These days, more and more people are turning to alternative methods of treating cancer. Some of these treatments are used in conjunction with conventional approaches. Others replace them. The scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of such therapies doesn’t exist yet.
However, many patients, who use alternative cancer treatments, report improvements in their condition. Can alternative methods cure cancer? Some people say they have helped them battle the disease.
One of the alternative approaches includes taking herbs and supplements. B17 often appears on the list of useful cancer-fighting vitamins. Does it really help?
The Truth About Vitamin B17
Is B17 really a vitamin? Official medical resources agree that it’s far from being helpful. B17 doesn’t have any vitamin properties, thus calling it such is a mistake.
Can B17 Cure Cancer?
Amygdalin, also known as B17, can be found in the seeds of different fruits, including peaches, apples, apricots, plums, and cherries. It also appears in bitter almonds.
In the 1950’s, the synthetic form of amygdalin, called laetrile, was patented. It was used as an alternative cancer treatment in the 1960’s and 1970’s. In 1977, the FDA banned it.
There is no scientific evidence to support the cancer-curing properties of amygdalin and laetrile. Even though some patients give it positive reviews, the scientific proof doesn’t exist.
There are numerous other vitamins and herbs that people use for alternative cancer treatment. They get great reviews as well. There is no statistics showing that B17 has better effects on the cancer patients’ condition than other vitamins do.
How Does B17 Fight Cancer?
Even though laetrile isn’t FDA approved, many people consider taking advantage of its properties.
Some scientists believe that laetrile can fight cancer by finding and killing cancer cells and improving the immune system function. Below are the two ways it may do it.
- Amygdalin consists of glucose, benzaldehyde, and hydrogen cyanide. Healthy cancer cells contain an enzyme called rhodanese. It protects the cells by neutralizing benzaldehyde and cyanide, turning them into useful compounds. Cancer cells don’t contain rhodanese. Instead, they have beta-glucosidase. This enzyme separates benzaldehyde and cyanide from glucose and creates a poison that kills cancer cells.
- White blood cells destroy anything that tries to harm your body. However, cancer cells are covered by protein coating, which repels the white blood cells. A healthy pancreas can create sufficient enzymes to damage the coating allowing the white blood cells to do their job. If the pancreas is unhealthy or the enzyme production is unable to keep up with cancer cell growth, laetrile may be able to help the enzymes fight cancer while strengthening the immune system.
Laetrile may react with the enzyme of healthy cells before it starts dealing with cancerous cells, making it ineffective. That’s why patients need to take laetrile for a long time. Laetrile therapy also stimulates B12 production in the body (it appears when rhodanese neutralizes benzaldehyde and cyanide).
Why Is B17 Banned By FDA?
If this vitamin is so helpful, why did the FDA ban it? In 1978, a study done by National Cancer Institute showed that only 93 out of 75,000 cancer patients who took B17 reported improvements.
Meanwhile, B17 releases cyanide into the bloodstream. This toxic element can cause respiratory arrest and muscle problems. In some cases, it can lead to the patient’s death. The side effects of B17 include headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
Today, B17 is illegal in the USA. However, some alternative treatment programs still use it. Due to being illegal, the cost of B17 is rather high. The price tag for such treatment can exceed $5,000 per week.