Pastor Otabil and Fufu: Subjectivity or objectivity?

Pastor Otabil and Fufu: Subjectivity or objectivity?

By Raphael Nyarkotey Obu: …Fufu made with cassava fights colon cancer and also contains Vitamin B-17! Pastor Otabil is my Pastor and my mentor.

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By Raphael Nyarkotey Obu:

…Fufu made with cassava fights colon cancer and also contains Vitamin B-17!

Dr. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, Prostate cancer researcher

Pastor Otabil is my Pastor and my mentor. But sometimes, the student can also teach the teacher! We allhave different fields and my area is health. Well, this is evident in the Bible as the book of Corinthians 3: 6 says I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So Otabil planted with his statement on the Fufu and am also providing scientific analysis so that God who created the Cassava plant will make it grow well!

[ads1]One thing I have always done is to separate personal emotions from scientific facts! This is why my writings are based on well conducted meta-analysis. One news I chanced on was attributed to the renowned Gospel preacher; Pastor Mensah Otabil via Fufu is killing Africans – Mensa Otabil | General News 2017-02-23…/Fufu-is-killing-Africans-Mensa-Otabil-512775.

The genesis of Otabil and fufu Controversy:

“Any food that if you have to eat you’ll have to punish yourself like this, what’s the sense in it? And the annoying thing is when you’re pounding, the sweat will be going in and will be mixed, and even in the mortar, there are all kinds of bacteria in the corners, this is an ecosystem for bacteria, 5 years and we are still pounding and people will say, that’s what we like.”

He added that for the most part, Africans blame their woes on evil supernatural beings rather than identifying the real cause of the problem and dealing with it. This he said is due to the unwillingness to adapt to changing trends even when there are better ways of doing things.

“It’s killing us; because you know Africans we don’t know what kills us, the thing is killing us but you say it’s a witch, because we never identify objectively the cause of the problem…..Come to think of it, this fufu in this mortar is not sanitized , what impact does it have on our lives?

So this was his previous statement on fufu. Now recently, he reincarnated his stance on the consumption of fufu during the church’s thirty four years celebration.  But I found it as total ignorance for Pastor Otabil to say “what impact does it have on our lives” In a nutshell, he is saying fufu eating has no impact on our lives?  This is totalignorance; so my article toady is to educate him and the public on the impact of the fufu he is not aware.

His Second comments on Fufu:

“I don’t want an African past, I want an African future. I don’t want to imitate what Yaa Asantewaa did, I want to create something new for myself and my generation. So, if at this time we are still pounding fufu the same way Yaa Asantewaa pounded it – I grant you your right to eat your fufu, no matter the calories, but should you prepare it the same way it was prepared by your ancestors? Can’t you do it differently? Can’t we look at our lives and say we are going to create something new, and how do we become an aspirational people: a people who are always looking forward to better, we are looking for greater, we are looking for bigger, we are looking for more, how do we become that person? So that we don’t look around and say: ‘Well this is our life, this is where we are, it’s okay. To be access at

My Comments; Otabil statement is based on anecdotal science

Obviously, assessing the two instances, Pastor Mensah Otabil did not quote any scientific validated research to prove that Fufu is killing Ghanaians. What I deduced from his two statements is based on personal emotions which should be separated from scientific facts. Well, what I also observed was that his problem with the fufu is how it is made. He believed that we should develop a new method to prepare our fufu. Of course, personal hygiene should beconsidered. I quite remember; I rejected a fufu I bought in a restaurant when I realized the bad fingernails of the attendant. Her hands were filthy, but that shouldn’t be the basis forcriticizing the health benefits of the fufu partly because I had an encounter with someone who had filthy hands. If I do that; am being more subjective rather than objective. Besides, Otabil cannot say fufu is killing Ghanaians when no research has even proven as such. Yes! He granted congregational right to eat fufu; but this was a different approach to his previous comment on fufu.  So why this sudden change of granting congregational rigt to eat fufu?

What is Fufu made of ?

We are all aware in Ghana that fufu is made of using Cassava. But do u know that Cassava itself contains Vitamin B-17 u are all crazing for?

Cassava: A Digestive-Resistant Starch-why eat fufu?

