always take precautions and check with your health care provider when self treating.

Innate Ability Of Immune System To Distinguish Healthy from Cancer Cells

The cancer cells have within them an enzyme which unlocks the poison in the amygdalin, and in this way the cancer cells are destroyed. Normal, healthy cells do not have this enzyme. In fact they have a different enzyme which unlocks the amygdalin in a different way and releases nutrients and also a neutralising agent which would neutralise any of the poison it came into contact with. Researchers at Imperial College London have been experimenting using cyanide to kill cancer cells, and state that any poison that escaped into the bloodstream would be quickly neutralised by the liver.


Amygdaline Biochemical and Physiological Actions

Cyanogenic glycoside that is a component of bitter almonds and apricot pits. There is no scientific evidence that amygdalin itself is an effective anti-cancer agent. Recent studies using β−glucoside linked to a tumor-associated monoclonal antibody to release cyanide at the tumor cell has shown significant cytotoxicity.

Application of Amydalin

Amygdalin, a cyanide containing glycoside, may be used as a substrate to identify, differentiate and characterize enzymes such as maltase(s), emulsin(s) and β-glucosidase(s).


How Many Kernels Would Build A Healthy Immune System?

"For prevention, however, Dr Ernst T Krebs Jr., the biochemist who first produced laetrile (concentrated amygdalin) in the 1950s, recommended that if a person would eat ten to twelve apricot kernels a day for life, then barring the equivalent of Chernobyl, he is likely to be cancer free. At the beginning of the 21st century it is expected that one in eight women in the UK will get breast cancer and one in nine men prostate cancer. If other types of cancer are added in, then no family is likely to be free. Therefore the suggestion that eating 10 - 12 kernels per day for life is likely to prevent cancer - is very good news indeed.

  • NB the kernels should be chewed, or ground and sprinkled on food or in fruit juice, and only five or six (1½ teaspoons ground kernels) taken at one time/in one hour.
  • Please also note apricot kernels may lower blood pressure."



UK Report On Bitter Apricot Kernals

1. Bitter apricot kernels have recently been marketed as a health food in the UK. They contain high levels of amygdalin, a cyanogenic glycoside. The Committee were asked to consider whether there were sufficient data to establish a maximum upper level for safe intake of cyanide or cyanogenic

2. In the 1970s and 1980s, amygdalin (also known as laetrile or, though not a recognised vitamin, as vitamin B17) extracted from bitter apricot kernels was sold as a treatment for cancer. The treatment was never proven and was associated with significant toxicity. Sale of these extracts was restricted under the terms of “The Medicines (Cyanogenetic Substances) Order 1984”.

3. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has advised that the kernels would be considered foods regardless of the cyanide content, unless presented as medicines by claiming to treat, cure or prevent a medical condition.

Cyanogenic glycosides in foods
4. As well as bitter apricot kernels, low levels of cyanide are also present in almonds, sweet apricot kernels and in the stones of other fruits such as cherries and consequently cyanide is present in some foods 1. The maximum level of cyanide that can be present as a result of using such foods as flavourings is regulated under the terms of The Flavourings in Food Regulations 1992 (as amended). Otherwise the cyanide content of food is not specifically regulated except under the terms of the Food Safety Act 1990 which makes it an offence to sell or possess for sale food which is injurious to health.

5. Analytical data indicate that the bitter apricot kernels currently on sale have a mean cyanide (CN) content of 1450 mg/kg, approximately 0.5 mg CN/kernel. Data on the range of values for individual kernels are not available The value of 1450 mg/kg is consistent with data from the literature2 which reports cyanide contents of <0.05, 1-2 and >2000 mg/kg for low, medium and high amygdalin containing apricot kernels respectively.

6. A number of other cyanogenic glycosides are found in foods, including linamarin (cassava, lima beans), prunasin (ferns) and sambunigrin (elderberries)1.
Reviews by other regulatory agencies

7. The database on cyanide toxicity is limited particularly with respect to chronic intake.

8. As a result of the occurrence of cyanide in food originating from flavouring substances, the Council of Europe3 reviewed cyanide toxicity and established a Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI). The TDI was based on data from a case-control study 4 which considered the effects of chronic intake of inadequately processed cassava, thought to be linked to the neurological condition konzo. In this study konzo was associated with a cyanide intake of D0.19-0.37 mg/kg body weight (bw) per day. The Tylleskär et al (1992) study 4 is considered in more detail in paragraph 19. An uncertainty factor of 10 was applied for inter-individual variation, resulting in a TDI of 20 μg/kg bw/day. An additional factor was not applied to extrapolate a lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) to a no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) since the condition was thought to be exacerbated by other dietary deficiencies such as of sulphate which would not be relevant to other populations. It was noted that the aetiology of konzo is not fully understood.

