Vitamin B17 Controversy: Can It Really End Cancer?

Feb 25, 2024Longevity Aspects

Laetrile, also known as vitamin B17

So, why are we talking about Vitamin B17 and cancer? Well, while we were looking for information for our next post related to longevity, we came across the book World Without Cancer; The Story of Vitamin B17 by G. Edward Griffin.

This book presents an alternative viewpoint on cancer treatment, emphasizing vitamin B17’s potential role. It is known for its challenging stance against conventional medical theories and presents an array of historical, scientific, and anecdotal evidence to support its claims. Griffin also explores the political and economic aspects of cancer treatment, particularly the pharmaceutical industry’s influence. His presentation of complex scientific concepts in an accessible manner is appreciated by readers.

The book has been both supported and criticized since its publication. Supporters find it eye-opening, viewing it as evidence of a conspiracy by the medical and pharmaceutical industries to suppress a natural cancer cure. Critics, including the majority of the medical and scientific community, dismiss the book as pseudoscience, emphasizing that extensive research has not found amygdalin to be an effective cancer treatment and raising concerns over its potential toxicity.

So, we decided to dig deeper into the subjects and dedicated this post to our findings. So, let’s start with the summary of reviews of the book.

What Do the Readers Say?

  • Readers share their personal experiences with using apricot seeds and a dog de-wormer drug to treat their cancer.
  • They also recommend the book “World Without Cancer – the Story of Vitamin B17” for its scientific information and references.
  • Readers mention the reduction in the size of kidney tumor and the clearance of nodules and lesions in their lungs.
  • They express their refusal to undergo further radiation and their agreement to a biopsy using ultrasound.
  • The readers share plans to update again in a few weeks after receiving the biopsy results (but didn’t).

Here are some quotes from the reviews:

this is a very well written book and a must read for anyone who has cancer, knows someone who has cancer or who wants to minimize their chances of getting cancer. I would recommend reading it cover to cover, rather than dipping in and out – as the chapters build on each other. Personally, I found it an easy and fascinating read. Of the books I have read, this was the best introduction to B17 and also one of the best on the politics of cancer treatments.”

“If you want the overall story of not just how B17 works you WILL get it along with other things..”

Most beneficial information by an author I hold great respect for. Another great book to go along with his many literary achievements.”

” found only two chapters really worth reading. Most of the others consisted of information that you can pick up on various media channels. If you are interested in history of Cancer and the struggle to combat it well and good.”

And many more… However, there are quite negative too.

“This book is dangerous and its conclusions are wrong.”

“Fraud. This is disgusting. The garbage in this book has been debunked, and you can verify yourself with 8 seconds of research.”

“Absolute nonsense, These people, and this company should be shutdown for spreading dangerous and potentially deadly information.”

Like in everything, the opinions are quite polarized. But since it is about cancer, the deadliest disease and a serious danger for many people, let’s try to clarify the situation. In our previous post, we already wrote about options for cancer treatment, and we are continuing to gain more information on the subject for our upcoming posts. If you do not want to miss information, you can subscribe to our newsletter.


What is Vitamin 17 and How is it Used?

Vitamin B17, also known as amygdalin or laetrile, is a partly synthetic form of amygdalin, a natural substance found in certain nuts, bitter almonds, and fruit seeds. Since the 1800s, it has been used as an anti-cancer agent, although its effectiveness remains a topic of controversy and scientific debate.

Not a vitamin

It’s important to clarify that despite its name, Vitamin B17 is not actually a vitamin and does not belong to the vitamins of the B group. a synthetic drug derived from a natural compound called amygdalin. Amygdalin was first isolated by two French chemists, Robiquet and Boutron, in 1830. The synthetic version, called laetrile, was created by Ernst T. Krebs, Jr. in 1952. He named it vitamin B17, probably to avoid FDA regulations, and claimed that it could cure cancer.

