What laetrile is
Laetrile is a partly man made (synthetic) form of the natural substance amygdalin. Amygdalin is a plant substance found in raw nuts and the pips of many fruits, particularly apricot pips or kernels. It is also found in plants like lima beans, clover and sorghum. Some people call laetrile vitamin B17.
How laetrile fights cancer
Laetrile is believed to fight cancer by targeting and killing cancer cells while building the immune system to fend off future outbreaks. It actually uses two different methods to accomplish these goals.
The first revolves around enzymes. Amygdalin is made up of glucose plus two potentially toxic substances — benzaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide. (Note: In the early days of laetrile research it was assumed that the cyanide was the major cancer cell-killing molecule, but now many researchers believe that it is the benzaldehyde that is the primary reason the cancer cell is killed.)
Healthy cells contain the enzyme rhodanese (in his book World Without Cancer, G. Edward Griffin calls this the protecting enzyme). Rhodanese protects the cells by neutralizing the benzaldehyde and cyanide in amygdalin, converting them to useful nutrient compounds, including thiocyanate, which is known as a natural regulator of blood pressure and also is involved in the production of Vitamin B-12.
However, cancer cells do not have rhodanese. Instead, they have an enzyme called beta-glucosidase (Griffin calls this the unlocking enzyme). Beta-glucosidase unlocks the benzaldehyde and cyanide from the glucose to create a targeted poison that kills the cancer cell.
Griffin explains this process in more detail in World Without Cancer.
There’s another way your body fights cancer that is related to laetrile through the power of a healthy immune system.
You are filled with billions of white blood cells — people normally produce about 100 billion new white blood cells a day. These cells attack and destroy anything that is harmful to your body. But cancer cells are covered by a thin protein coating that carries a negative electrostatic charge. This charge repels the negatively charged white blood cells.
Luckily, the pancreas emits enzymes that, in sufficient quantities, can eat away this protective coating, allowing the white blood cells to attack cancer. However, if the pancreas is weak or unhealthy, or if the cancer is growing too fast, the enzymes can’t keep up. That’s where laetrile comes in, working with pancreatic enzymes to fight cancer, while also strengthening the immune system.
Because the laetrile might chemically react with the enzyme of a non-cancerous cell (i.e. rhodanese), before it reacts with the enzyme of a cancerous cell (beta-glucosidase) – thus making it ineffective against the cancer cell – you have to take enough laetrile, over a long enough time, to ensure that laetrile molecules hit all of the cancer cells first.
One of the positive side effects of laetrile therapy is that more Vitamin B-12 is made in the body. In addition, it’s smart to supplement laetrile therapy with Vitamin C. Vitamin C and Vitamin B-12 can be, by themselves, a treatment for cancer.
During an interview with Dr. Antonio Jimenez, chief medical officer and founder of Hope4Cancer Institute in Baja California, and Cancun, Mexico, he stated that laetrile has several positive effects, including direct anticancer activity (from the cyanide and benzaldehyde described above), analgesic properties, and well-being enhancement. He describes Laetrile Therapy as a safe, productive part of an integrative cancer treatment program.