Apricot kernel seeds for cancer, should you be using them? A common question in my office. Unfortunately, I have a major spoiler alert! But this is one treatment I just can’t recommend.

Now, that’s not to say that the chemical compound amygdalin couldn’t be effective against cancer. But it is to say that getting amygdalin through apricot kernel seeds while having cancer has its risks. Let’s go through the potential risks, benefits, and alternatives together.

Many people use apricot kernel seeds for the chemical compound amygdalin. This chemical has been used in cell culture studies to block tumor growth in certain types of cancer. Amygdalin has been studied with prostate, renal cell, breast, lung, and cervical cancer cell lines.

In cell cultures, amygdalin can cause cancer cell death (apoptosis). In rat studies, amygdalin has been shown to. These cancer blocking effects are carried out in cells when amygdalin is converted into toxic hydrogen cyanide.

In the past, it was thought that the toxic hydrogen cyanide was only created within cancer cells. But we now know that this toxic hydrogen cyanide is also formed in non-cancerous cells. This means that our healthy cells are getting exposed to cyanide, a toxic chemical that can cause renal failure and even death.

Does that mean it will be completely un-useful in the future of cancer care? Probably not. But, until we know how to administer amygdalin and use apricot kernels safely in humans, let’s not risk it.

If you have used apricot kernels in the past, here are some things I would recommend talking about with your local doctors to make sure you haven’t damaged anything or put your health at risk. Talk to your doctors about monitoring your kidney health.

Other signs of cyanide poisoning can include:

  • Seizures
  • Breathing problems
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Weakness

Alternative sources of amygdalin could include sweet almonds. While the bitter almonds might have enough amygdalin or cyanide to create the same poisoning issue as apricot or peach kernels, sweet almonds do not seem to have the same problem.

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References:

Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2018 Jun;40(3):212-218. doi: 10.1080/08923973.2018.1441301. Epub 2018 Feb 28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29486614

Mol Biol Rep. 2019 Feb 5. doi: 10.1007/s11033-019-04656-3.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30725348

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019 Jan 29;19(1):32. doi: 10.1186/s12906-019-2437-4.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30696432

Bull Exp Biol Med. 2016 Mar;160(5):712-4. doi: 10.1007/s10517-016-3257-x. Epub 2016 Mar 29.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27021084

Case Rep Emerg Med. 2017;2017:4289527. doi: 10.1155/2017/4289527. Epub 2017 Aug 24

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28912981

Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2018;18(12):1650-1655. doi: 10.2174/1871520618666180105161136.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29308747

Content of the cyanogenic glucoside amygdalin in almond seeds related to the bitterness genotype

http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0120-99652012000200014

Amygdalin content of seeds, kernels and food products commercially-available in the UK https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259514245_Amygdalin_content_of_seeds_kernels_and_food_products_commercially-available_in_the_UK