Karen Kirkpatrick is happy to talk to anyone about vitamin B17 on 01483 423235 (UK) 9am-5pm Monday-Friday. This is a private telephone number and she may not always be able to answer, but keep trying.
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At the beginning of the 21st century one in eight women in the UK is expected to get breast cancer and one in nine men prostate cancer. Most types of cancer are on the increase, and conventional treatment is losing the war. The death toll increases despite huge sums of money poured into research. Indeed many would argue that we need a new way of thinking, that the direction of cancer research must change from trying to find a cure for cancer to researching for prevention against cancer.1 (See endnotes)
Fifty years ago there were exciting developments in the search for the answer to cancer. From the time that cancer was first diagnosed (some 300 - 500 years ago) to the present, most members of the medical profession have treated this disease using the theory that the tumour is the disease. This theory said that if you can remove or destroy the tumour you will cure the disease. A group of biochemists and medical doctors realised that surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy were not working - more and more people were dying from cancer each year. It was obvious to them that removing or destroying the tumour did not cure the disease, which meant that the tumour was not the disease, but a symptom of the disease. These scientists researched and found that the body does have a natural defence against cancer.
They found that the cancer cell is coated with a protein lining which prevents the body's normal defences from getting to the cancer cell. They found that, if you could dissolve the protein lining from around the cancer cell, the body's normal defences - the white blood cells - would destroy the cancer cell. They found that the pancreatic enzymes dissolved this lining and these enzymes acting with the body's immune system were the body's first line of defence. (see Appendix 1 for greater detail)
They also found a second line of defence, which was formed by a group of substances known as nitrilosides.3 The cancer cell has an enzyme, beta-glucosidase, which, when it comes in contact with nitrilosides, converts those nitrilosides into two molecules of glucose, one molecule of benzaldehyde and one molecule of hydrogen cyanide. Both the benzaldehyde and the hydrogen cyanide are toxic to the cancer cell.4
In the early 1950s Ernst T. Krebs, Jr., a biochemist in the U.S., isolated the nitriloside compound from the apricot kernel. He identified it as vitamin B17 and named its pure and concentrated form laetrile. There was great excitement as trials in the U.S. began to show that laetrile worked. But laetrile or vitamin B17 is to be found in food and if it could be proved that cancer was no more than a vitamin deficiency, the whole of the cancer industry would collapse, and no money could be made from drugs.
Two arguments have consistently been made against laetrile by the medical establishment. Firstly, that it doesn't work - this view is mainly based on a California Report of 1953 which summarised "No evidence of cytotoxic changes was observed by any of the consultants." However, if the details of the reports from the researchers is studied, this statement is found to be a 'lie of gigantic proportions.'5 Even if the findings of these researchers had not been falsely summarised, the 1953 California Report still would have been totally useless as a scientific verdict against laetrile because the strength of the doses used on cancer patients was too weak to prove anything. In fact, it was about one-fiftieth of what generally is used to obtain optimum results. In the early days of research clinicians cautiously administered only 50-100mg at a time. Gaining confidence with experience, these levels gradually were raised until, by 1974, laetrile was being used intravenously at levels of 6000-9000mg daily. Generally it takes an accumulation of 50,000-70,000mg over a period of a week to ten days before the patient can report tangible indications of improvement.
For five years, between 1972 and 1977 laetrile was meticulously tested at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in Manhattan under the direction of Dr. Sugiura. At the conclusion of his experiment he reported five results:
These findings did not please the board of Sloan-Kettering whose interest was in finding a drug cure for cancer. They ordered re-trial after retrial, altering parameters until they could say "laetrile doesn't work". The full story can be read in World Without Cancer.
The second argument made against laetrile by the medical establishment is that it contains cyanide and is toxic.7 One of the three compounds in laetrile is hydrogen cyanide but this is only toxic when it is released from the combined three compounds which make up laetrile. The three compounds locked together are also known as amygdalin whose non-toxicity has been a well-known, fully accepted and non-controversial fact for over one hundred years. Otto Jacobsen in his book Die Glucoside' in 1887 stated "Amygdalin is not toxic" and gave 99 references from studies made within the 20 years prior to his publication.8 For over 100 years Pharmacology reference books have described this substance as non-toxic.9 On the other hand, drugs used in chemotherapy are highly toxic.
