Amygdalin-Therapeutic Effects and Toxicity

Author(s): Iyanu Oduwole, Abdelnaser A

Amygdalin is a cyanide glycoside existing naturally in many fruits, predominantly in bitter almond, peaches and chemically as laetrile. It has attracted many cross talks amongst researchers especially on its anti-cancer potential and its associated cyanide toxicity. Quite number of reports have demonstrated its chemotherapeutic effect on various types of cancer cells in vitro with very few in vivo. However, its long standing several clinical failures and cyanide toxicity on variable dosage made it generally unacceptable. However, amygdalin given at the right dosage orally may not lead to toxicity, but this has not been quantified yet, and it is often influenced by the activity of microbial gut content. Its pharmacological activities have been studied extensively, but its anti-tumor activity is still inconclusive. New clinical studies with emerging scientific approaches may seek to give the satisfactory answers about its anti-tumor effects. This review discusses the metabolism, various pharmacological activities, toxicity and current understanding on the anti-tumor effect of amygdalin.

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