Otabil himself in his recent comments on fufu granted congregational right to eat fufu..But is he aware of the resistant starch nature of the cassava used for Fufu? I thinking maybe after reading this article he may consider his statement or better still next time he may reframe the fufu stance.  Pastor Otabil; The Healthy Home Economist calls cassava used for the Ghanaian Fufu resistant starch “the healthiest starch for your gut:” what does this mean to our health?

“Resistant starch is a type of starch that does not break down (it literally “resists” digestion), instead of being absorbed as glucose like most starches. Instead, resistant starch travels through the small intestine to the colon where it is turned into beneficial, energy-boosting, inflammation-squashing and short-chain fatty acids by intestinal bacteria. The main reason why resistant starch is so beneficial is that it feeds the friendly bacteria in your colon, turns them into important short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate (known to help reduce inflammation) and is extremely helpful in cases of autoimmunity, IBS, colitis and allergies.”( The Healthy Home Economist 2016)

So you see how the cassava we use for Fufu could help us fight colon cancer or better still why we have low colon cancer cases in Ghana or even Nigeria where research has shown that they do have low incidence of colon cancers as a result of cassava consumption.

Look at this also-According to Authority Nutrition:

“Most of the carbohydrates in the diet are starches. Starches are long chains of glucose that are found in grains, potatoes and various foods. But not all of the starch we eat gets digested. Sometimes a small part of it passes through the digestive tract unchanged. In other words, it is resistant to digestion.”( Authority Nutrition Tapioca 2012-2016). According to Topping et al resistant starch can be very beneficial. As it feeds beneficial gut bacteria, it can reduce inflammation as well as harmful bacteria (Proc Nutr Soc. 2003 Feb.;62(1):171-6) It may also lower your blood glucose level after meals(Diabetes Care 2006 May;29(5):976-81) improve insulin sensitivity(Robertson et al Am J Clin Nutr 2005 Sept.;82(3):559-67.. Help manage metabolic syndrome(Bodinham et al    Br J Nutr. 2010 March:103(6):917-22 )  and possibly help you eat less(Raben et al  Am J Clin Nutr 1994 Oct.;60(4):544-51)

The four different types of resistant starches include(Authority Nutrition Resistant Starches 2012-2016):

  1. Type 1, found in grains, seeds and legumes, resists digestion because it’s bound by fibrous cell walls.
  2. Type 2 is indigestible starchy foods such as green bananas and raw potatoes which, when heated, makes them digestible.
  • Type 3 is created when a starchy food is cooked, then cooled, turning some digestible starches, such as rice and white beans, into resistant starch through retrogradation(Science Direct March 2000)
  1. Type 4 is a man-made substance using a chemical process and is not healthy for you.

Other Strange and Advantageous Benefits of Cassava

While cassava roots are close to what we know as white potatoes, cassava contains almost twice the calories, and may be the highest-calorie tuber known says Dr. Mercola. One cup of boiled cassava contains 330 calories, 78 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein and 4 grams each of fiber and sugar.

Even Pastor Otabil noted the calories content of the fufu based on the ingredient cassava.Probably, he has conducted further research on the ingredient based on his first outburst on the fufu. But let me add that, being naturally gluten-free, cassava is extremely useful for celiac patients and others trying to avoid gluten. One aspect of cassava is that it’s one of several root foods defined by the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology as having a low glycemic index (GI) and therefore good for diabetics and this is what most people are not aware. So the ingredient use for fufu has low glycemic index; then diabetic patients should be thanking their stars.

What is Glycemic Index and why fufu is the savior for Diabetic Patients if so?

 “GI is a classification of food based on the blood glucose response to a food relative to a standard glucose solution? Low glycemic foods control the release of glucose into the bloodstream at a steady and sustained rate, keeping the body’s metabolic processes and energy levels balanced. People with low glycemic diets or [who] eat low glycemic foods are said to have lower risk of getting coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. These food items that have low GI would benefit those who are already suffering from diabetes, since these would help in the proper control and management of blood sugar”   Philstar Global Sept, 30, 2010.

Could Otabil Rather bemisleading us to go wayward on Fufu!

As a low-GI food, eating cassava can also help improve physical endurance because blood glucose levels are moderated instead of dropping when insulin is produced. Low-GI foods also may help control triglyceride and other lipid levels in your blood. Cassava has even been called a “weight loss wonder food” due to its ability to decrease appetite and decrease fat storage in fat cells (Chris Kresser  August , 2014).

