Apricot (generic name)
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SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to Laetrile™, apricot, its constituents or the Rosaceae family.
Side Effects and Warnings
Apricot fruit is likely safe when ingested in food amounts. Apricot kernel oil has Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status in the United States. Apricot fruits are possibly unsafe when taken by mouth by diabetics, as apricot contains sugars and may affect blood sugar levels. Apricot kernels may also lower blood pressure. Urticaria ("hives") and rash have also been reported.
Apricot pits are not well tolerated and are toxic at low to moderate dosing levels. Multiple cases of cyanide poisonings, some of which were fatal, have been associated with the use of Laetrile™ and apricot pits. Cyanide poisoning symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, rapid or irregular breathing, and skin discoloration. Coma, shock, metabolic acidosis (acidic pH in the blood), dizziness, severe headache, dilated pupils, blindness, drowsiness, decreases in white blood counts, hypothermia (lowering of the core body temperature), mental retardation, paralysis, goiter, thyroid cancer, cretinism (stunted physical and mental growth in infants and children due to a lack of thyroid hormone) have also been reported. Furthermore, generalized convulsions/seizures, ataxia (loss of coordination), muscle weakness, muscle spasms or muscle tension have been noted in the scientific literature.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Apricot kernels should be avoided in pregnant and breastfeeding women due to the possibility of being unsafe and the increased risk of cyanide poisoning. Laetrile™ is not recommended.
Interactions with Drugs
Apricot kernels may cause decreases in blood pressure, and therefore may interact with blood pressure lowering medications. A qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, should be consulted.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Apricot kernels may cause decreases in blood pressure, and therefore may interact with blood pressure lowering herbs and supplements. A qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, should be consulted.
Laetrile™ and apricot kernels both contain amygdalin, and concomitant use may result in cyanide poisoning. Caution is advised.
This information is based on a professional level monograph edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Deena Beneda-Khosh, ND (University of Kansas Medical Center); Rebecca Bramwell, PharmD (Northeastern University); Huong Thien Dang, PharmD (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Erica Rusie, PharmD (Nova Southeastern University); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); William Tobin (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Jen Woods, BS (Northeastern University).