Amygdalin is a compound found in the pits or seeds of apricots, apples, peaches, plums, red cherries, and other fruits. It is also found in bitter almonds.
A partially man-made, purified form of amygdalin known as laetrile was patented in the 1950s and became a popular cancer treatment option in the 1960s and 70s. It is now banned by the FDA and has not been available in the US since 1980.
Many websites tout the cancer benefits of amygdalin (also known as nitriloside, purasin, and vitamin B17). Although these sites post personal success stories after using it, the scientific evidence is simply not there.
How it works
The way your gut breaks it down produces cyanide, which kills cancer cells.
Some believe it combines with enzymes in cancer cells to kill them.
Others believe that cancer is caused by insufficient “vitamin B17”. But there’s no guarantee that amygdalin acts like a vitamin in your body or that you need it. Calling it a vitamin is a way around drug regulation.
What the research says
Animal and laboratory studies of amygdalin have produced mixed results. Some have found no benefit, while others believe the chemical has a mild effect on certain types of cancer cells. It may help relieve the pain.
To date, no “controlled clinical trials” have been conducted on amygdalin. This means that the scientists did not compare those receiving treatment with those without treatment.