B17 and Cancer: FDA Warns Unsafe

Many consider vitamin B17 to be a potent anti-cancer compound, however, the FDA has declared it unsafe. If you are considering using B17 as an anti-cancer supplement, read on to understand the risks.

What is Vitamin B17?

Vitamin B17 is a compound that has been suggested, although not proven, to eliminate tumors and to boast cancer-preventative properties. Technically, B17 it is not really a vitamin and shows none of the characteristics of other vitamins that the body needs to grow. The term B17 has been used for marketing the product as an essential nutrient.

B17 in Foods

B17 is found naturally in the pits of stone fruits such as apricots, plumbs and peaches, as well as in apple seeds. It can also be found in lower levels in many nuts, including macadamia nuts and almonds, as well is in some vegetables such as beans, celery and carrots.

Many people consume apricot seeds for cancer in the hope that the high levels of B17 in the pits will help kill tumor cells or prevent cancer altogether. The most common ways to get B17 in a natural form are apricot kernel oil and raw apricot seeds. Like many other seeds, consuming apricot seeds does have some potential health benefits such as boosting the immune system, fighting inflammation/oxidation, pain relief and lowering blood pressure. However, many are concerned that using apricot seeds alone as a treatment is not a safe answer.

B17 Supplements

In addition to natural sources, there are a range of B17 supplements available. The majority of these supplements claim to have B17 which as been extracted from apricot kernels. These include Apricot Powder Capsules and Apricot Pit Oil.

As we mentioned before, supplements use the term ‘vitamin B17’ however, this is not actually a vitamin. It was termed ‘Vitamin B17’ by Dr. Ernst Krebs in the 1950’s, because its molecularity resembled the B chain of vitamins. Dr Krebs believed that cancer was caused by vitamin deficiency, which we know today to be not entirely true.

Is B17 Dangerous?

B17 is a cyanogenic glycoside, meaning it converts to cyanide when ingested. Cyanide is a deadly chemical, which is actually one of the reason it’s thought (by some) to be effective in treating cancer. Essentially, it is thought by some that the cyanide byproduct of b17 only kills cancer cells. Unfortunately, cyanide also kills cells of all kinds, including healthy cells, by depriving them of oxygen. There have also been a myriad of side effects reported from the consumption of B17 ranging from nausea, fever and rash to a drop in blood pressure or even cyanide poisoning, resulting in death, when taken in large amounts.

The United States Food and Drug Administration has as recently as July 17th 2019 released warnings classifying B17 for use in cancer treatment as an ‘Unapproved New Drug’, warning manufacturers that:

“Shipments containing…vitamin B17 that are promoted as cancer treatments would also be subject to Detention Without Physical Examination (DWPE).” -FDA Import Alert 62-01

Does B17 Actually Fight Cancer?

There are still some practitioners that promote the use of B17 as a treatment either orally or intravenously. However, most agree that this should not be a primary treatment. According to the National Institute of Health, B17 has shown little anti-cancer activity in animal studies, and no anticancer activity in human clinical trials.

According to the National Cancer Institute, although it is unapproved as a cancer treatment, when b17 is administered, it is administered orally, intravenously or via intramuscular injection.(1) One major concern with B17 treatments are the cyanide levels. These levels grow in the body and can cause damage. When taken intravenously, the cyanide levels released have shown to be lower.

However, research indicates cyanide poisoning is much higher when taken orally due to the intestinal bacteria and other commonly eaten plants that activate the cyanide release. Additionally, b17 is made in Mexico and it’s production is not regulated or inspected for quality by any U.S. agency. Ultimately, people choosing to receive B17 as a treatment for cancer are taking a gamble that the product is pure, effective and safe, none of which can be currently guaranteed.

B17 Alternatives – Some Good News From The National Cancer Institute

While B17 has shown immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, unfortunately it has issues with safety and efficacy. Luckily there are safer, more effective alternatives.

The search for naturally occurring anti-cancer foods and compounds does have legitimate progress – those looking to prevent or reduce cancer through natural foods may find hope in a 1991 study by the National Cancer Institute. With a $20 million dollar budget, the study set out to identify naturally occurring compounds in fruits and vegetables which have strong implications for anti-cancer properties.

At the end of the study, the National Cancer Institute identified five food-based “superstar” anticancer compounds, namely:

  1. Isoflavones – The primary point of interest here is Genistein, which can boost the immune system to fight off cancer cells, as well as regulate cellular inflammation. Genistein also disrupts enzymes that are needed for tumor development.
  2. Protease Inhibitors – Prevents the development of key proteins needed in order for cancer to spread. Protease Inhibitors have shown outstanding results in human cancer cells, while not interfering with normal, healthy cells.
  3. Saponins – Identified for the ability to induce cancer cell death, lab studies have shown that Saponins can destroy cancer cells and prevent cancer spreading through the body, specifically showing excellent results in Leukemia and Colon cancer.
  4. Phytosterols – Evidence from studies shows that phytosterols can help prevent breast, ovarian, stomach and lung cancer by fighting free radical development, which produces unhealthy cells. Phytosterols have also been shown to stimulate cell death in cancerous cells.
  5. Phytic Acid – Found to effect pathways vital in cancer development, specifically in boosting NK (natural killer) cell activity, which hunts down and destroys unhealthy cells. Additionally, Phytic Acid has also been studied for its ability to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy by boosting the immune system.

Where to Find These Superstar Anti-Cancer Compounds

There exists one food that is consistently high in all five anti-cancer compounds, but the answer my surprise you.

You may have heard conflicting news articles and studies about soy and cancer in the past, and for good reason: study after study shows the natural anti-cancer properties of soy beans, but only one processing technique is shown to deliver these anti-cancer compounds at high level: soy fermentation.

Conventionally processed soy can have negative effects while organic fermented soy can have incredible benefits. The fermentation process of soy delivers over 10 times the anti-cancer compounds held in the bean, and more importantly, delivers them in a safe, bio-available format.

Haelan 951, our own fermented soy beverage, contains high levels of all five anti-cancer compounds, and because of this, it has been widely studied. Cancer cell death has been reported by third party researchers due to the anti-cancer compounds found in soy and made bio-available via our fermentation process. Due to this proprietary fermentation process, Haelan 951 has been the product of choice for studying the anti-cancer properties of soy, for the last 28 years. Since then, research has been printed in thousands of leading journals and publications.

For this article in particular, we would point to the study: “The flavonoid beverage Haelan 951 induces growth arrest and apoptosis in pancreatic carcinoma cell lines in vitro” at the National Institute of Health website.

It is important to remember that Haelan 951 is classified as a food and not intended to treat or cure any disease. Please also note the disclaimer at the bottom of this web page.

If you would like more information on the anti-cancer properties of Haelan 951, have questions about starting Haelan 951, or would like access to our free library or research, please feel free to contact us or call (866) 360-2193.