Do Apricot Seeds Work as an Alternative Cancer Cure?

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“Do Apricot Seeds Work as
an Alternative Cancer Cure?” Does use of alternative medicine in addition to conventional therapies
predict prolonged survival from cancer? Even if the alternative therapies
themselves were useless, one might predict users would
live longer, because they tend to have more hope, a greater
will to live, nearly three times as likely to believe their cancer
was curable even if it wasn’t. But death rates were actually higher
in alternative medicine users. Follow them up years later and 79%
of the alternative medicine users had died compared
to 65% of nonusers. Now if the alternative medicine
users started out sicker that could certainly explain it,
and they did tend to be, though the difference didn’t
reach statistical significance. Bottom-line: the association between
the use of alternative medicine and shortened survival is
not necessarily cause and effect, but it’s possible some of the alternative
modalities may have indeed been harmful. Thanks to the internet, there’s been
a resurgence of older complementary and alternative cancer
treatments, such as laetrile, which is a compound
derived from amygdalin, a natural cyanide-containing substance
concentrated in apricot kernels, the seeds inside the pits. It was branded as a “vitamin” to
skirt regulations—vitamin B-17— but it’s not a vitamin, and a lack of
laetrile’s effectiveness against cancer and the risk of side effects
from cyanide poisoning led to its being banned
decades ago. However, no surprise, you
can still buy it on the internet along with the apricot
kernels themselves. Why not just give them a try though? Because of cyanide intoxication. Here’s a typical case report. Woman ate some apricot seeds
she got at a health food store, so they’ve got to be healthy, right? Twenty minutes later she
was having trouble breathing, before she slipped into a coma. They made some calculations and
it appears an 8-ounce bag of apricot kernels is enough to kill
six people if consumed in one sitting. Therefore, the continuing sale of apricot
kernels as health food is troubling. And you never know
what you’re getting. Here this person was consuming
a quarter of a teaspoon of ground apricot kernels daily and had
just switched brands the day before. She ended up in the ICU. Thankfully she survived;
others are not so lucky, like this 17-year-old who
was dead within a day, as severe cyanide poisoning
can result in coma, convulsions and
cardiovascular collapse. That’s why calling it
a vitamin is so insidious. A 32-year-old woman arrives at
an emergency room in a coma. Was she on anything? No, she just took some
vitamin supplements. Thankfully a relative
showed up with them. Oh, B-17. They gave her a cyanide
antidote and she survived. But had that relative not showed up or
been delayed in traffic or something, the case could have proved fatal. So cancer patients should be
informed about the high risk of developing serious adverse
effects due to cyanide poisoning after laetrile or amygdalin, the
natural compound in apricot seeds. Especially at risk may be those
taking megadoses of vitamin C or those not getting
enough vitamin B12. See, the body has two major
ways to detoxify cyanide. It can attach it to B12 to form the
supplement form cyanocobalamin, which can then be
harmlessly peed out. Or it can use the
amino acid cysteine, which is also used to
metabolize vitamin C. And so if you take too much
vitamin C, levels can drop, and you can end up more
vulnerable to cyanide toxicity. But hey, conventional cancer treatments
such as chemo can be toxic, too. It’s all about benefits versus risks. Yeah, amygdalin can block the growth
of certain cancer cells in a petri dish, though doesn’t appear to
have any anti-cancer effects against laboratory animal tumors. But you don’t know what happens
in people until you put it to the test and do a clinical trial of amygdalin
in the treatment of human cancer, which we’ll cover next.


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