The incidence of cancer is very low in the tribes of Hunza residing in the Himalayas where apricot pits and millet consumption is high due to local availability. It has been found that, along with some other plant sources, apricot is rich in amygdalin.
Amygdalin is a naturally occurring compound that can be produced from crushed pits of apricot. On the other hand, Laetrile or vitamin B17 is an industrial product that is also derived from amygdalin.
Cyanide in apricot kernels to damage cancer cells
Apricot kernels contain a particular compound known as glycosides. In this compound, sugar and cyanide molecules remain chemically bound. A particular enzyme released from cancer cells stimulate the breakdown of sugar-cyanide bonds, thus freeing cyanide. Free cyanide is toxic to cancer cells, and it induces apoptosis or death of these cells.
Low level of cyanide cannot damage normal healthy cells because an enzyme known as Rhodanese neutralizes cyanide inside the cells. Cancer cells lack this enzyme for which cyanide can be considered selectively toxic to those cells.
Amygdalin: Mechanism of action
Amygdalin works in a separate mechanism to damage cancer cells. This compound inhibits angiogenesis or simply, the formation of new blood vessels. As nutrients that are transported through the blood are essential for cancer cell growth and division, the absence of blood vessels will kill those cells. Amygdalin also suppresses inflammation.
Chemical agents released from cancer cells are known to induce inflammation that can be suppressed by amygdalin. Various studies suggest that amygdalin has the potential to induce apoptosis of various types of cancer cells including colon and prostate.
Epstein Bar virus, which has been implicated in the development of lymphomas and carcinomas, can be suppressed by administration of amygdalin. It has been studied both in vitro and in vivo to see the effects on cancer cells. A notable effect of amygdalin for cancer patients is alleviation of pain. It may be due to suppression of inflammation that is a known cause of pain.
Effects of laetrile
Amygdalin and Laetrile are not readily available in the U.S. due to the indifference of companies. It may be due to fear of knockdown of their multi-billion industry of cancer products to cheaper alternatives like amygdalin and Laetrile.
There are a lot of products in the nature that can save millions of cancer patients in a cost-effective way. But these safe and effective plant-based products are kept hidden from people for an unknown reason. It is time to spread information and raise awareness among people to go for safer and cheaper cancer remedies.
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