B-complex vitamins contained in cassava include folate, thiamin, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and riboflavin (vitamin B2). The root also includes a number of minerals that perform important functions throughout your body:

  1. Iron helps form the two proteins responsible for transporting oxygen to your tissues
  2. Zinc helps your immune system fight bacteria and aids cell growth and division

iii.        Calcium helps form strong bones and teeth

  1. Magnesium optimizes mitochondrial function and helps regulate blood sugar
  2. Potassium synthesizes proteins and helps break down carbohydrates
  3. Manganese is vital for connective tissue and sex hormones, and repairing joints

vii.       Cassava also contains saponins that can ease inflammation, break down organic body wastes like uric acid, cleanse mineral deposits from your joints and help balance your gut flora.

Fufu made of Cassava: The Local Laetrile Pastor Otabil do not know!

This brings my chapter to the Vitamin most of you are aware but you do not know it is also found in Cassava use for your Fufu-Vitamin B17. Amygdalin or laetrile? B-17 as a cancer ´cure´ is one of the most controversial subjects in ´Alternative cancer medicine´. But is there research to support it as an alternative cancer treatment? Is there research to support it as a complementary therapy? Is there research to support B-17 as a cure for cancer? Here Pastor Otabil has finally allowed me to bring you one of the most comprehensive and accurate reviews on the Internet today on Vitamin B17 and cancer cure claims which is also found in the cassava use for our fufu(Written by Editor, Chris Woollams, M.A. Oxon, Biochemistry). The controversy was re-opened in October 2014 when researchers (Makarevic et al; PLOSone) showed that natural B-17 (amygdalin) dose-dependently reduced growth and proliferation of cancer cells in vitro.

The controversy started in May 2016, when the Food Standards Authority (FSA) in the UK talked about banning the sale of Apricot Kernels and this is what most of you looking for to get Vitamin B17 which is even in your cassava in Ghana.  So, a Government that puts a proven class A carcinogen (fluoride) in our water supplies is going to ban a food they don´t even correctly understand – they say, like many ignorant, that 30 of them ´contain cyanide´. Do they understand that for years people have eaten foods like marzipan in cakes? It was made from Apricot Kernels. UK nurses were even told to eat an apricot, then break the nut and eat the pip for health reasons, although I am going back 65 years to when my mother was a nurse says the author.

So in this article which Pastor Otabil further spotted on Fufu negativity gave me the platform to help you read evidenceanalytical research devoid of subjectivity on Vitamin B17. So, what you are about to read is the Truth, the whole truth and not the rubbish the skeptics, people with agendas and propaganda-pushers, and generally ill-informed people would have you believe on B17.

B-17: Laetrile is not the same as Amygdalin

Or you think so and believe them? Okay, if you do believe them I want you get one thing accurate.Let´s get one thing straight: Beware of the articles that talk of eating pips and seeds and call the active ingredient Laetrile. The writers are making a simple, but fundamental error. How many more will they make? It is vital to distinguish the use of natural amygdalin from Apricot Kernels, and Laetrile, which is a concentrated, synthetic drug.  With B-17, misunderstandingoccursworldwide and completegarbage is sometimes discussed, even top sites and researchers.

B-17:  The genesis

On February 14th 2006, the UK´s Daily Mail ran a headline ´Cancer Cures or Quackery? ´ under which six alternative practitioners recommended ´alternative´ cancer cures (their words not mine) to a reporter posing as a cancer patient. To quote, ´One therapy was ´B-17 metabolic therapy or laetrile´ (sic).

Two  cancer ´experts´ in the UK, Professors Ernst and Baum, merged in the argumentstating that there was ´no research to support B-17´, and that B-17 was used ´by a few deceitful practitioners through the border in Mexico´.