The three compounds locked together in vitamin B17 are harmless. What happens when they are unlocked and the individual compounds are released? The cancer cell has an enzyme, beta-glucosidase, which, when it comes into contact with vitamin B17, converts it into two molecules of glucose, one molecule of benzaldehyde and one molecule of hydrogen cyanide. Normal cells contain the enzyme rhodanese and this converts the vitamin B17 into food.10 This enzyme rhodanese is not found in the cancer cell. Thus the beta-glucosidase enzyme found in the cancer cells converts the vitamin B17 into poison which kills the cancer, while in the normal cells the rhodanese enzyme converts the vitamin B17 into nutrients which nourish the normal cells.
Dr Krebs and other researchers maintain that cancer is a chronic metabolic disease. A chronic disease is one which usually does not pass away of its own accord. A metabolic disease is one which occurs within the body and is not transmittable to another person. Other examples of these are diabetes, scurvy, pellagra, pernicious anaemia, rickets, beri-beri. In the entire history of medical science, there has not been one chronic, metabolic disease that was ever cured or prevented by drugs, surgery, or mechanical manipulation of the body. In every case the ultimate solution was found only in factors relating to adequate nutrition.11
All of us probably have cancer many times in our lives. If our defence mechanisms are functioning normally, the body kills off the cancer cells, and we're never aware that it happened. If, however, there is a breakdown in that defence mechanism when the cancer cells appear, there is nothing to prevent the growth of those cancer cells and soon there is a tumour.
The growth in the incidence of cancer parallels the industrialisation and chemicalisation of our world. The more developed a country, the more cancer. This is because most cancers are primarily the result of changes we have made to our total chemical environment - what we eat, drink and breathe. According to one of Britain's top medical scientists, 90% of all cancers are caused by environmental factors and the most conservative experts say at least 75% of cancers are associated with environmental and lifestyle factors. In the space of two generations, mankind has invented ten million new chemicals and unwittingly released thousands of them into the environment. Many are known to be carcinogens, and we take these in, in our food, air and water. Many are easily avoidable, but some are not.12
We need to take as many steps as possible to eliminate carcinogens from our diet and our lifestyle. Some, however, are unavoidable and if our defence system is not strong enough, can overwhelm us.
Firstly, insufficient pancreatic enzymes in the blood stream to act with the body's immune system (which itself has to be strong enough) as a first line of defence, and secondly insufficient vitamin B17.
So to improve the number of enzymes in our body we can eat more raw fruit and vegetables and especially those that are known to contain pancreatic enzymes, such as pineapple, papaya (pawpaw). Sprouted seeds are not only a good source of vitamin B17, but one of the best sources of digestive enzymes.20
The immune system depends on a whole host of nutrients, and supplementing these has proved to enhance immunity.21 Examples are vitamin A, several of the vitamin B family, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, manganese, copper and zinc, calcium, and cysteine. It makes sense to eats foods high in anti-oxidants. The link between increasing intake of fruit and vegetables and decreasing risk is very convincing for cancers of the digestive tract (mouth, pharynx, stomach, colon and rectum). It is also very strong for lung cancer and breast cancer, with some evidence for other hormone-related cancers as well as cancer of the kidney.22 Exercise (in moderation), a positive attitude and laughter also boost the immune system.
Millet, which contains vitamin B17, used to be the staple grain. We went from millet to wheat which contains practically no vitamin B17. Our cattle are fed increasingly on quick-growing, low-vitamin B17 grasses so there is less B17 residue in the meat we eat.23 Broad beans (which are high in B17) were once important in Europe, but yielded popularity to the various kidney beans24 (low to mediumium in B17). In previous generations apricot kernels were often included in jam making and people ate apple pips. We now prefer seedless grapes instead of eating the seeds. The more refined and processed our foods are, the less likely they are to contain vitamin B17.
Apricot kernels are very rich in B17, with almost 2% by weight26 - equally rich are the kernels/seeds/pips of peaches, plums, grapes, nectarines, greengages, cherries and apples27 28
Sprouted seeds are rich in vitamin B17 e.g. bamboo sprouts, millet sprouts, alfalfa
Millet, buckwheat, linseed(flaxseed), barley, lentils, vetch/chick pea (wheat contains practically no B17)
Sorghum cane from which molasses are extracted (sugar beet contains practically no B17)29
Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries
Broad beans, butterbeans
Bitter almonds (not sweet almonds), Macadamia nuts
When benzaldehyde in B17 comes into contact with normal cells, it is oxidised and converted into harmless benzoic acid. This is known to have certain anti-rheumatic, antiseptic and analgesic properties. This could partially account for the fact that B17 produces the unexpected effect of relieving the intense pain associated with terminal cancer, and does so without the aid of narcotics.
