You’ve never heard of Vitamin B17? Well, there are 2 main reasons for that. First, it’s illegal to sell as a supplement in North America. Amygdalin is the active compound of vitamin B17. And the second reason – its synthetic (manufactured) form is called laetrile.
Note: laetrile was used as an alternate cancer treatment until 1980 when it was banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This compound contains cyanide, which is a known poison—that’s why the FDA made it illegal to sell as a dietary supplement.
The cyanide content of amygdalin is in the form of a cyanogenic glucoside of the nitriloside family of water-soluble sugar compounds found in plants. The experts studied this substance and found that it inhibits cancer cell growth and causes cell apoptosis (death) in kidney, breast, and prostate cancer cells. Cancer cells contain an enzyme called glucosidase at three thousand times the level in a healthy cell. When this enzyme comes into contact with a nitriloside, a chemical reaction breaks down the nitriloside into hydrogen cyanide and benzaldehyde. The cyanide kills the cell. A healthy cell doesn’t contain enough glucosidase to release the cyanide.