  1. Two top researchers who have conducted in-depth analysis on this subject (like Ralph Moss and Phillip Day) quoted at least five studies (three on animals, two with humans) that show some effect on cancer with B-17. But the fact is that the evidence base is poor. Very poor. There is no accepted placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial data whatsoever with humans, though Moss (a recognized science writer working in the press office at Memorial Sloan Kettering when they did conduct serious research), says the results were good (B-17 was shown to stop help prevent cancer, stop metastases and clinical trials were recommended), but he only observed as people suppressed the studies.
  2. Treating patients with Metabolic Therapy is not the same as giving them B-17. The world famous Oasis of Hope clinic in Mexico uses a variety of therapies including radiotherapy and chemotherapy. And it does employed synthetic ´vitamin´ B-17 as part of an integrative system codenamed Metabolic Therapy, including pancreatic enzymes, ozone therapy, Intravenous Vitamin C and more. Although there is clearly a lot of subjective evidence in some cases.
  3. The owners of the Oasis of Hope have not been chased out of America, nor are they ´unscrupulous´. Dr Francisco Contreras M.D., the son of the founder Dr Ernesto Contreras, and his hospital are in Mexico … because they are Mexican. The Oasis of Hope advertises in America perfectly legally, and Americans travel to the clinic in Mexico, just as they might go to one in Chicago according to The Truth about ‘cancer vitamin’ B-17 | Vitamin B17 Cancer site.

The report on the website further stated that by April 14th the UK Food Standards Agency was getting in on the act. UK newspapers published warnings issued by the FSA thus: ´Cancer patients should be aware that Apricot Kernels – a suggested cure for the disease – can kill them´. Apparently, ´Reports from overseas say eating 20-30 could result in very serious health effects´.

Note: None of the articles specified the origin and the detail of these ´overseas reports´. There was absolutely no evidence for these claims.

The FSA suggested that 1-2 pips per day were a safe intake. One article went on to add, ´Bitter apricot pips are thought to contain high levels of B-17, known as laetrile (sic) – described as an immune system booster and even as a cancer treatment´.

  1. Bitter apricot pips contain amygdalin, not laetrile. Few people seem to grasp the difference but it is important:

(i) Apricot Kernels can contain up to 3 per cent of Amygdalin which is the natural form of B-17. If you chew a pip it tastes rather like old-fashioned marzipan. Eating apricot kernels does not require any medical approvals – nor should it any more than eating oranges or beetroot.

(ii) Laetrile is something quite different – it is a synthetically prepared form of B-17 and is thus a drug and is subject to drug approval. Since there are no definitive phase III clinical trials on laetrile, quite correctly it has not received FDA approval. Full stop.

(iii) B-17 is not a vitamin. Krebs described it as a vitamin, but there is little evidence of any vitamin properties.

(iv) Contreras, the world´s expert on B-17, states unequivocally that he knows of no one who has ever died from eating apricot pips. He does not treat people with apricot pips and it matters not to him whether they help or hinder. He is providing an unbiased expert opinion.

(v) Apricot pips alone are not a cure for cancer. I know of no one who says they are. In the world. They might well perform a role in an anti-cancer complementary treatment package. Eating a few each day may also have some preventative powers.

(vi) I also know of no one who has been treated by laetrile alone and has cured their cancer – I cannot even provide an anecdote.

  1. The problem was that B-17 (synthetic laetrile, not amygdalin) became the focus of a mighty squabble between orthodox medicine and alternative medicine. ´Conspiracy theories´ abound in the world of alternative cancer treatments and views become entrenched. And this creates the mythology and the errors. Certain people close to the Pharmaceutical Industry then involved amygdalin, incorrectly, in the laetrile argument.

Apricot Kernals and Integrative Cancer Treatment

The CANCERactive writers provided objective view on this topic via the website. This is what they have to say “The fact is that I personally know of a very large number of people who take apricot kernels (6 with their breakfast), and hundreds more who have used up to 50 apricot kernels a day, within a no glucose, no cows´ dairy, and an alkalising diet, as part of their Complementary and Integrative Treatment ´package´ (along with exercise etc.) when they had cancer. And the package delivered for them. Geoffrey Boycott, the former English Cricketer, would be a good example, as would Sue Olifent, who will tell her story on ´Health Academy Live´ .  Sue had liver and pancreatic cancer and the doctors sent her home because there was nothing they could do for her. 6 months later and the tumours are scars. She has set up a Support group, Active Cancer Support , to help people find out more.

Now, there are You Tube videos often along the lines of ´I beat cancer with vitamin B 17´. By all means watch them – e.g Sandi Rog. But you will find they almost all confuse what I have been saying above. That doesn´t detract from their belief that B-17 helped them beat cancer, of course.

