Vitamin B17, also called amygdalin, is a bitter extract that is naturally found in raw nuts and fruit pits. It’s touted to have many b17 benefits for the body, and its synthetic form—laetrile—has been promoted to be a preventative measure of (and treatment for) different forms of cancer. This is known as laetrile therapy—and it’s one of many alternative treatments that people have reported success with.

So, what is laetrile, and what is the role between vitamin B17 and cancer?

Let’s dive in.

What is Vitamin B17? 

Vitamin B17 is a cyanogenic glycoside that, when ingested, is broken down in the intestines by emulsin and amygdalase. The byproducts of this process are glucose (sugar), benzaldehyde, and hydrogen cyanide, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream.

The focus of laetrile therapy is on the last chemical compound—hydrogen cyanide. When ingested at sufficient enough quantities, hydrogen cyanide toxicity can cause cyanide poisoning, a potentially life-threatening ailment. For this reason, it’s imperative to only be administered vitamin B17 by a physician. 

How does cyanide relate to amygdalin’s role in cancer treatment?

Cyanide’s Effect on Cells

Cyanide is found naturally in plants. In fact, the most commonly reported form of cyanide poisoning is from smoke inhalation from large fires (i.e., smoke from plants).1 When cyanide is absorbed, it disrupts the mitochondrial electron transport chain, rendering cells unable to convert oxygen into energy. This quick suffocation of the cells’ supply to oxygen causes cell death.

High doses of cyanide are needed to cause significant damage to the body. In fact, in low doses, it is theorized to kill cancer cells without repercussion to healthy cells. It’s this claim that is the link between vitamin B17 and cancer. 

It’s also where laetrile therapy comes in.

Laetrile Therapy: Link Between Vitamin B17 and Cancer

So what is laetrile therapy? Laetrile therapy is the intentional use of this chemical process from laetrile (the synthesized form of amygdalin) to kill cancer cells without harming healthy ones. The cyanide that breaks down in the body may inhibit cancer cells from metastasizing, the growing of tumors, and the toxicity can kill cancerous cells.

It’s also theorized that benzaldehyde—the other substance that results from amygdalin’s chemical breakdown (apart from glucose)—may have potential anticancer capabilities.

Laetrile treatment can be administered intravenously (through the veins) or intramuscularly (through the muscle tissue) in a cancer patient. When administered by the physicians at Immunity Therapy Center, the treatment is also paired with an oral ingestion as maintenance therapy. Maintenance therapy is a preventative technique that is administered on top of the main treatment technique.

In other words, the injection is meant to kill the cancer cells, while the ingestion (maintenance therapy) is meant to prevent the cancer cells’ return.

To improve the efficacy of this alternative cancer therapy, laetrile therapy often coincides with a regime of vitamin supplements, a specialty diet, and additional enzyme supplements. The exact amount of laetrile given in each treatment session relies upon a customized therapy plan.

What Foods Have B17?

As mentioned, amygdalin is a naturally occurring substance. To that end, many fruits, seeds, grains, and grasses contain B17. Here are some B17-rich foods that you may or may not already have in your diet:

  • Pits of peaches and apricots
  • Seeds of apples, cherries, nectarines, pears, and plums
  • Seeds like flax, sesame, and chia
  • Grains like buckwheat and sorghum
  • Bitter almonds

Reminder: Due to the natural breakdown process (also called hydrolysis) that results in hydrogen cyanide, it’s important to speak with a professional about how much vitamin B17 to ingest.

Laetrile Therapy: One Piece of Alternative Treatment

Laetrile B17 therapy is considered an alternative cancer treatment. What this means is that it veers from the traditional cancer treatment path.

To understand how these two options differ, it helps to understand the underlying philosophies:

  • Traditional treatment typically relies on external support to eradicate the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy—these rely on extraneous substances and processes to eliminate, remove, or kill the cancerous cells
  • Alternative treatment typically relies on boosting internal support mechanisms to eradicate the cancer. By empowering the immune system to work more efficiently, alternative treatment allows the body to fix and heal itself while avoiding cancer drugs and creating healthy cells.

While this might be an oversimplification—alternative treatment is driven by the idea of boosting the immune system and allowing the body to combat the ailment. In this way, the treatment is holistic, often relying on additional support from proper diet, exercise, and other wellness opportunities.

Other Alternative Treatments

The administration of vitamin B17 via laetrile therapy is also typically combined with other alternative treatments. There are many treatments available, some of which include:

By combining efforts and having one customized treatment plan, the fight against cancer is enhanced.

Immunity Therapy Center: Customized, Alternative Cancer Treatment

At Immunity Therapy Center, we understand that each patient’s cancer is unique, so their treatment plans should reflect that. By centralizing the available alternative treatments into one holistic approach, patients will follow our three-step process to a healthy life:

  • Discovery – To begin, a dedicated physician will review your medical history and develop a treatment plan for your needs.
  • Administration – This custom care plan is then administered from our facility with our doctors and nurses.
  • Discharge – Once our treatment plan is complete, you’ll be given a discharge plan to continue your remission.

If you’re curious about vitamin B17, laetrile therapy, or any other alternative treatment options we offer, reach out to the experts at Immunity Therapy Center.


Written By: Dr. Adolfo Carrillo

Dr. Adolfo Carrillo is a Board Certified Medical Doctor from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California.

Dr. Carrillo has been collaborating with Dr. Bautista for over 5 years as a treating physician at the Immunity the Immunity Therapy Center. Dr. Carrillo is a charismatic Doctor whose knowledge and commitment to patient care and bringing healing to patients is a valuable asset to our center.



  1. Johns Hopkins. Cyanide.


March 15, 2021

Dr. Carlos Bautista is a Board Certified Medical Doctor. He received his Medical Degree from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California and has more than 20 years of experience working with Alternative Medicine to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases, chronic degenerative diseases, and infectious diseases. He opened Immunity Therapy Center in 2007 with the goal of providing the highest quality medical care for more than 5,000 patients.

At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.