The Case For Vitamin B17 in the Treatment of Cancer
by Sisi Svobodova-Jones
Laetrile is a vitamin that has already helped many more fortunate cancer sufferers who had the good fortune of being aware of it. I believe that it could bring the hope of restored health to many people under the threat of terminal cancer.
So why is this vitamin not widely available to all those who are already suffering with cancer? And how about those who just want to ensure good health so that they will never get this deadly disease? Why are the ones who know a little about it so scared to use it? And why in some parts of the world are there still groups of people who do not experience the plague of cancer at all and are living in excess of 100 years? When did the story of Laetrile start and what is the real truth about it? The last question cannot be answered within the scope of this article, but I hope it will at least raise the issue to those previously unaware of it, and help people who have heard of it, but are generally dismissive, to rethink their perceptions of this vitamin with huge potential.
Laetrile is a compound that contains a chemical called amygdalin. Amygdalin is found in the pits of many fruits, raw nuts, and plants. It is believed that the active anti-cancer ingredient in laetrile is cyanide Amygdalin was originally isolated in 1830 by two French chemists. In the presence of certain enzymes, amygdalin breaks down into glucose, benzaldehyde, and hydrogen cyanide (which is poisonous). It was tried as an anti-cancer agent in Germany in 1892, but was discarded as ineffective and too toxic for that purpose. However, during the early 1950s, Ernst T. Krebs, Sr., M.D., and his son Ernst, Jr., began using a “purified” form of amygdalin to treat cancer patients.
Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical multinationals, unable to patent or claim exclusive rights to the vitamin, launched a propaganda attack of unprecedented viciousness against B-17, claiming that scientists had tested laetrile in more than 20 animal tumour models as well as in humans and found no benefit either alone or together with other substances. Opponents often claim that Laetrile contains “free” hydrogen cyanide and so is toxic. This is great misconception, and is based on hearsay and ignorance of the correct chemistry. When Laetrile comes into contact with the enzyme beta-glucosidase, the Laetrile breaks down to form two molecules of glucose, one molecule of benzaldehyde and one molecule of hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Within the human body, only cancer cells produce the beta-glucosidase enzyme. Therefore free HCN is only released from Laetrile on contact with cancer cells and it does not “float freely” in the Laetrile. If there are no cancer cells in the body, there is no beta-glucosidase and therefore no HCN will be released from the Laetrile.
What is more, the normal cells in our organism contain an enzyme called rhodanese that neutralises the Laetrile. This enzyme does not allow the Laetrile to release the cyanide. In this way, Laetrile only serves as glucose to healthy cells providing energy. Malignant cells do not contain this enzyme, which means that, in this case, Laetrile is activated and liberates the cyanide radical inside the malignant cell causing its destruction. Therefore only cancer cells are destroyed and normal ones are not affected. As the Laetrile attacks unhealthy cells, it transforms into a silicate, which is much like aspirin. This contributes greatly to localised pain control.
Pharmaceutical companies conduct studies on the patented chemicals that they invent so that at the end of their study, if the drug gets approved, they have exclusive rights to its sale. They never conduct studies on foods, which cannot be patented, and that can be sold at any supermarket (vitamins). To do so would be financially counter-productive to these hugely profitable concerns.
So “politics and big business” is the answer to the question “why has orthodox medicine waged war against this non-drug approach?”. In the U.S.A. their Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tried to use strict regulations to ban vitamin B-17. However Laetrile therapy is still used by some hospitals in Mexico, which treat cancer with nutrition. These hospitals claim a nearly 100% recovery rate with virgin cases (localised tumours/ cancer that have not yet been burned up with radiation, poisoned with chemotherapy, or cut into with surgery). The majority of Laetrile-treated patients report positive responses, ranging from increase in the feeling of well-being and brighter outlook to life, to such noticeable reactions as an increase in appetite, weight gain and restoration of natural colour, and the reduction or elimination of all cancer symptoms has been confirmed.
