What is Laetrile?

Laetrile is a name for vitamin B17, also known as amygdaline. Vitamin B17 occurs naturally in many foods including strawberries, cashews, cassava, apple seeds, and peach and apricot kernels, and can be consumed harmlessly from these sources.

Many alternative practitioners claim that regular consumption of B17 can keep cancer at bay and is an effective treatment for many organ and skin cancers.

For 3,000 years, traditional Chinese medicine has used peach kernels, also known as bitter almonds, which contain significant quantities of amygdaline, in the treatment of tumours. Its effectiveness was so legendary that peaches are associated with immortality in Chinese culture.


Zhang Guo Lao, one of the Eight Immortals associated with health and healing, is depicted carrying a Peach of Immortality.Since 1843, various forms of this substance have been used in western medicine in the treatment of human cancer.

Yet, in the 1970s, administrative bodies began actively opposing vitamin B17, amygdalin or Laetrile treatments as “potentially toxic” and heavily promoted undeniably toxic chemotherapy in their place, even though some studies show chemotherapy to be less than two per cent effective (Morgan et al., 2004; Barton et al., 1996).


Those who say that vitamin B17 is not a cure for cancer are technically correct. It is only the human body that cures cancer. In the same way it is the human body, not the taking of supplements of vitamin B1, which are given by injection or taken by mouth, that cures beriberi.

Yet, the human body cannot cure itself of beriberi without vitamin B1 supplements. As I understand it, cancer cells are omnipresent in the human body and are only life-threatening when these get out of control.

Vitamin B17 appears to be the switch to control these cells and keep them friendly. Deficiency in B17 may be a significant contributing factor to cancer cells becoming aggressive. The more we understand B17, the more it makes cancer look like it is a nutritional deficiency disease.

Cancer is increasingly appearing to occur if we do not consume foods that are rich in nitrilosides/vitamin B17.