There is much debate surrounding vitamin B17, also known as amygdalin, Laetrile, or “laetrile therapy.” Some claim that it has powerful cancer-fighting properties, while others say that it is a dangerous and ineffective treatment. In this article, we will explore what vitamin B17 is, how it is used, and what the current scientific evidence says about its potential benefits and risks.
What is Vitamin B17?
Vitamin B17 is a chemical compound found in the seeds of various fruits, including apricots, apples, and cherries, as well as in nuts such as almonds and macadamias. The compound was first isolated in 1830 and later became the focus of cancer research in the 1950s and 1960s.
Amygdalin, the main component of vitamin B17, is a glycoside that consists of two molecules: one of glucose and one of hydrocyanic acid. In the body, amygdalin is broken down into hydrogen cyanide, benzaldehyde, and glucose.
How is Vitamin B17 Used?
Vitamin B17 is primarily used as an alternative cancer treatment, often in the form of a dietary supplement or as an injection. Proponents of vitamin B17 claim that the compound can selectively target and kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
In addition to cancer, vitamin B17 has also been used to treat other conditions, such as arthritis, high blood pressure, and liver disease. Some people also use it as a general health supplement to improve their overall well-being.
What Does the Scientific Evidence Say?
There is little scientific evidence to support the use of vitamin B17 as a cancer treatment. While some animal studies have shown that amygdalin can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, human studies have not found any significant anti-cancer effects.
In fact, the use of vitamin B17 as a cancer treatment can be dangerous, as it can lead to cyanide poisoning. The body can detoxify small amounts of cyanide, but high doses can be lethal. There have been several cases of people dying or becoming seriously ill after taking high doses of amygdalin.
Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved vitamin B17 for the treatment of cancer or any other medical condition. In fact, the sale of amygdalin or laetrile as a cancer treatment is illegal in the United States.
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What Are the Risks and Side Effects of Vitamin B17?
The risks and side effects of vitamin B17 include:
- Cyanide poisoning: High doses of vitamin B17 can lead to cyanide poisoning, which can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, and even death.
- Liver damage: Vitamin B17 can cause liver damage, particularly if taken in large doses or for a prolonged period of time.
- Low blood pressure: Vitamin B17 can lower blood pressure, which can be dangerous for people with pre-existing hypotension or those taking blood pressure-lowering medications.
- Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to vitamin B17, which can cause itching, rash, and other symptoms.
While some people believe that vitamin B17 has powerful cancer-fighting properties, the scientific evidence does not support this claim. In fact, the use of vitamin B17 as a cancer treatment can be dangerous and can lead to cyanide poisoning. The FDA has not approved vitamin B17 for the treatment of any medical condition, and the sale of amygdalin or laetrile as a cancer treatment is illegal in the United States. If you are considering using vitamin B17 as a cancer treatment or for any other medical condition, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional first.
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