B-17: The basics

  1. You can crack open an apricot nut shell today in the UK – but it is against the law to treat someone with laetrile the website warned.
  2. a) Apricot Kernels, seeds, pips, whatever you want to call them, contain amygdalin and this is a nitriloside. A large number of bioactive compounds are provided by nature (e.g. carotenoids, phenols, anthocyanins, vitamin D, curcumin, resveratrol etc.) which can protect and correct illness; nitrilosides are one. Salvestrols (developed by Professors Potter and Burke) act similarly. Interestingly, Salvestrols and amygdalin should not be taken simultaneously as they can contra-indicate.
  3. b) Laetrile (the synthetic form of B-17) can be obtained in tablet form (500 mg units) for home consumption, but is more usually administered intravenously.
  4. c) Laetrile prescription is illegal in the UK. No practitioner in the UK has been allowed to prescribe or use synthetic B-17 since June 2004. It has been banned since 1963 in the USA by the FDA; however, some Naturopathic practitioners in the USA seem prepared to sell laetrile to patients; and you can even buy it on Amazon!


  1. d) A cure for cancer? The word ´cure´, in my experience, is only ever used by the press, or by dubious websites and ´experts´ who don´t really understand cancer. These may be staunch advocates of any therapies, or Skeptic nonsense sites. Neither is helpful to the cancer patient.

Cancer is a multi-step process or spectrum of diseases and not a single entity. There may be as many as 20 steps (according to John Boik of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas). In the writer book via Cancer Reactive Webiste, ´The Rainbow Diet – and how it can help you beat cancer´,

According to the writer, he has assigned bioactive foods and natural compounds to each of the steps, but only where there is scientific research that they have an anti-cancer step activity. “I know of no single natural compound that is active against all 20 steps”.

No drug cures all cancers, all of the time. There is no drug known to man that kills cancer stem cells at the heart of cancers. Why expect it, or claim it for a vitamin, or B-17?

  1. e) All drugs have side-effects. Those of Tamoxifen are well documented. The lack of proper research on synthetic B-17 (laetrile) has meant no safety measurements really exist. Death claims are rubbish.

Eating too many Apricot Kernels, or too much beetroot, or too much Asparagus, or drinking too much water will cause negative effects in the body. Amygdalin does cause problems if the liver is weakened; and according to the US Nutrition Almanac you should never eat more than 6 in a 90 minute period, and the maximum in 24 hours is 35. Some people use 50 a day as part of their anti-cancer diet package.

So from this point on, when reading this article, at least put synthetic B-17 (laetrile) and Apricot Kernels (amygdalin) into a proper and separate perspective.

Natural B-17: A group of compounds

B-17, or amygdalin, is a naturally occurring compound. In fact it is slightly wrong to think of it as a single entity like, say, vitamin C. There is a group of approximately 14 compounds that are water-soluble and found naturally in over 1,200 species of plant in the world. Every area of the world supporting vegetation has such plants.

The active ingredients are often described as nitrilosides or beta-cyanogenetic glucosides and there are at least 800 foods common in worldwide diets that are nitrilosidic.

Nitrilosidic foods include:

  1. alfalfa sprouts, bamboo shoots, mung bean sprouts
  2. barley, buckwheat, maize, millet, sorghum
  • blackberries, currants, cassava, cranberries, gooseberries, chokeberries
  1. loganberries, quince, raspberries, strawberries, yams
  2. brown rice, fava beans, lentils and many pulses like kidney beans, lima beans and field beans
  3. flaxseed/linseed
  • pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews, walnuts, almonds
  • watercress, sweet potato
  1. The seeds/pips of lemons, limes, cherries, apples, apricots, prunes, plums and pears.

In fact, all the foods we don´t eat too much of these days!! So I was worried Pastor Otabil assessment on Fufu is misleading the public on the significance of the cassava plant. The consumption of barley, buckwheat and millet have given way to refined wheats, while pulses like lentils, which accounted for 30 per cent of our protein in 1900, now account for only 2 per cent. Primitive tribes around the world still base their diets around B-17-rich foods. Cassava, papaya, yam, sweet potato in the tropics; unrefined rice in the Far East; seeds and nuts in the Himalayas; the salmon-berry eaten by Eskimos, or the arrowgrass of the arctic tundra feeding the caribou.

