Amygdalin: The Cyanogenic Glycoside for Cancer Treatment


Amygdalin: The Cyanogenic Glycoside for Cancer Treatment

The famous health quotation says that the body is designed to heal itself when the individual takes in the right nutrients. For thousands of years, however, people have resorted to man-made food sources which have led to the development of complicated health conditions such as cancers, Diabetes mellitus and others. Realizing that health can be restored through phytonutrient contents found in plants, experts have isolated several vitamins and minerals from various sources in the early 1950’s. Among the compounds found to be abundant in apples, apricot and peach is the cyanogenic glycoside Amygdalin. There are several conflicting claims on the effects of Amygdalin in the human body since its early discovery but with the establishment of claims that benefits outweigh side effects, the compound has become a component of several therapeutic medications.

What is Amygdalin?

Amydalin consists of two glucose molecules, one benzaldehyde group and a single hydrocyanic acid. The controversy involving the drug arose following the discovery that it may produce cyanide, a poisonous element, when exposed to cancer cells during cancer treatment. To resolve the controversy, experts have provided that cyanide may only become toxic to humans when inhaled in gas forms but may not cause side effects in any other forms. There being a clear distinction as to the toxic cyanide and the non-toxic type, the compound belonging to the later, Amygdalin is no longer a controversial health supplement ingredient.

Health benefits of using Amygdalin

Although it is undeniable that the compound Amygdalin may have side effects especially when taken in very high doses, it is generally beneficial especially for individuals at high risk for cancers. Studies show that the following benefits may be enjoyed with Amygdalin supplementation:

  1. It induces cancer cell apoptosis

Exposure of cancer cells to the compound Amygdalin is shown to shrink the cancerous cells and cause their death in just a few days. Although the mechanism of action of the drug remains unclear to date, several studies conducted on mice subjects have already established cancer treatment claims. Certain groups of scientists believe that the compound may also help prevent metastasis or the transfer of cancer cells from one region of the body to another but this claim is not yet studied upon.

  1. It serves as an expectorant

In relatively low doses, Amygdalin is believed to help treat cough and other respiratory conditions by serving as an expectorant of thick mucus. This claim has been based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine practice which makes apricot seeds, the main source of Amygdalin, into cough treatment.

  1. It heals certain digestive problems

Problems with digestion associated with ineffective metabolism are also shown to be treated efficiently with Amygdalin supplementation as the compound helps promote evacuation and absorption of nutrients in the small intestines.


Also known as Vitamin B17, Amygdalin is indeed an important compound for optimal body function. It may have been through controversies but it is now a recognized essential drug.

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