Man gets cyanide poisoning from taking apricot kernel extract to prevent cancer

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Posted 11 September 2017

DIY medicine can have serious consequences.

Michelle Starr 12 SEP 2017

Read at ScienceAlert

A seemingly healthy 67-year old Australian man developed cyanide poisoning after ingesting apricot kernel extract.

The man in this case was making his own extract, and consuming two teaspoons of it daily, in addition to taking a commercial fruit kernel supplement called Novodalin. He had had prostate cancer, which had gone into remission. 

“The gentleman involved has a scientific background and he had read that apricot kernel extract would prevent his cancer from recurring,” his anaesthetist, Alex Konstantatos, told The Huffington Post.

Apricot kernels have been widely publicised as a miracle cancer cure on and off since the 1950s. They contain a compound called amygdalin, which can be partially synthesised into laetrile.

When we ingest amygdalin or laetrile, our digestive bacteria and food enzymes break them down into cyanide, a toxic chemical that in sufficient doses prevents the body’s cells from using oxygen, which in turn kills them.

Proponents of apricot kernel oil as a cancer treatment mistakenly believe that this cyanide only targets cancer cells, and is therefore safe to consume. But up-to-date clinical research shows no beneficial effect to using amygdalin or laetrile to treat cancer.

Continue reading at ScienceAlert

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