If any cyanide from the B17 should diffuse into adjacent cells, it is converted by the enzyme rhodanese into thiocyanate, which is perfectly harmless, and is a natural regulator of blood pressure.31 Trace amounts of cyanide and benzaldehyde released in the mouth and intestine are a part of the delicate balance of the body. In the mouth and stomach these chemicals attack the bacteria that cause tooth decay and bad breath. In the intestines they interact with the bacterial microflora to suppress or eliminate the flatulence long associated with westernised foods.
Vitamin B17 also stimulates the haemoglobin or red blood cell count.
From our experience, it seems that vitamin B17 also works on some benign tumours, cysts and warts.
If we are not getting enough vitamin B17 in our food, the answer has to be yes. Although there are 100mg laetrile (vitamin B17) tablets available for prevention, Dr Krebs, firmly believes that a diet of whole foods is best, because of other nutrients provided at the same time. As a precaution he recommended that consumption of 10 apricot kernels per day, either chewed whole, or ground and sprinkled, for example on cereal or in a drink, would provide sufficient B17 to permanently guard against cancer. (It is suggested that 5 or 6 kernels can be eaten at one time.)
IF YOU HAVE CANCER consider Vitamin B17 and metabolic therapy (treating the whole person) before embarking on chemotherapy and radiotherapy programmes. Study the information given on the websites and in the books and contact the organisations concerned.
It is better to have researched and decided what you would do before the shock of having cancer makes decisions difficult. Better still - begin taking preventative measures now.
The dictionary38 definition of cancer is a) loosely any malignant new growth or tumour; or
b) properly a carcinoma or disorderly growth of epithelial cells39 which invade adjacent tissue and spread by the lymphatics and blood-vessels to other parts of the body.
It has been shown40 that cancer cells are exactly the same as pre-embryonic cells that are found in pregnancy.41 These normal cells in pregnancy are called trophoblasts. Trophoblast cells are also thought to be involved in the healing process. These are formed as a result of a chain reaction starting with another cell identified as the diploid totipotent, which contains within it all the separate characteristics of the complete organism and has the total capacity to evolve into any organ or tissue, or indeed, into the complete embryo itself. About 80% of these trophoblast cells are located in the ovaries and testes serving as a genetic reservoir for future offspring. The rest of them are distributed elsewhere in the body for a purpose not yet fully understood but which may involve the regenerative or healing process of damaged or ageing tissue.
Whenever the body is damaged, either by physical trauma, chemical action, or illness, oestrogen and other steroid hormones always appear in great concentration, possibly serving as stimulators or catalysts for cellular growth and body repair. The diploid totipotent cells are triggered into producing trophoblast cells when they come into contact with these steroid hormones. When this happens to those diploid totipotent cells that have evolved from the fertilised egg, the result is a placenta and umbilical cord, a means of nourishing the embryo.
But when it occurs non-sexually as a part of the healing process then cancer is produced if the healing process is not stopped upon the completion of its task. When cancer begins to form, the body reacts by attempting to seal it off and surround it with cells that are similar to those in the location where it occurs. A bump or lump is the initial result. Usually the efforts of the body to control the centre of the trophoblast are successful, the trophoblast dies, and a benign polyp or other benign tumour remains as a monument to the victory of the body over cancer.42
All animals contain billions of white blood cells, whose function is to attack and destroy anything that is foreign and harmful to our bodies - people who develop a low white-blood count become susceptible to infections of all kinds. It would seem logical therefore, that white blood cells would attack cancer cells. However, cancer cells are not foreign to the body, they are a vital part of the life cycle - in pregnancy and healing. Consequently nature has provided them with an effective means of avoiding the white blood cells.
One of the characteristics of the trophoblast cell is that it is surrounded by a thin protein coating that carries a negative electrostatic charge.43 The white blood cells also carry a negative charge. And, since like polarities repel each other, the trophoblast is well protected. The blocking factor is nothing more than a cellular electrostatic field.
Part of nature's solution to this problem, as pointed out by Professor Beard in 1905, is found in the ten or more pancreatic enzymes,44 of which trypsin and chymotrypsin are especially important in trophoblast destruction. These enzymes exist in their inactive form (as zymogens) in the pancreas gland. Only after they have reached the small intestine are they converted to their active form.45 Then these are absorbed into the blood stream and reach the trophoblast, and they dissolve the negatively-charged protein coat. The cancer then is exposed to the attack of the white cells and it dies.
In pregnancy, the trophoblast cells in the normal embryo continue to grow and spread right up to the eighth week. Then suddenly, they stop growing and are destroyed. It is in the eighth week that the baby's pancreas begins to function.
