This post was written by IU undergraduate student Yiling Dong. It is the third in a series of featured stories written for a ScIU in the Classroom collaboration with Dr. Cathrine Reck in the Department of Chemistry.
“Good source of B17” sounds legit, right? A quick internet search will lead you to thousands of results touting the anti-cancer benefits of vitamin B17 that are found in the pits of apricots, the seeds of apples, and in bitter almonds. B17 is being sold to consumers as a health food supplement, but dig a little deeper (perhaps try the second page of Google) and you’ll find a completely different story. B17 is not actually a vitamin and is instead a compound called “amygdalin.“ And the thing about amygdalin? It can be broken down into cyanide in the body after consumption .