by Life Enthusiast Staff
the seeds and pits of apples, cherries, peaches, almonds, papaya, and nectarines
Amygdalin is a naturally occurring glycoside that was originally isolated from apricot pits by the famous biochemist Forest T. Krebs in the 1920s.
Amygdalin is a herbal constituent derived from the kernels of various fruits of the Genus Prunus (synonym amygdalus), which includes the plum, prune, cherry, peach and apricot. The word is derived from the contraction of the chemical term LAE vo-mandeloni TRILE. Krebs also designated laetrile as vitamin B17.
Other sources include the seeds and pits of apples, cherries, peaches, plums, almonds, papaya, and nectarines.
An unusual feature of this carbohydrate is the presence of a cyanide substituent that yields HCN upon hydrolysis by intestinal bacteria.
The more common name for amygdalin is "laetrile" and many investigations have been conducted to determine the potential anticancer activity of amygdalin. For the most part, it has been found that amygdalin is devoid of any significant activity against tumor cells and can be lethal if ingested in excessive amounts. Ernst Krebs conducted many of the anticancer studies of amygdalin and he ultimately named the compound vitamin B-17, although there is no established metabolic need for amygdalin and none of the common vitamin deficiency symptoms occur when this chemical is excluded from the diet of humans.
The most widespread theory ("cyanide theory") on the action of amygdalin was propounded by Ernest Krebs, Jr. in the seventies. Krebs hypothesis: The resulting end products of the hydrolysis of amygdalin are the hydrocyanic acid (HCN) and benzaldehyde. In order to produce these products B-glucuronidase is required. It has been demonstrated that this enzyme is present in cancerous tissue, about 1,000 to 3,600 times higher than in normal tissue. Rhodanase is an enzyme found in the liver cell and is known to be concerned with the conversion of toxic hydrocyanic acid to thiocyanate, a harmless substance. Rhodanase is part of the normal detoxification process of the body. However, it was found that normal cells contain a relatively high concentration of rhodanase and low concentration of B-gluco-ronidase, whereas cancerous cells are high in available B-glucoronidase and low in available rhodanase.
Amygdalin is extracted from almond cake by boiling alcohol; on evaporation of the solution and the addition of ether, amygdalin is precipitated as white minute crystals. Sulfuric acid decomposes it into d-glucose, benzaldehyde, and prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide); while hydrochloric acid gives mandelic acid, d-glucose, and ammonia. The decomposition induced by enzymes may occur in two ways. Maltase partially decomposes it, giving d-glucose and mandelic nitrile glucoside, C6H5CH(CN)O·C6H11O5; this compound is isomeric with sambunigrin, a glucoside found by E.E. Bourquelot and Danjou in the berries of the common elder, Sambucus nigra. Emulsin, on the other hand, decomposes it into benzaldehyde, cyanide, and two molecules of glucose; this enzyme occurs in the bitter almond, and consequently the seeds invariably contain free cyanide and benzaldehyde. An "amorphous amygdalin" is said to occur in the cherry-laurel. Closely related to these glucosides is dhurrin, C14H17O7N, isolated by W. Dunstan and T. A. Henry from the common sorghum or "great millet," Sorghum vulgare; this substance is decomposed by emulsin or hydrochloric acid into d-glucose, cyanide, and p-hydroxybenzaldehyde.
Amygdalin is also called laevomandelonitrile, or Laetrile (some claim that Laetrile is derived from a Latin word meaning "joyfulness") for short, and used to prevent cancer, though this is not approved by the FDA. The US government's National Institutes of Health reports that two clinical trials with laetrile have been published. One Phase I study found that amygdalin caused minimal side effects; the side effects that were seen were similar to the symptoms of cyanide poisoning. One Phase II study with 175 patients had some patients reporting improvements in symptoms, but all patients showed cancer progression 7 months after completing treatment, and it was determined no further tests were necessary. No double-blind, controlled clinical trials have been conducted.
We used to eat foods high in B-17. Unfortunately, we've gotten away from many of them.
Laetrile is also known by its more common generic name Amygdalin, or Vitamin B-17. It is found in natural foods which contain nitriloside and has been used and studied extensively for well over 100 years. The use of Amygdalin (Laetrile/Vitamin B-17) in the treatment of human cancer dates back at least to 1843, although the ancient Chinese are reported to have used bitter almonds containing significant quantities of it in the treatment of tumors some 3,000 years ago.
In 1902 John Beard, a Professor of Embryology at the University of Edinburgh, suggested that malignant tumors and cancer might be cured by the effective use of ordinary enzymes (instead of the maiming surgery, poisonous chemotherapy, or burning radiation used by the modern medical establishment.) Both Beard and his theory were ridiculed by the scientists of the day and it wasn't until 1938 that the Edinburgh professor's work was picked up and continued by Dr. Ernst Krebs and his son, Ernst Krebs Jr. who devoted their lives to nutrition therapy. After many years of research in the 1950's they isolated a vitamin they numbered B-17 and called Laetrile. As the years rolled by, thousands became convinced that Drs. Krebs had finally found the complete controlling substance for all cancers.
Amygdalin (Laetrile/ Vitamin B17) is particularly prevalent in the seeds of those fruits in the Prunus Rosacea family (bitter almond, apricot, blackthorn, cherry, nectarine, peach and plum.) It is also contained in grasses, maize, sorghum, millet, cassava, apple seeds, and many other foods that, generally, have been deleted from the menus of modern civilization. Fruit kernels or seeds generally have other nutrients as well, some protein, unsaturated fatty acids, and various minerals. The most common source of B17 is the apricot kernel and is present in about a 2-3 percent levels of concentration within the seed kernel.
Foods rich in Vitamin B17 - Laetrile:
Apple seeds, alfalfa sprouts, bamboo shoots, barley, beet tops, berries (blackberry, boysenberry, cranberry, gooseberry, huckleberry, loganberry, raspberry, strawberries), bitter almond, brewer's yeast, brown rice, buckwheat currants, fava beans, flax seeds, garbanzo beans, kernels (apricot, cherry, peach, plum), lentils, lima beans, millet, millet seed, nuts (cashew, macadamia, pecan, walnut), quince, sorghum, spinach, sprouts (alfalfa, lentil, mung bean, buckwheat, garbanzo), watercress, yams.
Unable to patent or claim exclusive rights to the vitamin he had isolated, because it is derived from an abundantly available natural source (Prunus Amygdalis Rosacea family), the multinational pharmaceuticals have used propaganda against B-17, despite the proof of its effectiveness in controlling all forms of cancer.
The exact action of Amygdalin (Laetrile/Vitamin B-17) in its effect on cancer cells is still theoretical even though it has clear and obvious results. B-17 molecule contains two units of glucose (sugar), one of the benzaldehyde, and one of cyanide, all tightly locked together. Apparently, cancer cells do not possess the important enzyme called rhodanase. In fact they have another enzyme, beta-glucosidase, that releases the cyanide, and benzaldehyde which then poisons the cancer cells; this phenomenon is known as synergism.
Beta-glucosidase is always present in great quantity, sometimes at levels of one hundred times than that of the surrounding normal cells. The result is that vitamin B-17 is unlocked at the cancer cell, releases its poisons to the cancer cell and only the cancer cell.
Normal cells have a very important enzyme called rhodanase, that inactivates the cyanide converting it into by-products that actually are beneficial and essential to health. This enzyme is found in great quantities in every part of the body except the cancer cell which is not protected. Could it be this easy? Eat sprouts!