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Laetrile, An Alternative Cancer Treatment


Updated July 09, 2009

What is Laetrile?

Laetrile is an alternative treatment for cancer, using a naturally occurring substance found in the kernels of almonds, apricots and peaches. It is believed that this substance can kill cancer cells, while remaining harmless to healthy cells in the body.

History of Laetrile

An early form of the use of laetrile dates back thousands of years ago to the early Egyptians. The form of treatment used today began in the 1920's when Dr. Ernst T. Krebs, Sr. performed tests using the pits from apricots. At that time, the tests proved a toxin too harmful to be administered.

However, in 1952, Krebs' son, Ernst Jr made modifications to his father's theory, and revealed that the substance found in apricot pits did prove to have cancer fighting properties.

Effectiveness of Laetrile

As with many other alternative cancer treatments, studies done with laetrile have not produced significant proof that it can either fight or destroy cancer cells. There are documented risks with taking laetrile as treatment. For one, the substance used in laetrile contains a small amount of cyanide and there have been reports of cyanide poisoning and in a few cases, death, from those taking laetrile as treatment. It is not recommended to take laetrile on its own while avoiding additional treatments.

Obtaining Laetrile

Currently, laetrile is not FDA approved and difficult to find in the United States.

Treatment can be found in some places in Mexico, where the costs associated running into thousands of dollars. Treatment usually lasts 2-3 weeks with an injection into veins daily, following with a tablet form taken orally for maintenance.
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