Supplements and Herbs

Vitamin B17 (Amygdalin / Nitrilosides) and Cancer Prevention

Population studies

Copyright © 2019 Healing Cancer Naturally

No case of cancer was found in one tribe living in a remote region bordered by Pakistan, India and China after 60 years of medical observation.

Similarly, in two native populations of Eskimo, no cases of cancer were reported during a period of at least 80 years after observation by medical doctors, missionaries, teachers, traders and others, who observed them attempting to discover the incidence of cancer.

However it is important to note that a number of cancer victims have been found among those Eskimo who abandoned their aboriginal dietary habits for a westernized diet.

The interesting comparison is that the first, the Karakorams of West Pakistan, maintain virtually a vegetarian diet while the Eskimo maintain essentially a meat diet.

Ernst T Krebs Jr made these observations in an article called "The Nitrilosides in Plants and Animals", privately published by the John Beard Memorial Foundation in 1964.

Nitriloside is the term referring to a naturally occurring or synthetic compound which upon hydrolysis (a chemical reaction or process in which a chemical compound reacts with water) yields one molecule of a non-sugar (or aglycone = the non-sugar group of a glycoside), a molecule of free hydrogen cyanide, and one or more molecules of sugar or its acid.

He considered four nitrilosides in the paper, amygdalin (vitamin B17), dhurrin, lotaustralin and linamarin. For the purposes of the study they may be considered identical and varying essentially only in the percentage of free hydrogen cyanide they produce upon hydrolysis by beta-glucosidase.

The diet of the Karakorams mainly consists of buckwheat, peas, broad beans, lucerne (alfalfa), turnips, lettuce, sprouting pulse or gram, apricots including their seeds, cherries and cherry seeds, and berries of various sorts. In other words they regularly consumed liberal amounts of vitamin B17 as part of their diet (see Ernst Krebs on Vitamin B 17 for Cancer Treatment and Vitamin B 17 against cancer).

In order to avoid romanticizing it is worth noting that the Karakorams often suffer from goiter caused by iodine deficiency.

Though the Eskimo follow primarily a meat diet, a berry, extraordinarily rich in nitrilosides, grows abundantly in Arctic areas. Rubus spectabilis is commonly known as salmonberry, cloud berry or Joffelberry. It is incorporated into pemmican, a concentrated food consisting of dried pulverized meat, dried berries, and rendered fat, and eaten all seasons of the year.

In addition, the caribou is important in the diet of the Eskimo. The frozen contents of the rumen or paunch of the caribou are used as a salad and considered a delicacy. The caribou largely feed on arrowgrass (Triglochin maritima) which is richer in nitrilosides than any common grass. 1 kilogram of arrowgrass contains some 30,000 mg of nitrilosides.

Liver cancer is virtually unknown among the Bantu people of South Africa. But once they migrate to urban areas or the mines they adopt a diet consisting almost exclusively of low grade carbohydrates, mainly for economic reasons. Among the urbanized Bantu, liver cancer is responsible for 95% of all deaths from cancer.

Ernst Krebs concluded, "Cancer is generally considered a chronic disease. So far no chronic or metabolic disease has ever found a prophylactic or therapeutic resolution except through normally occurring accessory food factors…. It is not probable that cancer will prove the first exception."

Dean Burk quotes Albert Schweitzer’s preface to Alexander Berglas' "Cancer: Nature, Cause and Cure", Institute Pasteur, Paris, 1957:

"On my arrival in Gabon in 1913 I was astonished to encounter no cases of cancer. I saw none among the natives two hundred miles from the coast…I can not of course say positively that there was no cancer at all, but, like other frontier doctors, I can only say that if any cases existed they must have been quite rare."

"This absence of cancer seemed to me due to the difference in nutrition of the natives compared to the Europeans, the most significant difference being that the natives two hundred miles from the coast consumed no salt."

Dean Burk continues by pointing out that the greater incidence of cancer along the coast was not due to salt but to the Europeanized food with which the salt was used.

He goes on to discuss the native American populations, the differences in their diet and the 98% lower incidence of cancer when compared to the white populations. (Burk, private papers)

The reasonable person would observe that there are a number of factors different between a modern urbanized lifestyle and that of aboriginal populations living in their natural environment. Pollution, the use of chemicals in food preparation and the exposure to EMFs are some examples.

However given the striking difference in the incidence of cancer between aboriginal populations in their natural environment and modern urbanized populations one can only suspect that diet must play an important role.

If you value this content and wish to support my work (every dollar is gratefully appreciated), please donate:


Related content

Related section


Copyright © 2004-2021 and respective authors.
Unauthorized republishing of content is strictly forbidden. Each and every breach of copyright will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law.
Use of this site signifies your agreement to the disclaimer.