In the 1960’s and early 1970’s, the American FDA released information that a substance called “Laetrile” had been claimed to be capable of forming hydrogen cyanide in the presence of the cancer cells. That would mean that a target-specific cancer drug had been found, and that this would be of great value to cancer patients. But they went on to report that they, the FDA, had done extensive testing of this substance and THEY found no evidence that it contained hydrogen cyanide or that any hydrogen cyanide was released in the presence of the cancer cells. Thus, they said, Laetrile was of no value in the treatment or prevention of cancer.
Later it was clearly established, by repeatable demonstration, that Laetrile did indeed release hydrogen cyanide in the presence of the cancer cells and FDA wouldn’t admit that they had done a completely inadequate job in running their tests. Instead they then proclaimed that Laetrile contained hydrogen cyanide and thus was toxic!
There is conflicting information because firstly the FDA said Laetrile didn’t work because it did not release hydrogen cyanide in the presence of cancer cells and later, when they found that it does, they say it is toxic. A bureau of the Federal Government had an opportunity to present evidence of Laetrile’s toxicity in the Federal Court, but admitted that they had none and did not present any evidence. A highly publicised clinical trial conducted by the American National Cancer Institute in 1981 tried unsuccessfully to prove Laetrile ineffective and toxic.
Today, Laetrile occupies a position on the front line of alternative cancer therapy and one of the main alternative cancer hospitals, using laetrile, is the Oasis of Hope Hospital in Mexico. It was founded by Dr. Ernesto Contreras who is assisted by his son Dr. Francisco Contreras. They believe that although Vitamin B17 probably has limitations in certain very advanced or aggressive cancers, it may be extremely effective in the common tumours such as carcinoma of the lung, breast, prostate, colon, and lymphomas. It is helpful in the treatment of active cancer and may equally be used to prevent cancer and to maintain remission in treated cancer patients. In fact, as the later remission treatment, nothing is as effective as Laetrile they claim. Its non-toxicity to the body as a whole permits its use indefinitely in the prevention of relapses and the prevention of metastases compared with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, which can only be carried out in limited cycles because of their invasiveness or damaging side-effects.
The highest concentrations of vitamin B17 are found in the seeds of the rosaceous fruits, such as apricot kernels and other bitter nuts. Some of the oldest civilizations such as those in Egypt or China, 2500 years BCE, mention the therapeutic use of derivatives of bitter almonds. Roman copies of Egyptian papyri from 5000 years ago mention the use of aqua amigdalorum for the treatment of some tumours of the skin.
The Hunzas are an ancient culture who live in the Himalayan Mountains, where vitamin B17 is contained naturally in their main sources of food. Amongst these people there has never been a reported case of cancer. Of course this may also be partly due to their stress-free lifestyle.
The following foods all contain Vitamin B17 in greater or lesser amounts:
- SEEDS (kernels, stones, pips) OF FRUIT: apple, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach, pear, plum, prunes.
- BEANS: broad beans, Burma, chickpeas, lentils (sprouted), lima, mung (sprouted), Rangoon, scarlet runner
- NUTS: bitter almonds, macadamia, cashew
- BERRIES: almost all wild berries. Blackberry, cranberry, elderberry, raspberry, strawberry, chokeberry
- SEEDS: flax, sesame, chia
- GRASSES: acacia, aquatic, Johnson, milkweed, Sudan, minus, wheat grass, white Dover, alfalfa (sprouted),
- GRAINS: oats, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, chia, flax, millet, rye, vetch, wheat
- MISCELLANEOUS: bamboo shoots, fuchsia, sorghum, wild hydrangea, yew tree (fresh needles)
According to Dr. Krebs, sufficient daily intake may be obtained by eating all the B17 containing fruits whole (seeds included), but not eating more of the seeds by themselves. One peach or apricot kernel per 5 kilos of body weight is believed to be more than sufficient as a normal safeguard in cancer prevention, although precise numbers may vary from person to person in accordance with individual metabolism and dietary habits. But who is going to eat 15 to 25 peaches a day?!?! Certainly, one can consume too much of anything. Too many kernels or seeds can be expected to produce some unpleasant side effects. These natural foods should be consumed in biologically rational amounts High concentrations of B17 are best obtained by eating the natural foods in their raw or sprouting stage, although moderate cooking will not destroy vitamin B17 content.
