Most of the discussions regarding apricot seeds surround its proposed use as an anti-cancer agent. While certain studies have found that the presence of vitamin B17 (amygdalin) does have anti-tumor effects, other researchers have found no notable improvement of cancer symptoms when a controlled amount of this substance is either consumed or injected.
Interestingly enough, laetrile has been used for medical purposes for more than 160 years, dating back to Russian medical roots. In the 20th century, it has gone through periods of popularity and restriction, however, these seeds and their extract can still be found in certain parts of the world and anecdotal evidence for their effect on cancer is widespread.
The most important thing is to never consume apricot seeds in excess. Estimates for dangerous levels of consumption range from as few as 30 seeds to as many as 500, depending on body size, weight and numerous other factors.
Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that has been linked to improved health of the skin. Vitamin E functions to reduce oxidative stress in the skin, which is caused by free radicals and can lead to wrinkles, age spots and blemishes. Vitamin E also works as a moisturizer and can improve the general appearance and tone of the skin, even boosting elasticity as we age. There is a moderate amount of vitamin E found in apricot seeds.
Although amygdalin gets most of the attention in apricot seeds, there is another unique compound in these seeds that has been connected to a reduced risk of heart disease. Pangamic acid is not found in many foods, but it is closely associated with reducing strain on the cardiovascular system, particularly in terms of ischemic heart disease. Some studies have also found that regular consumption of small amounts of apricot seeds is able to lower blood pressure, which can lower your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
Some research has shown immune-boosting properties of apricot seeds, as they can stimulate the defensive cells of the body, in addition to their antioxidant potential, which can reduce strain on the immune system. Amygdalin can increase the ability of a patient’s white blood cells to attack harmful cells. One theory of amygdalin’s effects suggests that transformation of normal cells into dangerous cells that can cause disease is normally prevented by beneficial enzymes produced within the pancreas. So “vitamin B17” may help increase the production of pancreatic enzymes that destroy harmful properties within the body.
A good amount of anecdotal evidence links apricot seeds to improved respiratory health, as they can cut through mucus and phlegm deposition in the respiratory tracts. The active ingredients in these seeds act as an expectorant and will also make the body less sensitive to allergens, which can reduce the severity of asthma attacks and inflammation in the throat.
There is a decent amount of dietary fiber in apricot seeds, which means that this tasty snack (either sweet or bitter varieties) can help improve digestive function. Dietary fiber is able to stimulate peristaltic motion in the gut, making bowel movement more regular, and reduce symptoms of constipation, bloating, cramping and diarrhea. This dietary fiber can also improve nutrient uptake efficiency in the gut.
Although some research that tested the components of apricot seeds as anticancer compounds showed no change in cancer cells, some of them reported that patients declared a decrease in pain. In a series of case reports published in 1962, 10 patients with metastatic cancer (meaning it spread from one part of the body to another) were treated with a wide range of doses of intravenous Laetrile. Pain relief was the main reported benefit; plus reduced swelling of lymph nodes and decreased tumor size were also reported.
In Chinese pharmacology, apricot seeds are used to treat arthritic pain. The fiber present in apricot seeds traps acids and other toxins in the digestive system, pulling them out of the body. The seeds are also detoxifying, so they reduce inflammation in the body and serve as a natural arthritis treatment.
These seeds have a notable amount of protein, which is an essential part of your daily diet. A half-cup of these seeds contains roughly 25% of the necessary protein per day. This can increase muscle growth and general repair around the body, as protein is necessary to create all new cells and tissues in the body.
If you are struggling to maintain cholesterol levels, apricot seeds can certainly help, as a result of the dietary fiber found in this snack food. Fiber can help to scrape excess cholesterol from the cardiovascular system and strengthen heart health, lowering your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
There is a significant amount of usable calories and energy in these seeds, and while eating an excessive amount of these seeds can be bad for your weight gain and your risk of cyanide poisoning, a moderate amount can provide a rapid burst of energy and a boost to the metabolism.
Apricot seeds are found at the center of the apricot fruit, which is scientifically known as Prunus armeniaca and is considered a stone fruit. When you eat an apricot, you will eventually reach the pit at the center of the fruit, and the seed (or kernel) is found within the shell of that pit. Most notably, apricot seeds contain vitamin B17 – more commonly known as amygdalin or laetrile – which studies have shown can have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin B17, when combined with high levels of vitamin C, can be chemically altered into cyanide in your body, which can be very dangerous. While the body can process small amounts of cyanide, eating an entire bag of apricot seeds exceeds the lethal level of cyanide for an adult man. The amygdalin is converted into cyanide in the stomach, which then moves throughout the bloodstream, potentially causing major side effects or death. For that reason, commercial sales of apricot seeds are largely restricted around the world, although they can be purchased online. However, other studies disagree with these findings, arguing that apricot seeds are too dangerous to consume only in large numbers.
Apricot seeds contain high levels of amygdalin (vitamin B17) as well as significant levels of vitamin E, pangamic acid (vitamin B15), as well as small amounts of fat and no cholesterol. In a half-cup of apricot seeds, there are 14 grams of carbohydrates, most of which is made of dietary fiber (10 grams). There are also 14 grams of protein in a half-cup of these seeds, along with an average of 260 calories.
Dosage: You will need to determine the best amount for yourself. With that said most people find that one apricot seed for every 10 pounds of body weight per day spread out throughout the day is a good amount. You should build up to this amount over a few days or even weeks. Start with one apricot seed an hour and see how you do. If you notice any unwanted side effects like dizziness, headache or upset stomach, then you are consuming too many seeds too fast. Eating six to ten seeds daily is a very common amount. But remember to never over consume apricot seeds, always start with a small amount and slowly increase that amount. Find what works best for you.
FDA Disclaimer: These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.
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