Apricot Kernels for Cancer?
The substance Amygdalin which is found in apricot kernels and laetrile contains four potent substances: benzaldehyde and cyanide. Yes, you heard right, cyanide is one of the substances that purportedly makes apricot kernels a cancer fighter. Amygdalin is a compound that is found in over 1200 edible plants in nature and unsurprisingly, is also missing in a large part from most western diets. It is found in the highest concentrations and with the most effective accompanying enzymes in apricot seed kernels.
Many healthy foods such as bitter almonds, millet, sprouts, lima beans, spinach and bamboo shoots, actually have quantities of cyanide in them, yet they remain safe to eat. This is because the cyanide remains locked within the substance and is therefore harmless when bound within other molecular formations. In addition, rhodanese is an enzyme in the body that traps free cyanide molecules and renders them harmless.
How Does it Work?
A hypothesis for the action of amygdalin is that cancer cells are not normal cells, they contain beta-glucosidase which healthy cells do not. Beta-glucosidase is the unlocking enzyme for the cyanide and benzaldehyde in amygdalin molecules. When the beta-glucosidase in a cancer cell unlocks an amygdalin molecule, a toxic synergy is created that specifically targets cancer cells. With the help of rhodanese and other protective enzymes, healthy cells are not jeopardized by this process.
What is Laetrile?
Dr. Ernst T. Krebs created the substance laetrile as a concentrated form of amygdalin that is obtained by extracting it from apricot kernels. Amygdalin is a nitriloside and its structure most resembles that of a B complex vitamin, so Krebs named it Vitamin B17 in order to have it classified as a nutritional supplement rather than as a pharmaceutical.
Laetrile as a Cancer Therapy
The Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) concluded that “laetrile showed no beneficial effects”, which sparked an outcry by laetrile proponents who accused the hospital of covering up the benefits of laetrile. Laetrile is very difficult to come by, and these days apricot kernels are the easiest way to ingest amygdalin, and they are also fairly inexpensive.
If you feel that Amygdalin therapy is the way to go for you, be sure to get the facts about dosage and possible side effects. Talk to your integrated medical practitioner about your particular situation.