Amygdalin – cancer cure or poison?

amigdalina-2What is it?

Amygdalin is a compound of natural origin, which is classified as glycoside. Quite significant amounts of it are found in seeds of almonds, quinces, peaches, apricots and cherries. It is this particular substance that is responsible for their bitter taste.

As a result of different processes taking place in the human body, it breaks down into glucose, benzaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide.

Some history behind it.

This compound was isolated by French chemists in the middle of the 19th century.

The widespread interest in amygdalin has its roots back in the 1920s, when Dr. Ernst Theodore Krebs described it as a panacea for cancer. At the same time, he emphasized that this glycoside had toxic properties, which prevented it from being used. According to Krebs, the lack of amygdalin, or not enough of this compound in the body, is the cause of cancer. On the other hand, when introduced to the body, and as a result of its breakdown through the cyanogenic glycoside beta glycosidase into hydrogen cyanide, it was expected to destroy the tumour cells.

Research on this organic compound was continued by Ernest’s son. He managed to develop a derivative of amygdalin, which toxicity was to be significantly smaller. He called it Laetrile, and its main compound was also amygdalin, its derivative – to be exact, the so-called almond acid nitrile glucuronide. However, due to the intervention of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Laetrile was withdrawn from the market. Their decision was due to the fact that this preparation had, in spite of all, a high probability of cyanide poisoning. The favourable conditions for this effect resulted in vitamin C supplementation. Moreover, the FDA justified its decision by the lack of scientific evidence on the suitability of this preparation.

In the next step, vitamin B17 was born, which is the latest form of amygdalin.


Amygdalin nowadays.

How do researchers refer to amygdalin now? Do they confirm Krebs’s hypothesis?

As advocates emphasize, the hydrogen cyanide, commonly regarded as poisonous, is being released only in tumour cells. At the same time they add that healthy cells of the body are not affected during this therapy, which results from the fact that the body’s cells are equipped with a special enzyme, which is called rhodanase. It is thanks to this enzyme that it is impossible for the hydrocyanic acid to be released. On the contrary, tumour cells are not equipped with this enzyme. Proponents of amygdalin therapy emphasize the ability of destroying “diseased” cells, with the result of reducing tumours and preventing metastasis. In addition, they also observe the ability to ease pain, which is interpreted by the penetration of cancerous benzaldehyde molecules released from cancer cells. They reach the “healthy” cells where they are oxidized to benzoic acid, which has an analgesic effect.

In Mexico amygdalin is not only regarded as a drug of this type, but as a highly effective anti-cancer prophylaxis. Moreover, to this day, this compound can be purchased in many herbal stores. It can be bought in the form of bitter almonds or apricot kernels.

Opponents often emphasize that the results of research that prove that the level of beta glucosidase found in cancer cells is insufficient. What is more, amygdalin is one of the compounds that is not easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, thus leading to the hypothesis that the chances of reaching the cancer cells are very low.

In summary, it is worth emphasizing that so far, many independent studies have been carried out towards the effectiveness of amygdalin. However, there are no existing scientific circles that would justify its use in the fight against cancer. This does not reduce the interest in this glycoside. Is that why it was called “vitamin” at the time, and many people keep going back to Krebs’s discovery? Perhaps that is why still many people, especially critics of chemo and radiotherapy – consider amygdalin as unconventional panacea for cancer.

The real medical facts are that apricot kernel oil extracted in supercritical state with carbon dioxide, attains saturation with laetril (vitamin B17) at a level that American legislation recognizes as being poisonous at a dose of 10 mg, in such oil. At the same time, prominent American oncologists duplicating the methods of the world-famous Oasis of Hope Hospital (see are opening another treatment facilities in Mexico where cancer is being treated with this oil.

The therapeutic evidence of Mexican hospitals is more than promising. It seems that there is an increasing awareness of the fact that for a certain group of patients the laetril therapy may be less risky than chemotherapy.

In Europe, you can still easily buy both apricot kernels and apricot kernel oil. Extracted in supercritical state, it is available only in one product currently available on the market. How long will it still be available? We do not know…

*source: Colway Newsletter




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