So it would seem that the first line of attack against cancer cells is the presence of sufficient quantities of pancreatic enzymes which digest the protective coating surrounding the cancer cells and expose the trophoblast to the destructive force of the body's white blood cells.
If the first line should fail, nature has provided a back-up mechanism. This second line of defence is formed by vitamin B17. (See main text)
A list from June de Spain's book.46 Her list is not all-inclusive e.g. grapeseeds are not mentioned.
|Blackberry, domestic||low||Apple seeds||high|
|Blackberry, wild||high||Apricot seeds||high|
|Choke cherry||high||Cherry seed||high|
|Wild crab apple||high||Linseed||medium|
|Market crab apple||low||Millet||medium|
|Elderberry||medium to high||Pear seed||high|
|Gooseberry||medium to high||Plum seed||high|
|Black-eyed||low to medium||Macadamia||medium to high|
|Chick peas||low to medium||Sprouts||Range|
|Kidney||low to medium||Bamboo||high|
|Lima i.e. butter beans US||low||Chick peas||medium|
|Lima, Burma||medium||Mung beans||medium|
|Mung||medium to high|
|Range: High: above 500 mgs nitrilosides per 100 grams food / Medium: above 100mgs per 100 grams food / Low: below 100mgs per 100 grams food
NB The evaluations are averages and specimens vary widely depending on variety, locality, soil and climate.
"Cyanide used to kill cancer cells"
The Times (7th September 2000)
"Killing cancer with cyanide"
The Daily Telegraph (7th September 2000)
"Scientists use cyanide in the war on cancer"
The Financial Times (7th September 2000)
A report was given at the British Association for the Advancement of Science's science festival in London on 6th September 2000 which provoked the above headlines in the newspapers.
Researchers from Imperial College, London have developed a sophisticated targeting method that uses antibodies to guide lethal doses of the poison (cyanide) to tumours, without affecting healthy tissue. The system known as antibody guided enzyme nitrile therapy (AGENT), has been used successfully to seek out and kill human colorectal cancer cells in the laboratory. Patient trials could begin within two years ...
The Imperial team has genetically engineered into a yeast the gene for linamarase and the gene for an antibody that recognises a protein specific to colorectal cancers ...
... Should any cyanide escape the tumour into the bloodstream, it would be rapidly broken down in the liver and neutralised. (The Times)
... the antibody carries an enzyme which derives cyanide from a non-toxic substance from the (cassava) plant, a staple food crop in Africa ...
"We can target any kind of cancer cell depending on the antibody we use" (Daily Telegraph)
Surely all the arguments against vitamin B17 have been refuted by the Imperial College team. They have proved that cyanide kills cancer cells, that it is derived from food crops (from nitrilosides in these plants - hence the name of the method given by the research team), and that should any cyanide escape the tumour into the bloodstream, it would be rapidly broken down and neutralised. See highlights from the above quotes)
Ernst T. Krebs Jr, the biochemist who instigated the vitamin B17 and nutritional therapy, proposed that although cancer is triggered by many carcinogens/stress, etc., the body may not be able to self heal if there is a vitamin B17 deficiency (in the same way as scurvy is a result of a deficiency in vitamin C). For those who have had cancer treated conventionally and had tumours removed surgically, received chemotherapy and radiotherapy and have been told that they no longer have cancer, it needs to be very clearly understood that removing tumours and killing cancer cells does not remove the vitamin deficiency, and therefore the cancer may possibly return if this is not dealt with. In fact, for those who have received chemotherapy, which hits the immune system, the situation has undoubtedly been exacerbated. There is an urgent need (even after 'successful' conventional treatment) to take vitamin B17 and supporting nutritional supplements, to counteract vitamin B17 deficiency, boost the immune system, and prevent a re-emergence of cancer.
It is likely that as you have read this brief overview of cancer therapy you have thought of someone you know with cancer who perhaps could benefit from this information. However, cancer is unlikely to be banished to the history books alongside scurvy until we all take action, preventative action. This is not just something to do for the greater good of mankind, for recent studies predict that within 20 years the risk of developing cancer at some time during your life will be greater than 50%. (Patrick Holford Say No To Cancer p xi) It is suggested by many sources that eating 10 apricot kernels per day for life helps prevent cancer. (NB the kernels should be chewed, or ground and sprinkled on food or in fruit juice, and only five or six taken at one time/in one hour. Kernels vary in size: Californian kernels are large in comparison with Hunza kernels. If using small kernels, the equivalent measurement is approximately 4 - 6gms, with only 3gms eaten at one time.) Also remove as many toxins/carcinogens as possible from your environment and lifestyle.