Vitamin B17, which contains the natural substance amygdalin, can be used to cure cancer, said researchers in a new study. Laetrile, a synthetic form of amygdalin, was also cited in the report. Through the years, the medical industry has debated whether B17 treats cancer effectively.
The new study shows that amygdalin promotes programmed cell death, a process known as apoptosis. This process is not found in cancer cells, which cause uncontrollable growth. The study was led by Fan Li from Bethune College's Department of Medicine at Jilin University in China.
It was also found to affect the growth of HeLa cell xenografts, which are cell types derived from human cervical cancer and often used for research purposes.
"The results in the present study suggest that amygdalin may offer a new therapeutic option for patients with cervical cancer," said the authors.
"In this study, we found that the viability of human cervical cancer HeLa cell line was significantly inhibited by amygdalin. 4,6-Diamino-2-phenyl indole (DAPI) staining showed that amygdalin-treated HeLa cells developed typical apoptotic changes," said the authors in the study published in Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology.
High levels of B17 are found in the seeds of apples, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums and prunes. Health organizations including the Food and Drug Administration, the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association have written off B17 as a cure. It was always labeled be fraudulent and "quackery." Prior to this recent study, there was no scientific evidence to support the idea that the natural substances found in vitamin B17 could be used to treat cancer.
As reported by Cancer Research UK, Russia first used the substance laetrile, a modified form of amygdalin, as a cancer treatment. During the 1920s, the U.S. also made use of it and in the late 1970s laetrile was promoted as an alternative anti-cancer agent.