B-17 injections aren't effective for treating cancer, according to Andrew Weil, M.D. Vitamin B-17 is a misnomer applied to amygdalin, the substance from which laetrile derives. There are no studies that verify laetrile's effectiveness in treating cancer in the laboratory, in animals or in humans, states the National Cancer Institute.
The body converts laetrile and amygdalin into cyanide, explains Dr. Weil. Laetrile's proponents believe that cyanide is the active anti-cancer agent in laetrile, notes the National Cancer Institute.
There are some cases in which using laetrile resulted in cyanide toxicity, reports Dr. Weil. Using vitamin C in conjunction with laetrile may increase the amount of cyanide that laetrile releases, increasing the risk of cyanide toxicity when using laetrile.
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