Vitamin B17

Vitamin B17 is not an actual vitamin but a glycoside. The formal name of this substance is Amygdain. Most people know of this substance by another name, Laetrile. This substance can be extracted from the seeds of the bitter almond tree. Amygdain can also be extracted from the kernels or cakes of the bitter almond or the apricot. This substance was first discovered in the mid 1800’s and was used in Russia and other countries in Europe as a cure for cancer. It was later used in the United States in the early 1900’s however the usage was stopped due to concerns about its high toxicity levels.

Amygdain became labeled as Vitamin B17 by Ernest Krebbs, Jr. who was a chemist in the United States. Some sources give his father Ernest Krebbs, Sr. credit for the discovery of Amygdain or Laetrile. Laetrile is available in Mexico and other countries today where it is still being used to treat cancer. Ernest Krebbs, Jr. labeled the substance as a vitamin in order to sell it as a nutritional supplement in the United States. This would allow him to circumvent the FDA and he could market Amygdain or Laetrile without the federal interference that is involved with the testing and approval of pharmaceutical drugs in the United States.

Amygdain or Vitamin B17 as it is sometimes called is very controversial even today. It has had a very newsworthy past. In the 1970’s The Sloane Kettering Cancer Center was convinced by a proponent of Laetrile to do a study of the substance’s effect on tumors. The study commenced and the results were mixed at best. The findings were that even though the Laetrile did inhibit the growth of secondary cancerous tumors, it did not have little if any effect on the primary tumors at all. Due to this, Sloane Kettering decided not to publish the study. It was later leaked to the public and this caused quite a ruckus in the public front. Many proponents of this product claimed that the pharmaceutical and political arena were causing the studies that were published to be tainted at best due to financial interests. Sloane Kettering did do a follow up study later in the 1970’s however which showed that Laetrile did not have show any more promise in the destruction of cancer tumors at that time.

The American Cancer Society decided to take a stand in this matter and publicly called Laetrile treatment “quackery” however there are still many proponents of this treatment here even to this day. There are treatment centers in Mexico that continue to provide treatment with Laetrile for cancerous tumors. One of the most famous celebrities that has used this treatment was Steve McQueen who actually died in Mexico after having a tumor in his stomach removed. He had been treated there for mesothelioma.

The FDA has taken a very strong stance on the use and sale of Amygdain or Laetrile in the United States. The bitter almond tree from which this substance could be extracted was banned from the United States in the 1970’s. The FDA has sought out and prosecuted anyone found either selling or promoting Laetrile for treatment for cancer. All of the major players in the medical community including the National Institute of Health have issued statements after researching this form of treatment. The consensus is that they all feel that this is not a viable form of treatment for cancer.

That being said there are still many who are desperate for a cure. Many cancers have no cure still to this day and once all traditional medical treatment has been exhausted people will sometimes seek out even forms of treatment such as this in their quest for healing.

Last updated on May 11th, 2010 and filed under Vitamins and Minerals. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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