Karen Kirkpatrick is happy to talk to anyone about vitamin B17 on 01483 423235 (UK) 9am-5pm Monday-Friday. This is a private telephone number and she may not always be able to answer, but keep trying.
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The first (almost unbelievable) answer is that because the drug and chemical companies in the U.S.A. could not make any money from an answer to cancer in food, they have actively suppressed the information, with the help of government agencies. This suppression initially was so successful that information about laetrile scarcely crossed its borders. However, the advent of the internet has seen the recent breakthrough of information. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the U.S.A. continues to harass the organisations that sell vitamin B17 - a food supplement, although they have no legal grounds to do so. In order to try and suppress all forms of natural and alternative therapies that compete with the pharmaceutical industry the FDA label anything a 'new drug' when a claim is made for that substance or even suggestions given as to how to take it.1 This harassment which has been going on for over thirty years2 has been so intense that at times it has involved imprisonment and/or the threat for doctors of losing their license to practise.
The most common argument against laetrile (the concentrated form of vitamin B17) is that it is toxic - but it has been proved time and again, in the laboratory and in court, that laetrile/B17 is non-toxic (except when it comes into contact with cancer cells.) Vitamin B17 is toxic to cancer cells, but non-toxic and in fact nourishes ordinary cells. Aspirin tablets are twenty times more toxic than the equivalent amount of laetrile. The toxicity of aspirin is cumulative and can build up for days and even months. The chemical action of B17, however, is completed usually within a few hours leaving behind absolutely no build-up. Each year in the U.S. over 90 people die from aspirin poisoning. No one has ever died from B17.3 June de Spain was a toxicologist and pharmacologist for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and conducted diet research at the University of Chicago and she has written a book with recipes specifically using foods containing vitamin B17.4
The other argument against vitamin B17 is that is doesn't work - despite the fact that it has been proved to work in the laboratory. However, by altering the parameters of trials it has also been shown to fail in the laboratory. But, the best test of all, it has been shown time and again to work in people's lives. Many testimonies can be found in published books.5 Since 1963, 100,000 patients have been treated at the Oasis of Hope Hospital, in Mexico, including currently over 600 cancer patients a year. In 1981 they conducted a retrospective study to document the five-year survival rate of their cancer patients. They had dramatically superior results than conventional therapy. The results can be seen in the book by Francisco Contreras The Coming Cancer Cure, (Authentic Lifestyle, Milton Keynes 2002, p 105).
In view of the fact that laetrile/vitamin B17 is non-toxic (less toxic than sugar) it seems only right that people should be free to choose to try this alternative therapy if they wish.
It is possible that another reason that B17's efficacy is hidden is that in treating cancer patients - who are often ill not only from cancer but also have had their immune system hammered by chemotherapy and radiotherapy - they are given a regime to treat the whole person. This includes superdoses of multivitamins and minerals, enzymes, herbs and other nutritional aids to boost the immune system, cleanse the body of toxins, to strengthen organs and the whole body, as well as being given laetrile/B17 to fight the cancer. In fact many of these other supplements will fight cancer as well as helping in the assimilation of B17, but in the breadth of the regime the supreme importance of vitamin B17 may be lost.
Since first writing on this subject, laetrile/vitamin B17 therapy has been written up in the ICON magazine (Integrated cancer and oncology news), see May 2003 issue, and there is an interview with Dr Contreras in the August 2003 issue.6 Amygdalin (the natural form of vitamin B17, found in many foods) or laetrile is also mentioned in The alternative cancer treatment guide by Dr Rosy Daniel with Andrew Panton. (Health Creation, Bristol 2003) Dr Rosy Daniel is former Medical Director of the Bristol Cancer Help Centre.7
It is hard to grasp the enormity of this situation and to realise that the result of this suppression of knowledge has been the death of so many millions. There are people right now dying from lack of knowledge. The UK's leading oncologist Professor Karol Sikora says "Get all the information you can. Find out all about the disease, find out what treatment's being offered, conventional treatment, find out what else you can do, what's available in the hospital, what's available locally, what's available nationally. Become an expert on your own disease and yourself, after all you know yourself better than anybody else." (Message of Hope video, Health Creation 2003)7