In the March 2021 issue of the Journal of Biomelecular Structure & Dynamics, researchers say they uncovered the mechanisms by which amygdalin induces apoptosis—increasing one cellular protein and reducing another—as well as other beneficial actions at the cellular level. They state:
Claims that laetrile or amygdalin can benefit cancer patients are not supported by sound clinical data, according to a report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2015.
Blaheta RA, et al.
In a study published in the June 2020 International Journal of Nanomedicine, researchers combined amygdalin with an enzyme called beta-glucosidase (ß-glu), which enhances amygdalin activity, and found that it led to the death of prostate cancer cells. They say the treatment had some impact on heart and liver function but didn’t appear to cause organ damage.
At its core, the hypothesis of B17 as a cancer fighter rests on a mechanism called apoptosis, which is when an infected or cancerous cell commits suicide to protect neighboring cells from the pathogen or prevent itself from dividing and creating more cancer cells. Apoptosis is a way for your body to keep itself healthy.
It said that none of the previous studies it evaluated were high quality enough to meet the reviewers’ criteria. They concluded that consumption of amygdalin carries a considerable risk of serious adverse effects resulting from cyanide poisoning and said:
Here, Dr. Yeung explains the hype and the scientific evidence surrounding three highly publicized but unproven therapies: cannabis oil, Laetrile, and a pH-manipulation (also known as alkaline) diet.
The evidence: Laetrile indeed breaks down into cyanide, but the poison doesn’t just selectively strike cancer cells — it can sicken or kill patients as well. Clinical studies done in the 1970s and 1980s, including those sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, indicated that Laetrile didn’t reduce malignant tumors’ size or growth, but some patients experienced cyanide poisoning.
Cannabis oil is available in several forms with different potencies. It can be infused into cooking oil that users squirt under the tongue or mix into food. Its vapors can also be inhaled. By federal law, cannabis products are illegal, though several states have enacted laws to legalize their medical use.
The Internet is full of “miracle cures” for cancer and alleged surefire ways to prevent it, and well-meaning people may urge cancer patients to just try them out in hopes of eliminating their disease. Some patients, worried that conventional treatments won’t work or pose significant side effects, seek a treatment whose effectiveness isn’t actually supported by scientific evidence or may even prove dangerous. During a time of uncertainty and anxiety, it’s understandable that any hope for a cure — even if it isn’t medically proven — is tempting.
The verdict: “Laetrile has not been proven to be effective against cancer and can even be dangerous to some patients,” Dr. Yeung says. “If amygdalin is eventually used in an anticancer drug, it will have to be in a different form, because the oral form is toxic and too dangerous to use.”