Vitamin B17 is present in a number of natural foods, but is currently not available as a vitamin supplement in the United States. Vitamin B17 contains a cyanide-containing compound that releases cyanide into the body if beta glucosidase or glucoronidase is present in the body. Some health practitioners suggest that vitamin B17 is a natural cure for cancer and has anticancer properties, but formal, scientific research has not confirmed this. Even though Vitamin B17 is not available as a supplement, you can find it in several everyday foods and enjoy some of its health benefits as part of a balanced diet.
Vitamin B17 was pulled off the market by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the 1970s. Alternative health practitioners and physicians are not authorized to administer vitamin B17 to patients because research indicates that some compounds in the vitamin may release cyanide into the body, which could be a health risk. This risk is most significant in people who have cancer; cancer tissues are destroyed by the cyanide, but other cells and tissues may be damaged as well. Still, vitamin B17 is present in a number of foods such as nuts, vegetables, seeds and sprouts.
Vitamin B17, most commonly known as Laetrile, is also referred to as amygdalin and nitrilosides. Laetrile is not considered to be an approved treatment for cancer or other medical condition in the United States, but many people who are interested in alternative treatments for cancer treatment and prevention turn to apricot kernels and supplements made with apricot kernels or seeds because these contain high levels of nitrilosides.
Vitamin B17 is present in seeds, beans, nuts and some fruits. Foods that contain high levels of Vitamin B17 include: apple seeds, apricot kernels, alfalfa sprouts, bamboo shoots, bitter almond and bitter almond extracts, blackberries, buckwheat, cashews, cranberries, currants, garbanzo beans, fava beans, lentils, millet, macadamia nuts, peach kernels, pecans, mung beans, strawberries, watercress, walnuts and yams. These foods also contain several vital nutrients, minerals and proteins that complement a healthy diet.
Some of the most significant health benefits and effects associated with vitamin B17 include: lowering blood pressure, strengthening the body's immune system and improving overall health and well-being.
Laetrile, or vitamin B17, is lauded as an alternative cancer treatment by some alternative health practitioners, but there is no scientific or medical evidence available to support these claims. The FDA forbids any health practitioner to administer vitamin B17 supplements or treatment, so the only way to obtain the vitamin legally is to consume a variety of foods.