History and Characteristics

Laetrile is a collective name for a group of chemically related compounds called nitrilosides; therefore, no specific, chemical formula can be given for the substance. And since it is not a pure essence but rather a chain of metabolized events, laetrile's stability cannot be ascertained.

Laetrile was discovered by Dr. E.T. Krebs of San Francisco, who has advocated its use as a cancer cure in the United States. Amygdalin, from the Greek word amygdale, meaning "almonds", was found to be the only active substance in apricot pits. After being chemically broken down amygdalin was found to release one molecule of hydrogen cyanide, a very quick and killing poison. So, hydrogen cyanide was called amygdalin. It was later referred to within the medical establishment as nitrilosides and by the lay public as either laetrile or vitamin B-17.

Once ingested, with the help of the enzyme B-glycosidase laetrile is hydrolyzed (a chemical decomposition in which a substance is split into simpler compounds by the addition of and the taking up of the elements of water) to free one molecule of hydrogen cyanide, one molecule of benzaldehyde or acetone and two molecules of sugar. The substances are then absorbed into the lymph and portal systems and circulated throughout the body.

Allies; For treating people with cancer several clinics outside the United States use the following nutrients in concert with laetrile: pancreatic enzyme preparations, bromelain, calcium supplements and calcium di-orotate. Others used but not routinely are vitamins C, E and A and pangamic acid.

Antagonists: Unknown at this time. More research is needed.

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