 B-17: Its place in nature

This absence of cancer seemed to be due to the difference of nutrition. Nutritionist and scientists alike studied the various tribes. Sir Robert McCarrison in the 1920s and John Dark M.D. twenty years later failed to find a single case of cancer amongst the Hunzas, the tribes of West Pakistan. V Steffanson found the same with the Eskimos and wrote “Cancer: Disease of Civilization” as a result. Dr. M Navarro of Santo Thomas, University of Manilla, noticed the same with the Philippine population who ate cassava, wild rice, wild beans, berries and fruits of all kinds. Dr. Albert Schweitzer noted the same in Gabon. ´This absence of cancer seemed to be due to the difference of nutrition in the natives compared to the Europeans. Their diet was centered on sorghum, cassava, millet and maize´.

Studies of the consumption of B-17 varied from Dark´s finding that the Hunzas consumed at least 150-250mgs per day, to Dean Burke, head of the cytochemistry department of the National Cancer Institute in the USA in the seventies writing that the Modoc Indians in North America consumed over 8,000 mgs per day! (Dean Burke actually gave amygdalin the name B-17).

We leave these foods aside at our peril. The World Health Organisation has, after all, confirmed that in their view a large percentage of all cancers could be prevented by simple changes in diet.

B-17 as a cancer treatment?

Amygdalin was first isolated in 1830 and used as an anti-cancer agent in Russia as early as 1845. But it was reborn by the father/son team Ernst Krebs senior and junior by 1955 had who isolated a purified form of the active ingredient (calling it laetrile) and, with others in the late fifties to seventies, sought to explain its action.

B-17: Damagerocket?

Recently, I wrote on how cancers cells are like drivers using unapproved roads. Cancer cells differ in a number of ways from normal cells. One key difference is the way in which they produce their energy. In a healthy cell fuel is prepared in the cytoplasm of the cell, and then moved into the mitochondria or power stations to generate energy in the presence of oxygen. But cancer cells have lost their mitochondrial action and only the preparation process remains. This is modified and demands large quantities of glucose which burn in the cytoplasm in the absence of oxygen. Cancer cells have a whole different energy production system and different set of helper chemicals (enzymes).

In a cancer cell, one of these enzymes, glucosidase, is present at 3000 times the level found in normal, healthy cells. Glucosidase has a unique action with B-17, breaking it down into hydrogen cyanide (which kills it) and benzaldehyde, (an analgesic).

However, in normal cells where glucosidase is virtually non-existent, a completely different enzyme, rhodenase which is involved in the normal oxygen burning process, actually renders the B-17 harmless, converting it to thiocyanate, a substance which helps the body regulate blood pressure, and vitamin B-12. So, the proponents argue, B-17 is a seek and destroy missile.

“I have read B-17 is dangerous – it contains cyanide”

As we explained above – the B-17 molecule, if broken a certain way, can produce cyanide. But the main enzyme that can do this is really only found in a cancer cell. Also, honestly, it is rather a stupid dispute; rather like saying the glucose molecule contains carbon monoxide and that can kill you!

Skepti-twaddle about B-17 often refers to people dying of B-17 and cyanide but Contreras, who treats more people with B-17 than probably all other doctors in the world added together, knows of no cases. Then there is the fact that ´containing cyanide´ could be claimed for many food groups (for example, isothiocyanates, or anthocyanins). These food groups actually play important roles in your health, including in cancer prevention.

Next, doctors regularly inject vitamin B-12 to enhance energy levels; you can buy vitamin B-12 . This common form is cyano-cobalamine. A layman might tell you this ´contains´ cyanide in the same way, too. Vitamin B-12 is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the healthy body; a deficiency is known to be linked to increased cancer risk. The more natural form of vitamin B-12 is methyl-cobalmine. If a compound containing cyanide is so bad, what is the medical profession doing it injecting it into lethargic pop stars and athletes?? If it contains cyanide and that is dangerous, why don´t doctors use the methyl version?Nobody in their right mind would tell you not to consume B-12. So, steer clear of anyone who uses this palpably ignorant argument against B-17.

B-17: Why the argument?