Here’s an overview of its role and associated controversies in cancer treatment:

  • Origin and Composition: Amygdalin is a naturally occurring compound found in the seeds of certain fruits, such as apricots, apples, and almonds. It contains cyanide, which is a toxic substance.
  • Proposed Mechanism: The theory behind using Vitamin B17 for cancer treatment is based on the belief that cancer cells have more of a certain enzyme that breaks down amygdalin, releasing cyanide. This cyanide supposedly kills the cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

Vitamin B17, can be used either on its own or as part of a comprehensive treatment program. This program may involve following a specific diet, high-dose vitamin supplements, and pancreatic enzymes. The combination aims to support the body’s ability to fight cancer.

It is available in various forms to accommodate different administration methods. These include injections, tablets, skin lotions, and rectal applications. However, it’s important to note that taking vitamin B17 in tablet form can result in more side effects compared to injections. This is because the digestive system breaks down the laetrile, releasing cyanide.

Like any medicinal intervention, laetrile is not without potential side effects. Common side effects may include fever, sickness, headaches, and liver damage. In severe cases, laetrile can lead to coma and even death. It’s important to recognize that the use of laetrile as an anti-cancer treatment should only be considered under the guidance and supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.


Vitamin B17 and Cancer

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What Does the Science Say?

Vitamin B17, also known as amygdalin or laetrile, has been investigated for its potential role in cancer treatment, though its efficacy and safety remain controversial. Several studies have reported promising findings, suggesting that vitamin B17 might play a role in reducing cancer progression and enhancing the effectiveness of conventional therapies.

It has been found to exhibit selective toxicity towards cancer cells, promoting apoptosis and inducing cell death through the mitochondria-initiated pathway. Overall, these studies suggest that vitamin B17 may have a role in cancer treatment, exhibiting anticancer, antioxidant, and hepatoprotective effects .

Some research has shown that vitamin B17, combined with polysaccharides and monosaccharides polymers, shows potential as a treatment for prostate cancer; however, further research is required to determine the most effective formulation for this combination therapy. In a rat model, vitamin B17 was observed to reduce colon cancer progression and bone metastasis, indicating a possible therapeutic role. Furthermore, the combination of amygdalin and cisplatin exhibited a synergistic inhibitory effect on oral squamous cell carcinoma cells, demonstrating potential in cancer treatment.

Vitamin B17 has also been studied for its therapeutic efficacy in modulating DNA damage, cytokine levels, and apoptosis in mice with Ehrlich solid tumors. This suggests its potential utility in cancer treatment beyond breast cancer. Another study reported that Vitamin B17 therapy had a significant effect on markers of colitis severity and supported functional improvements in colitis-induced mice. The substance also demonstrated strong anti-HepG2 activity and promoted apoptosis via the intrinsic cell death pathway and cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase, with enhanced efficacy when combined with zinc.

Different studies have highlighted the antitumor and antioxidant effects of vitamin B17 when used alone or in combination with platinum-based drugs in Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma-bearing rats, leading to decreased tumor markers and improved antioxidant indicators. The substance has been emphasized for its significant role in alternative cancer therapy due to its nontoxic nature and potential effectiveness when used alongside other mineral and vitamin supplements.

Additionally, vitamin B17 is noted to be present in foods rich in flavonoids and may help in protecting against carcinogenesis in normal human cells. Potentially, amygdalin can kill malignant cells and control colon cancer without affecting healthy cells, though its toxic effects, including cyanide production, must be taken into account.

Despite some positive reports, the role of vitamin B17 in cancer treatment is not without concerns. Its high cyanide content can be toxic at elevated doses, leading to debate over its safety and long-term supplementation efficacy. There are also differing views on vitamin B17 (as Laetrile), with some considering it a natural cancer cure and others regarding it as ineffective and potentially toxic.

In summary, while certain studies suggest vitamin B17 may have anticancer properties, there is a lack of controlled clinical trials supporting its effectiveness. As we can see, some animal and lab studies suggest a slight effect on certain cancer cells, the overall scientific consensus is that amygdalin is not an effective cancer treatment. There is a need for more rigorous research to fully understand its effects and to address the concerns around its potential toxicity.

