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What is Vitamin B17?

By Vanessa Harvey
Updated Jan 23, 2024
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Vitamin B17 is a nutrient found primarily in the seeds of fruit, particularly the apricot. It also is known by the names of laetrile, amygdalin and nitriloside. These names specifically indicate the purified form that was developed for the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Supplements of vitamin B17 for the prevention and cure of various kinds of cancer are virtually impossible to purchase in some nations, such as the United States, where the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made it illegal to sell them. Raw apricot seeds, generally viewed as one of the best sources of the nutrient, are not sold in health food stores in the U.S. for the same reasons that the sale of vitamin B17 supplements was banned. The use of laetrile to prevent and cure cancer has been vehemently rejected by the FDA, the American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society. They have even labeled belief in the nutrient as a cure for cancer as medical fraud.

Many people disagree, however, with such rejection of the use of vitamin B17 in the treatment of cancer. The consumption of laetrile by cancer patients proved to be effective in greatly reducing and even completely halting the growth of tumors in their body. High levels of injectable laetrile are known to help alleviate the pain associated with cancer. Although the anti-cancer properties of vitamin B17 cannot be denied, the accusations of medical fraud are not totally unjustified either. Many U.S. citizens view the ban on the sale of the supplements and raw apricot seeds as restricting their right to alternative medical treatments.

Proponents of the use of laetrile affirm that cancer is a disease caused by a deficiency of one or more nutrients and that the ingestion of laetrile makes the development and survival of all forms of cancer in the body impossible. This, however, has never been medically proven. Nutritionists worldwide continue to emphasize the vital importance of a balanced diet of organically grown, heirloom foods for the provision of all of the nutrients and enzymes needed by the body to maintain health.

Although vitamin B17 supplements might not be available in some nations, cancer patients desiring to increase their intake of the nutrient can add fresh apricot seeds to their diet by acquiring them from the fresh fruit. Other sources of vitamin B17 include the seeds of apples, cherries, peaches, oranges, and nectarines. People are advised to eat the seeds along with the fruit instead of separately for safety reasons.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon1000031 — On May 10, 2018

Apricot seeds contain cyanide, though.

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