Golden Thinker ® – Encyclopedia of Substances – Amygdalin

What is Amygdalin?

Amygdalin, better known as Laetrile, is a highly controversial alternative cancer therapy.

Purified amygdalin is derived from the seed and kernels of a variety of fruits, nuts, bean and plant foods. Amygdalin rose in popularity over the 1970s and 80s as alternative treatment for cancer. However, since then, the drug has become highly controversial after a number of users died of cyanide poisoning. This led to the banning of the drug across many regions, including the US.

Amygdalin can be orally ingested or injected. Upon entering the body, amygdalin converted into hydrogen cyanide. Hydrogen cyanide can deprive cells of oxygen and also induce cell death.

While amygdalin can have potentially fatal effects, there are a variety of studies which have successfully used the compound to treat cancer, asthma and lung conditions. There are also reports which suggest amygdalin may have some immune supporting and anti-inflammatory effects.

Amygdalin administration is most risky when taken orally, and there are various vitamin and nutrient interactions which can increase the risk of cyanide poisoning. These are outlined in the later sections of the paper.

Almost all documented cases of cyanide poisoning have come from people dosing themselves personally without the aid of a trained medical professional. However, there are cases of cyanide toxicity even when the treatment is given in a regulated clinical environment.

Importantly, when taking amygdalin in a clinical setting, doctors can monitor blood cyanide and lactate levels and carefully control dosages. This is something that cannot be achieved by an inexperienced user.

Benefits and Mode of Action

There is a reasonable amount of evidence that suggests amygdalin can have strong anti-cancer effects. Much of this research come from small scale case studies or non-controlled clinical trials.

Early scientific theories that the hydrogen cyanide could treat have anti-cancer effects by inhibiting cancerous cell division and tumour growth. There are only a small number of scientific studies which support these claims.

However, there is a growing body of literature in the cellular biology field which provide fairly strong evidence for anti-cancer effects in certain types of cancer cells. Before delving into these, it’s important to remember that all of these results have come from cellular experiments conducted in a petri dish. There have also been reports which confirm cytotoxic effects of amygdalin, which is in line with reports of toxicity-related deaths after taking the compound.

With that in mind, while results may look positive, the safety of the compound remains questionable.

Some potential anti-cancer mechanisms of amygdalin include:

  • Regulates apoptosis proteins. Apoptosis is a biological process of programmed cell death. This process is, in part, regulated by a protein called Bcl-2. Apoptosis is an important mechanism of ensuring cellular turnover is maintained. In cases of cancer, these programmed cell death mechanisms often become dysregulated, leading to disinhibited cell growth and tumour formation. In a breast cancer cell line, researchers found that amygdalin was able to inhibit the anti-apoptosis protein Bcl-2, while increased levels of the pro-apoptosis protein Bax. This suggests that amygdalin may be able to reverse aberrant apoptosis in breast cancer and inhibit tumour growth
  • Regulates anti-apoptosis genes. One study looked at the effect of amygdalin on human cancer cell lines. The researchers investigated the expression of anti-apoptosis genes which often become dysregulated in cancer. The study found that amygdalin was able to significantly inhibit levels of two key anti-apoptosis genes (Survivin and XIAP). This suggests that amygdalin can restore healthy apoptosis mechanisms by regulating gene expression and exert anti-cancer effects through this mechanism.

There are studies which have replicated these anti-apoptosis findings in human colon cancer cells, human cervical cancer cells and human prostate cancer cells.

How to Use

It is fundamental to understand the dangers associated with amygdalin ingestion. The drug has been documented to induce cyanide poisoning which can be fatal. Cyanide poisoning can damage your liver, drop blood pressure levels and cause comas. Other symptoms include

  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Blue skin
  • Headaches
  • Dropping eyelids
  • Impaired walking
  • Fever
  • Confusion

Before considering taking amygdalin it is vital that you discuss this with your health-care professional.

If you want to incorporate amygdalin into your treatment regime, you must do so under the watchful eye of an experienced doctor and in a medical setting where blood toxicity levels can be measured.

You should also be aware of the legality of the compound in your region.

Amygdalin can be taken orally or injected intravenously/intramuscularly.

There is much more risk associated with taking amygdalin orally. The risks associated with amygdalin-related side-effects and fatality are also increase by taking high doses of vitamin C or ingesting foods such as:

  • Fruit pits
  • Raw almonds
  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Flaxseed
  • Celery
  • Bean sprouts
  • <Peaches/li>

If you’re going to take amygdalin, it’s also critical that you obtain the product from a reputable source. There have been reports of low-grade amygdalin containing various bacterial contaminants being sold by unsafe suppliers.

