Vitamin B17/Laetrile - cancer treatment/prevention
I've recently been doing a lot of research on Vitamin B17 (otherwise known as Laetrile) and it's effectiveness in the treatment/prevention of cancer.
The theory is that cancer (or some forms of it anyway) is caused by a B17 deficiency. This may seem a bit far-fetched when you first hear it, but when you think of how many people died from Scurvy before they realised it was a Vitamin C deficiency, it's not so far fetched!
Anyway - the more more research I do, the more I am convinced that this idea holds some merit. I would like to hear from some people who've had/have cancer (or know someone who has) and have looked into this form of treatment in any way. Or any opinions in general would be greatly appreciated too.
Don't believe everything you know
The only thing I know about laetrile is that it was touted in the 70's as a cure for cancer, but it turned out not to be so. And, it comes from the pits of apricots, I think (either peaches or apricots, and I think it was apricots) and for some reason the process of extracting the laetrile also produces cyanide, which is a poison.
In developing treatments for any illness, doctors have to weigh the possible benefits against the possible risks. If the benefits are found to outweigh the risks, then a treatment is considered viable. In the case of laetrile, my personal opinion is that there are no proven benefits but there are definitely proven risks. I certainly wouldn't take it myself.
Thanks for the feedback SamQKitty. Initially I was under a similar impression with regards to the cyanide being toxic etc, however, further research shows there may be a different side to the story - the following paragraph is quoted from some documentation i've got on the subject (don't think i'm allowed to quote the source as it would be considered 'advertising' i guess):
"There is no “free” hydrogen cyanide in Laetrile. When Laetrile comes in contact with the enzyme betaglucosidase,
the Laetrile is broken down to form two molecules of glucose, one molecule of benzaldehyde
and one molecule of hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Within the body, the cancer cell—and only the cancer
cell—contains that enzyme. The key word here is that the HCN must be FORMED. It is not floating around
freely in the Laetrile and then released. It must be manufactured. The enzyme beta glucosidase, and only
that enzyme, is capable of manufacturing the HCN from Laetrile. If there are no cancer cells in the body,
there is no beta-glucosidase. If there is no beta-glucosidase, no HCN will be formed from the Laetrile"
The reason (according to the people who are 'pro-b17') why the FDA haven't approved it as a form of treatment, or a 'cure', and instead have dismissed it as quackery supposedly comes down to politics and economics (drug companies can't make much money with cancer if it turns out to just be a vitamin deficiency!). All I can say is this topic makes for a VERY interesting read!!
The reason I started looking into this is an aquaintance (spelling?) of mine had cancer - he did took the chemo option which sent his cancer into remission for a short time, but it returned. The second time round, he used no conventional treatment - just B17 therapy, and that alone has put him in remission again. I guess only time will tell if it will stay that way for him.
I really am very limited in my knowledge of all this, but I just find it amazing, that something that seems to have so much potential to assist in treating/preventing/curing/whatever cancer seems to go so unnoticed - there must be a reason for this!
Sorry to ramble - just some food for thought :-) Again, anyone with some first hand info/thoughts - would really love to hear from you!
Don't believe everything you know
"The reason (according to the people who are 'pro-b17') why the FDA haven't approved it as a form of treatment, or a 'cure', and instead have dismissed it as quackery supposedly comes down to politics and economics (drug companies can't make much money with cancer if it turns out to just be a vitamin deficiency!)"
I'm not a big believe in the drug company/government conspiracy thing. I think we have some wonderful cancer researchers in this country who would, if they thought there was the slightest possibility of discovering a good treatment, definitely be doing serious research into this. After all, taxol, which is a was a major breakthrough chemo treatment, came from the Pacific yew tree. There are studies being done all over the world on various substances, many of them natural. Even a drug company could make money from a natural substance if they developed a method for extracting the substance and delivering it to cancer patients.
The thing that really scares me about some of this is that there are people who delay getting chemotherapy because of these so-called miracle cures, and then by the time they turn to proven medicine, the cancer is too far advanced for effective treatment.
I do believe that there are many alternative medicines that are excellent adjuvant therapy; such as accupuncture, meditation, etc., but I've not seen any really convincing evidence as of yet for laetrile.