Cancer was once believed to be a localised disease, characterised by lesion, usually in the form of a growth that appeared at some specific part of the body. This localised lesion was thought to be the result of activity produced by an invading virus, carcinogenic agent or some form of trauma. Today’s researchers and physicians increasingly are coming to believe that cancer is a complex disease, the end result of a disturbed metabolism. It is an insidious disease that involves the entire body; the nervous system, digestive tract, pancreas, lungs, excretory organs, endocrine system, and the entire immune system mechanisms. The frequent reoccurrence of a malignancy after treatment with the conventional methods of surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy results because the basic underlying metabolic cause of the cancer is rarely considered and consequently remains uncorrected.
If the immune system is weakened by poor nutrition, excessive environmental pollutants or continuing debilitating stress, cancer cells are uninhibited
and will multiply rapidly forming the symptomatic growth of cancer. The immune system also generally weakens with advancing age. One of the primary objectives of all metabolic therapy is to revitalise the body’s immune system and to restore it to a fully functional condition. The accomplishment of this goal permits the immune system to eliminate or otherwise negate the cancer cells before they can begin an invasive growth.
Metabolic physicians and researchers believe that we can remain healthy if we supply the individual cells of the body with the proper amounts of oxygen, nutrients, enzymes, minerals, amino acids, and other essential nutrients from our diet and nutritional supplements. Of equal importance is the ability of the body to eliminate the waste products of cellular metabolism through proper bowel movements, efficient breathing, normal excretion, etc.
Metabolic therapy elements are utilised in order to provide our human organism with the best environment to combat disease and regain health. Metabolic therapy is non-toxic cancer treatment based on the use of Vitamin B17, proteolytic pancreatic enzymes, immuno-stimulants and other vitamin and mineral supplements. Vitamin B17 is a natural chemotherapeutic agent as a diglucoside with a cyanide radical that is highly bio-accessible. This means that it penetrates through the cellular membrane reaching high intra-cellular concentrations easily. This cyanide radical, which once made the vitamin controversial, has over the years, been proven to be completely safe and non-toxic in its naturally occurring form “Laetrile”.
According to my research from several diverse and independent sources, Vitamin B17 is a very powerful substance, obviously keeping many people very healthy in different parts of the world. Unfortunately modern countries have been exposed to bogus, misleading and biased “research” from the biased scientific community and therefore the misinformation is going to be repeated for a long time. Because there is no option to patent vitamin B17 as a naturally occurring substance, no medical company is going to research it further. But there are many doctors and cancer specialists who are using Laetrile metabolic therapy and have great success with it. And their success is shared on the Internet and with some investigative journalists and thus the truth is slowly becoming available to the general populace. More and more people are hearing about Vitamin B17 and those who want more information can find enough to give them hope. In the near future it is to be hoped that the cloak of disinformation and fear will be removed from Vitamin B17 preventative and remedial treatments.
The easiest way to ensure the intake of sufficient vitamin B17 to power our immune system is to eat healthily from a great variety of foods, even the currently less popular ones (e.g. buckwheat) and be receptive to new tastes even though they are not initially so pleasant. We can include ground apricot, apple and other kernels in our everyday diet by adding it to our breakfast cereals, biscuits and cakes, without the overpowering strength of the product on its own. We should not be afraid of great things that nature gives us, but we should be wary of the self-serving interests of powerful businesses, who care about their profits rather than about our health.
B17 Metabolic Therapy – in the prevention and control of cancer by Phillip Day
Cancer: Why We’re Still Dying to Know the Truth by Phillip Day
Krebs by Phillip Day and Ora James
World Without Cancer: The Story of Vitamin B17 by Edward Griffin
Laetrile Case Histories by John Richardson and Patricia Griffin
The Little Cyanide Cookbook: Delicious Recipes Rich in Vitamin B17 by June De Spain
Too Young to Die: Dramatic Use of Laetrile to Conquer Terminal Cancer by Rick Hill
The Unitarian or Trophoblastic Thesis of Cancer, Krebs, Krebs & Beard,
Laetrile Therapy in Cancer, Dr. Manuel Navarro, Proceedings of the 8th International Cancer Congress, Moscow, July 1962.