Recommended Dose 600mg/0.6g daily, preferably intravenously

Since there are no well-controlled human clinical studies, it is extremely difficult to recommend a suitable dose of amygdalin.

Dosing of the substance is critically important due to the potentially lethal consequences of overdose.

Human studies have shown that 4g of amygdalin per day orally or intravenously lead to systemic toxicity which lasted for 1.5 months.

Studies suggests that reducing the daily dose to 0.6g orally or intravenously can avoid toxic effects.

However, it’s critical to understand that dosage may vary on your weight, age, current medical condition, diet etc. Hence, it is critical to discuss dosage with a medical professional and ensure you are under medical supervision while taking amygdalin.

Classification: Healing

We’ve classified amygdalin as a powerful healing agent which may have some remarkable anti-cancer effects. This drug doesn’t appear to have any particular ‘brain benefits’ and there aren’t yet any studies which have documented whether amygdalin can be used to treat brain tumours. However, due to it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties elsewhere in the body, it is likely that amygdalin could provide effective treatment to some types of brain cancer.

Amygdalin should not be consumed as a nootropic agent for neuroprotection, general immune support or anti-inflammatory effects.

If you’re looking for a neuroprotectant agent, or something to aid brain health or cognition, you should consider trying supplements such a gingko biloba or curcumin instead.

  1. Arshi, A., Hosseini, S.M., Hosseini, F.S.K. et al. The anti-cancer effect of amygdalin on human cancer cell lines. Mol Biol Rep 46, 2059–2066 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11033-019-04656-3
  2. Charles G. Moertel, M.D., Thomas R. Fleming, Ph.D., Joseph Rubin, M.D., Larry K. Kvols, M.D., Gregory Sarna, M.D., Robert Koch, M.D., Violante E. Currie, M.D., Charles W. Young, M.D., Stephen E. Jones, M.D., and J. Paul Davignon, Ph.D. (1982) A Clinical Trial of Amygdalin (Laetrile) in the Treatment of Human Cancer. The New England Journal of Medicine. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM198201283060403?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3dpubmed
  3. Chang HK, Shin MS, Yang HY, Lee JW, Kim YS, Lee MH, et al. Amygdalin induces apoptosis through regulation of Bax and Bcl-2 expressions in human DU145 and LNCaP prostate cancer cells. Biol Pharm Bull 2006;29:1597-602.
  4. Chen Y, Ma J, Wang F, Hu J, Cui A, Wei C, et al. Amygdalin induces apoptosis in human cervical cancer cell line HeLa cells. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol 2013;35:43-51
  5. Jens Mani, Jochen Rutz, Sebastian Maxeiner, Eva Juengel, Dimitra Bon, Frederik Roos, Felix K.-H. Chun, Roman A. Blaheta, (2019) Cyanide and lactate levels in patients during chronic oral amygdalin intake followed by intravenous amygdalin administration, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 43, Pages 295-299, ISSN 0965-2299, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2019.03.002.
  6. Jens Mani, Jochen Rutz, Sebastian Maxeiner, Eva Juengel, Dimitra Bon, Frederik Roos, Felix K.-H. Chun, Roman A. Blaheta, (2019) Cyanide and lactate levels in patients during chronic oral amygdalin intake followed by intravenous amygdalin administration, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 43, Pages 295-299, ISSN 0965-2299, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2019.03.002.
  7. Kovacikova, E, Kovacik, A, Halenar, M, et al. Potential toxicity of cyanogenic glycoside amygdalin and bitter apricot seed in rabbits—Health status evaluation. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr. 2019; 103: 695– 703. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpn.13055
  8. Moradipoodeh, B., Jamalan, M., Zeinali, M. et al. In vitro and in silico anticancer activity of amygdalin on the SK-BR-3 human breast cancer cell line. Mol Biol Rep 46, 6361–6370 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11033-019-05080-3
  9. Park HJ, Yoon SH, Han LS, Zheng LT, Jung KH, Uhm YK, et al. Amygdalin inhibits genes related to cell cycle in SNU-C4 human colon cancer cells. World J Gastroenterol 2005;11:5156-61.
  10. Zuoqing Song, Xiaohong Xu (2014) Advanced research on anti-tumor effects of amygdalin. Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics. http://www.cancerjournal.net/article.asp?issn=0973-1482;year=2014;volume=10;issue=5;spage=3;epage=7;aulast=Song
  11. sciencedirect
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