Here is something to keep in mind:

  • Safety Concerns: The use of Vitamin B17 poses serious safety concerns. Since it contains cyanide, it can be toxic, especially if taken in high doses. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include nausea, fever, headaches, insomnia, thirst, lethargy, joint pain, and, in extreme cases, death.
  • Legal and Regulatory Status: In many countries, including the United States, laetrile is not approved as a cancer treatment. Its sale is restricted due to its potential toxicity and lack of proven benefit.

The Cochrane Library systematic review in 2015 concluded that there is no reliable scientific evidence that laetrile is an effective treatment for cancer or any other illness. It also highlighted the risk of serious side effects from cyanide poisoning after laetrile or amygdalin intake, especially when taken by mouth.

The FDA has banned the sale of laetrile in the USA due to its lack of evidence and potential side effects.

laetrile safety concerns

Vitamin B17 in Alternative Medicine

Despite the lack of official approval, laetrile has been used in alternative medicine circles in various parts of the world, outside conventional regulatory and medical standards.

In the US, the FDA has not approved amygdalin or Laetrile as a treatment for cancer, and its commercial distribution is prohibited. Some clinics outside the US, particularly in Mexico, have offered Laetrile therapy to cancer patients seeking alternative treatments, although these practices are not endorsed by the international medical community.

Access via Online and Other Unregulated Sources

Some individuals may obtain laetrile through online sources or in countries with less stringent regulations. However, this is risky due to the potential for harm from unregulated and unproven treatments.


Interesting fact: McQueen’s Legacy of Laetrile

In December 1979, doctors made the diagnosis: mesothelioma, an incurable cancer of the lining of the lungs usually related to asbestos exposure.

In July 1980, McQueen secretly traveled to Rosarita Beach, Mexico, to be treated by Mexican and American doctors using Dr. Kelley’s regimen. He received not only pancreatic enzymes but 50 daily vitamins and minerals, massages, prayer sessions, psychotherapy, coffee enemas and injections of a cell preparation made from sheep and cattle fetuses. McQueen was also given laetrile, a controversial alternative treatment made from apricot pits.

In October, after being tracked down by The National Enquirer, McQueen issued a statement saying he had mesothelioma and was in treatment in Mexico. A week later, Mexican television played an audio message from McQueen in which he said he was recovering. “Mexico is showing the world a new way of fighting cancer through nonspecific metabolic therapies,” he said, adding, “Thank you for helping to save my life.”

Cancer organizations were horrified, warning that McQueen’s supposed recovery was a hoax. One doctor called the treatment “rank quackery.” But others wanted to hear what McQueen and his new doctors had to say. At a press conference, one Mexican physician claimed that 85 to 90 percent of his patients had improved with Dr. Kelley’s treatment. Twelve patients who said they were cured by Dr. Kelley attended as well.

Personal Testimonials

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in alternative cancer treatments, which are therapies that fall outside of conventional medical practices such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. These alternative treatments have a long history and encompass various substances and therapies that are explored outside of mainstream medicine.

Apricot seeds, which contain amygdalin, a compound claimed by some proponents to have cancer-fighting properties, and certain dog de-wormer drugs are examples and individuals have experimented with them as alternative cancer treatments. However, it is important to approach these treatments with caution due to ongoing debates within the medical community regarding their efficacy and safety.

One significant factor influencing the popularity of alternative cancer treatments is personal testimonials. Personal testimonials are accounts from individuals who claim to have experienced positive outcomes from using these alternative therapies. They can be powerful influencers in medical decision-making as they tap into people’s desire for hope and control over their health outcomes. However, it is crucial to critically evaluate personal testimonials as evidence for treatment effectiveness since they may be subject to bias or placebo effects.

amygdalin and cancer


Where can you find vitamin B17?

  • Kernels or Seeds of Fruit: Apricot kernels, peach pits, apple seeds, and seeds from plums, cherries, and pears.
  • Nuts: Raw almonds, bitter almonds, and macadamia nuts.
  • Whole Grains: Millet, buckwheat, barley, and flax.
  • Beans: Lima beans, mung beans, butter beans, broad beans (Vicia faba), Burma beans, chickpeas, lentils (especially when sprouted), mung beans, (when sprouted), Rangoon beans, Scarlet runner beans.
  • Sprouts: bamboo shoots, mung beans,
  • and alfalfa.
  • Berries and Other Fruits: Berries such as raspberries, strawberries, currants, cranberries, blackberries, Indian gooseberry (Amalaki), and mulberries.
  • Vegetables: Carrots, celery, bean sprouts, mung beans, clover, and sorghum.
  • Tubers: Cassava, yams, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

B-17  Connection with Longevity

There is no direct evidence linking vitamin B17 to increased longevity.