9. Safe intakes of cyanide from drinking water were considered by the World Health Organisation5. A TDI was established using data from a study in pigs fed 1.2 mg CN/kg bw/day for 6 months resulting in changes in behaviour and serum biochemistry6. This was used to establish a TDI of 12 μg/kg bw/day. An additional uncertainty factor was not applied to extrapolate from a LOAEL to a NOAEL since there were doubts about the biological significance of the observed changes.

10. In contrast, EFSA1 concluded that there were insufficient chronic data to establish a TDI for cyanide but concluded that the current high level intake of 3-6 μg CN/kg bw/day from foods (notably certain types of marzipan) was not of concern.

Absorption and metabolism of cyanide.
11. Amygdalin (D-mandelonitrile-β-D-glucoside-6 -β-glucoside) (see fig 1, below) degrades to hydrogen cyanide, two molecules of glucose and benzaldehyde. Amygdalin hydrolysis is catalysed by the enzyme emulsin, a β-glucosidase also found in apricot kernels. Since β-glucosidase enzymes do not occur intracellularly in humans, swallowing of whole apricot kernels may not release much cyanide7, however, chewing or grinding increases toxicity by releasing emulsin from lysosomes. The enzymatic breakdown of amygdalin occurs most rapidly in alkaline conditions. The β-glucosidase may be deactivated in the acid environment of the stomach but can then be partially reactivated in the alkaline environment of the gut 8. Cyanogenic glycosides can also be hydrolysed by gut flora.

Fig 1. Structure of amygdalin (see PDF).
12. After oral administration, hydrogen cyanide is readily absorbed and rapidly distributed within the body Toxicity of cyanide and cyanogenic glycoside Acute toxicity in humans


13. Cyanide has high acute toxicity with a very steep and absorption rate dependent dose-response curve9. The lethal dose of cyanide in humans is in the range 0.5 to 3.5 mg/kg bw1. Signs and symptoms of acute toxicity include headache, dizziness, mental confusion, stupor, cyanosis with twitching and convulsions, followed by terminal coma.

14. There are case reports of toxicity (including fatalities) resulting from the consumption of laetrile or amygdalin in a concentrated form, but also of toxicity resulting from the consumption of apricot kernels. Cyanide toxicity was also observed in an uncontrolled clinical trial of amygdalin 10.

15. Suchard et al (1998)7 reported that a 41 year old female was found in a comatose and hypothermic state following the consumption of approximately 30 bitter apricot kernels. The patient responded to antidotal treatment and CH subsequently recovered. The authors noted that 5 other cases of poisoning had been reported in the US from consumption of bitter apricot kernels for their amygdalin content. In an earlier case reported by Rubino and Davidoff (1979)11, an adult female was hospitalised following the consumption of 20-40 kernels.

See the rest of PDF document.


For those who want a supplement a source list is available at


Published on Nov 2, 2012

G. Edward Griffin marshals the evidence that cancer is a deficiency disease - like scurvy or pellagra - aggravated by the lack of an essential food compound in modern man's diet. That substance is vitamin B17. In its purified form developed for cancer therapy, it is known as Laetrile.

This story is not approved by orthodox medicine. The FDA, the AMA, and The American Cancer Society have labeled it fraud and quackery. Yet the evidence is clear that here, at last, is the final answer to the cancer riddle.

Why has orthodox medicine waged war against this non-drug approach? The author contends that the answer is to be found, not in science, but in politics - and is based upon the hidden economic and power agenda of those who dominate the medical establishment.

With billions of dollars spent each year on research, with other billions taken in on the sale of cancer-related drugs, and with fund-raising at an all-time high, there are now more people making a living from cancer than dying from it. If the solution should be found in a simple vitamin, this gigantic industry could be wiped out over night. The result is that the politics of cancer therapy is more complicated than the science.

G. Edward Griffin


More On Laetrile from Whale

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The only ethnic group known to science who don't know anything about cancer, thus, there are no proliferation of cancer cells in their bodies are white Huns i.e. Hunzas, relatives of Attila's Huns. They live in the Hunza Valley between the borders of China, Tadzhikistan and Pakistan. White Huns' average age is 90-110 years. The White Hun men are still sexually active in their 90s. In fact, they are the healthiest ethnic group on earth. Their main food is the apricot, which is full of Vitamin A. Its seed's main Vitamin is B17. The clearest natural water can be found there.

Dr. Allen E. Banik, Optometrist in his book "Hunza Land - Whitehorn Publishing Co., 1960" describes well these people.

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