The posts created within this blog are my opinions or those of other proponents of apricot kernels and their use therapeutically. Though I endeavor to write nothing that isn't factual, I am not a scientist nor am I doctor. My writings are based on many years of experience, observation and research, and the conclusions drawn are my own. I want to stress the importance of having the advice and guidance of a practiced and experienced healthcare professional. You should only take my writings into consideration in the course of arriving at your own conclusions following extensive research. Research is essential in a proactive approach to well-being. You should feel well-informed and empowered before making any decisions about your health.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Apricot Kernels - Which Should Be Used?

This is an important question and one that should be considered carefully and seriously. If you choose the wrong apricot kernel, you're simply not going to benefit from them as you will an appropriate kernel, if at all. Consider this - you have a monster of a headache. An adult Tylenol or some other, suitable analgesic will quell your headache effectively. You have two choices at hand - one is a children's formula, the other is adult strength. The children's formula will have little to no impact. Which one will you choose to ease your suffering?

In the common literature available on the subject, apricot kernels are referred to in a very general way, as though all kernels are equal. You might be familiar with the distinctions of bitter apricot kernels versus sweet apricot kernels, but most people assume that one "bitter" kernel is as suitable as the next. The assumption has been made that they are all essentially the same regardless of their origins, their variety, their exposure to oxygen, their growing regions, growing climates, processing methods, etc.. All of these factors impact heavily on amygdalin content. When we read about the therapeutic qualities of apricot kernels, we're reading about an amygdalin-rich specimen. Anything less is not going to do the trick. I believe the source of apricot kernels can often explain one person's failure and another's success.

Though one apricot kernel may be considered bitter in nature, it may well have very little amygdalin. This is true of many apricot kernels being sold today. Generally speaking, apricot kernels that possess no bitterness are considered to be 'sweet' apricot kernels. They do still contain amygdalin, but in such small concentrations that the bitterness is overpowered by the sweeter flavors inherent to the variety. However, of the bitter varieties available, amygdalin concentrations vary greatly. The term, "bitter", is very much relative and subjective. Levels of amygdalin in bitter apricot kernels range from just above that of sweet almonds (approximately 1,400mg/kg) all the way up to levels close to bitter almonds, at roughly 68,000mg of amygdalin per kilo, or close to 7,000mg per 100 grams. Many of the vendors selling apricot kernels online are essentially selling 'sweet' apricot kernels. They may have a bitterness, but it is negligible. In order for them to have a therapeutic impact, one would have to consume very large quantities, which becomes detrimental for other reasons, such as fat content.

The bitter, the better - this is an apricot kernel saying some of you might be familiar with. The bitterness of an apricot kernel is generally indicative of amygdalin content. When buying apricot kernels, I recommend you purchase from, at least, two different sources initially. Ask the retailer if you can return the product if unhappy. Choose the one most bitter. If apricots are grown in your country, you're far better off finding a home-grown, suitably bitter variety. Apricot kernels imported in bulk will not be fresh, nor will they be unaffected by methods of processing. Import regulations for virtually all countries require seeds to be nonviable to prevent propagation and the spread of foreign diseases. The seed embryos can be destroyed in a manner of ways, from chemical to radiation. Once dead, the kernel is in a state of decomposition. You don't want these kernels, regardless of the marketing spin. You can, however, import them yourself in personal quantities from a country selling locally grown, fresh kernels. This may come at a higher price, but you'll be better off.


Sellers of imported kernels, such as those from India, Pakistan, China, and Turkey, are purchasing these at very low prices - as low as $1.00 per kilo, capitalizing on cheap labor and then selling them at massive profit margins. You should be aware of the differences. You do not want these kernels if you can access fresh, amygdalin-rich kernels from reputable vendors either locally, or from a country with standards. After apricot stones have been cracked, the shell must be separated from the kernels. The most common, cost-effective and efficient means to accomplish this is through floatation in a strong brine solution. Because amygdalin is water soluble, this very effectively reduces amygdalin levels. The longer the kernels are floated, the greater the reduction in amygdalin. The presence of salt in the floatation solution seems to greatly enhance the leaching of amygdalin. Many of these sellers are attempting to capitalize on the Hunza literature by referring to their kernels as "Hunza" or "Hunza region" kernels. These apricots are often irrigated with polluted water and processed with little to no standards. Apricots don't know where they're grown. They flourish where conditions are ideal. Freshness and cultivar dictate a kernel's amygdalin content.

Don't be lured by the promise of organic status. Organic status has no bearing on natural amygdalin levels. If the most bitter kernel available to you happens to be organic, terrific. However, some sellers of "organic" kernels suggest that their non-organic counterparts contain unusual concentrations of pesticide residue. This is baseless marketing spin. Don't concern yourself with the organic status of apricot kernels. Save this requirement for your food. With apricot kernels, we simply want the freshest product with the most amygdalin - if that product happens to be organic, terrific. Notice the price difference between "Organic" and non-Organic kernels. Same process - different price. Someone's making some money!

The best apricot kernels available are going to be those grown in the country of the retailer, provided that a truly bitter variety is available. They should be processed frequently, as opposed to annually, and they should be sorted by hand to ensure the absence of contaminants, infested seed and mold. Very importantly - they should not have been floated. Most imported apricot seed will have been separated from the shell fragments through floatation. This is a question your retailer will have to ask their supplier. If this is the case, you already know there is a diminished amygdalin content. Additionally, when seed gets wet after it has already dried, the rewetting serves to deactivate the seed's inherent enzyme-inhibitors. Once this happens and the seed doesn't continue the germination process, the embryo dies. Once dead, the seed enters a state of decomposition.

Choose your apricot kernels carefully. Once you've found one, establish your suitable dosage gradually and safely.