Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to Laetrile™, apricot, its constituents or the Rosaceae family.
Symptoms of allergy may include urticaria ("hives") or rash.
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.
Adults (18 years and older)
There is currently a lack of available scientific evidence to recommend any medicinal dosing for apricot in adults. Apricot kernels (approximately 7-10) taken by mouth may be a lethal dose.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is currently a lack of available scientific evidence to recommend any medicinal dosing for apricot in children.
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.
Apricot contains beta-carotene, iron, niacin, potassium, thiamine and vitamin C. Taking apricot with these supplements may have additive effects. Caution is advised.
Laetrile™ and apricot kernels both contain amygdalin, and concomitant use may result in cyanide poisoning. Caution is advised.