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  • You Ask, I Answer: Vitamin B17

    Yesterday I attended a talk by wellness coach who talked about vitamin B17 and its cancer curing properties.

    This person was saying the government knows about B17′s ability to cure cancer

    I had never heard of it before and thought it was all sounded a little weird.

    Are you familiar with it?

    – Deborah Yee
    (Location withheld)

    Oh dear.

    “Vitamin B17″ does not exist.

    This all goes back to a gentleman named Ernest Krebs Jr., who in the early 1950s claimed that a chemical compound found mainly in apricot pits (known as laetrile) could cure cancer.

    Seeing a potential profitable market, Krebs later contended that laetrile was actually vitamin B17 (despite the fact that laetrile does not have the necessary qualities from a chemical or molecular standpoint to be called a vitamin).

    Despite federal lawsuits contending that these claims were false, laetrile continued to be sold in some health food stores (sometimes as “Vitamin B17.”)

    Fast forward to the early 1970s and you have G. Edward Griffin publishing a book titled World Without Cancer in which he claimed the terminal disease is caused by a vitamin B17 deficiency.

    According to Griffin, this knowledge had been kept hidden from the general public due to massive conspiracies.

    Quite a silly statement, considering that the first laetrile nonsense was first made public in the 1950s.

    Scientific studies on laetrile make it absolutely clear that there is not one single reason to believe it has anything to do with cancer prevention.

    However, some believers of this science fiction affirm that seven apricot seeds a day “guarantee a cancer free life.” An absolutely shameful and false claim.

    So-called “experts” on B17 claim that Alaskan Eskimos and Pakistani Hunza communities have high intakes of this “vitamin,” thereby “explaining” why there are no recorded cases of cancer among their people.

    That is another blatantly false statement, as scientific literature has recorded instances of cancer cases among those groups of people.

    What raises my quackery red flag even more is that a look at the supposed list of foods “high in B17″ (which consists only of plant foods and includes blueberries, peaches, and pears) does not in any way resemble your standard Eskimo diet.

    Your question demonstrates precisely why people should be ware of credentials like “wellness coach.” That is often a self-appointed title that does not guarantee expertise on — or even basic knowledge of — nutrition or human health.

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    2 Comments

    1. Jamie Pierce said on January 28th, 2009

      Do you think he was related to Hans?

    2. Jamie Pierce said on January 28th, 2009

      Do you think he was related to Hans?

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