In the book, which we started this post with, there are references, such as the Hunza people, who reportedly consume apricot seeds rich in Vitamin B17 and are known for their long lifespan. However, this correlation does not necessarily imply causation, and other lifestyle factors could contribute to their longevity.

Longevity is influenced by a complex interplay of factors, including genetics, lifestyle, diet, and overall health. Some traditional diets rich in B17-containing foods (such as apricot kernels) have been associated with longevity in certain cultures; however, this also cannot be solely attributed to vitamin B17.

There is also very little research on this topic. One study from 2020 suggested that apricot seeds, which contain vitamin B17, may have some anti-aging and antiviral properties, but the authors acknowledged that more studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Hepatic ameliorative role of vitamin B17 against Ehrlich ascites carcinoma–induced liver toxicity

Effect of vitamin B17 on experimentally induced colon cancer in adult male albino rat

Amygdalin laetrile-a nascent vitamin B17: a review         

The Effect of Vitamin B17 on Cardiomyopathy against Ehrlich Tumor Development in Female Mice

Ameliorative effects of vitamin B17 on the kidney against Ehrlich ascites carcinoma induced renal toxicity in mice

Potential therapy of vitamin B17 against Ehrlich solid tumor induced changes

What is next?

Modern realities are such that there is no unambiguous scheme that guarantees healing from cancer. It depends on the state of the body, the shape, and type of cancer cells, as well as a huge number of concomitant factors. But one thing is certain: you need to believe and fight. The only chance to cope with a terrible disease is the will to live.

In our upcoming posts, we will publish new information on the methods to prevent and treat cancer, including a wide variety of folk remedies that are practiced all over the world. Some of them got scientific validation, and some did not (yet). But we will still publish them since it might save somebody’s life. If you have nothing to lose, would you try everything available? I would….

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This website is dedicated to all aspects of longevity with educational and inspirational purposes only. Understanding of the biological basis of aging is important since it gives us ideas on how to slow down and, possibly, even reverse the changes in our bodies leading to aging and illnesses.

We accumulate so-called positive traits of old age during our whole life, such as knowledge, experience, wisdom, empathy, and freedom. Too late! We are approaching our time to die. However, it doesn’t need to be this way.

If you have an opportunity to live active life longer without pain, disease, or cognitive decline, would you? Imagine a possibility to enjoy and watch your family growing beyond grandchildren, travel the world, realize your skills and experience in something you always wanted to do down to perfection. Sounds not bad, does it?

Well, according to science, it is quite possible!

Where do you stand on your longevity?

Definitely, when it comes to our body and mind, everyone has a right to a personal choice on how to maintain health, treat the problems, or take steps for further improvement. We defined three different levels for longevity approaches depending on your condition (perfectly healthy or have pre-existing conditions), your goal (maintain or improve your health), and the complexity of life extension methods (easy, moderate, or advanced).

Level 1 – Simple

You can choose to maintain or improve your health by easy and cheap methods such as healthy eating, herb therapy, or general supplement arrangements (vitamins, minerals, etc.). You can find information on these methods in our “What Can You Do” Category or go to the “Anti-aging methods and techniques” page.

Level 2 – Moderate

If you wish to take a step further, you may consider IV therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or extreme fasting. You can find information on these methods in our “What Can You Do” Category or go to the “Anti-aging methods and techniques” page. The cutting-edge achievements can be found on the “News & information” page.

Level 3 – Advanced

At this level, you must be totally dedicated to your longevity and target the most advanced treatments toward lifespan extension (regenerative medicine such as stem cell treatment, cartilage regeneration, platelet-rich plasma therapy, prolotherapy, etc.). Most of these methods are being used now and show even greater promise for the future. “News & information” page.

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