The use of synthetic B-17 is controversial because of conspiracy theories. It is a Skeptic versus Skeptic argument. The Skeptics against B-17 scream ´quackery´; the sceptics for B-17 scream ´cover up´ says the CancerReactive Website.  Further, the site claims that The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA has not approved laetrile – the FDA state, correctly, that laetrile (not amygdalin or B-17) is a synthetic therapy and, as such, needs approval like any drug. There are no randomised, controlled phase III clinical trials on laetrile so it is definitely not going to be approved. Yet people around the world do prescribe and use it. QED, they must be quacks. That´s the official view. It was actually banned in 1963, although the FDA reported that it had harmed nobody and they also said it didn´t work!

But a core question is why has the same US Government Health Authority, the FDA, moved to ban the interstate shipments of apricot kernels and the planting of bitter almond trees? Trying to control a natural bioactive compound that logically might have some preventative benefits fuels the conspiracy theories! I noticed that my mother´s Asda “iced log” (a cake) contained 11 per cent apricot kernel paste! Presumably, this cannot be moved between California and Nevada!

One sceptic argument runs ´If eating apricot pips could cure cancer, drug companies and major cancer charities would go out of business immediately´. Actually, these businesses need not panic.

Let us look at the ´research´ issue …

B-17: The research:

Some studies exist – but not much. Ralph Moss and Phillip Day made us to understand that there have been three animal studies and two human studies.

Following the Krebs´ work in 1955 a Senate Committee (often accused of being biased presumably because of drug industry connections) seemed unimpressed by evidence presented that three quarters of 80 cancer test patients had seen their cancer tumours go or reduce in size.

There was a stab at a clinical trial in the USA and this officially reported no effect with B-17. Moss was the Press officer in the team and showed his disgust at the public hearing, implying that the team had actually found a positive response and the powers that be were misrepresenting the findings. He was fired.

However, talk to the experts that use B-17 and they will tell you that researching B-17 in a clinical trial is not the issue anyway. None doubts its efficacy, but several felt it was not as potent as other ingredients such as Intravenous, high dose vitamin C. ´B-17 only ´helps´ and is not a ´cure´ per se´, seems to be the general view. The issue, they argue, is to research the whole ´metabolic therapy´ package. The authorities have never done this. The people who use and advocate it simply cannot afford to conduct a full-scale clinical trial.

Why might it be more important to research the whole package? Cancers are clever and often form protective protein coats around a tumour to ward off the immune system. Various cancer clinics have thus developed their metabolic therapy packages to counter defenses like these (metabolic therapy packages can contain bromelain, from pineapple and papain, from papaya, because they supposedly break down the protein coat). Other unique factors occur with cancer cells, so the metabolic therapy package may contain vitamins A, E and B complex, plus high dose intravenous vitamin C, high dose minerals, and pancreatic enzymes, each targeting a specific issue.

The difficulty then becomes “which bit worked?”

Frankly, according to the cancel reactive website writers, this is quite significant but the answers are disappointing if you are a cancer patient. On different page they have reviewed the use of intravenous vitamin C megadoses and pancreatic enzyme treatment as used by Dr Gonzalez in his clinic in New York. They do seem to have, albeit limited, effects on their own, so they guess it is possible that using all of them could have a greater effect. But, be clear, there is NO FORMAL RESEARCH on the metabolic therapy package and in reality, it doesn´t even exist as different clinics use different concoctions. They say.

Finally, laetrile has shown effectiveness against cancer cells in vitro, and in rats and mice. Interestingly, even the National Cancer Institute in America (which is negative about laetrile´s abilities), reports that by the late seventies over 70,000 cancer patients had been treated with laetrile and that there are copious individual case histories on its effectiveness. (Notwithstanding this, modern medicine demands a phase III clinical trial and there is none).

Krebs recommended eating ten apricot seeds per day for life (the seeds or kernels of apricots have the highest levels of B-17; up to 3 per cent); cancer treatments use four to six 500mg tablets of laetrile per day or intravenous injections.

B-17: Does it kill?

While there may not actually have been deaths from synthetic B-17 use, there is definitely an issue with overdosing.  If you take excess B-17 beware; cyanide by-products have been known to build up in the liver of cancer patients. Each of us has different capacities to deal with such by-products but a cancer patient has an already impaired liver. A healthy liver has an enzyme, glucorinide that can detox the by-products, but in a cancer patient, this enzyme may be depleted. So, cyanide poisoning can result if excess is consumed. 1gm is the maximum recommended to be taken at any one time.

With the natural form of B-17, the US Nutrition Almanac recommends a maximum of 35 seeds per day; no more than five kernels at any one time in a 90 minute period. And they conclude that all cancer treatments using B-17 (synthetic, natural, or apricot kernels) should be properly supervised. Certainly, the cancereactive writers reported that they have seen several prostate cancer patients who looked decidedly yellow all because they were trying to consume 50 kernels for breakfast!

B-17: Subjectivity and objectivity

The writers on the Cancerreactive page who travel the world giving speeches on cancer have interviewed a number of the world´s experts who use B-17 and metabolic therapy, including ´The Mexicans´, although maybe they say they sometimes meet the wrong ones as these certainly were not dishonest!

They have this to say on a totally subjective note:

  1. a) Seen many people, especially men with prostate cancer, who claim Apricot Kernels are the single reason their PSA scores have reduced.
  2. b) Contreras himself claims that metabolic therapy can ´have a significant effect´ on some cancers – though not all. He is quite clear that there is no effect with Brain Tumours, Liver Cancer or Sarcomas.
  3. c) Seen overdosing with his own eyes. Both men in their 60´s, both prostate cancer sufferers and both trying to eat 50 Apricot Kernels for breakfast. Both had gone a sort of yellowish-grey. Be very, very careful.

To repeat:

* Never take more than 5 in a 90 minute period.

* Never take more than 35 per day.

* Please tell your doctor, and have someone monitor your liver health.

B-17: Does it work in cancer treatment?

According to this writer, having read the original research on synthetic B-17 laetrile treatments and spoken to doctors and patients first hand, “ I find the ´evidence´ both for and against laetrile almost non-existent. I am neither an advocate, nor a critic. I just don´t know, even though I have tried to find out more”.

The logic on B-17 seems reasonably sensible and certainly pharmaceutical companies are devoting significant resources to targeting exactly the same unique properties of a cancer cell. But, as I repeatedly say, I don´t think any single entity is a ´cure´ for cancer – and that goes for B-17 too. Could it play some or other role in the total package? Experts like Contreras are adamant it can. There are people of You Tube who swear it worked for them. I´m not at all as sure. Would I pin my hopes on it alone? No. But then many of the subjects were past the point of no return – orthodox medicine had failed them.

With Apricot Kernels, and amygdalin, for me there is a different issue. I believe everybody should include nitriloside foods in their daily diet. I put five – six kernels with my home-made breakfast each morning, but then I eat copious amounts of food off the B-17 list above anyway. Personally, I believe there is a good prevention argument, and eating half a dozen ´apricot pips´ a day is hardly a dangerous medical issue.

B-17 “Cancer cure or quackery?” The Bottom Line

There is a good argument for including apricot kernels in your anti-cancer programme as a preventative bioactive compound. However, no one has ever approached me and told me that eating 50 apricot kernels a day alone ´cured´ their cancer.  In fourteen years not one person has so much as come up to me on my worldwide travels with even an anecdote. They say.

Interestingly, they say, many, many people theyknow have used them (35-50) as part of their anti-cancer treatment package (most often diet-based) and the package worked. Also there are You Tubes of people who beat cancer this way.

And what of Laetrile – synthetic B-17  – as an out and out cancer ´cure´? “I don´t think so. Those that use it don´t rely on it on its own. And do I have reports of Laetrile ´curing´ cancer in the last ten years? Is there any new research? No, none. Even the You Tube videos are often confusing as to whether the laetrile was taken on its own or with other compounds that could also have helped. Again, with this in mind, go and watch the videos”.

Take Home:

  1. So the cassava we use for fufu in Ghana contains B17
  2. Cassava for fufu has low glycemic index
  3. It also good for colon health and therefore prevents colon cancers
  4. Pastor Otabil assertion is based on anecdote.
  5. Otabil concerns are how it is prepared; however, went overboard to paint a negative picture as if it there is no health impact!
  6. Prepare your fufu well with your cassava and enjoy it judiciously as B17 has lots of benefits.

Thank you!