It has been scientifically established that the seeds of apples, pears, apricots, cherries, plums and peaches contain a compound called amygdalin which releases cyanide into the blood stream when chewed and ingested.
Cyanide is a chemical substance known as one of the deadliest poisons. It has reportedly been used in chemical warfare and mass suicide. Early symptoms of cyanide poisoning include headache, dizziness, fast heart rate, shortness of breath and vomiting. This phase may then be followed by seizures, slow heart rate, low blood pressure, loss of consciousness and cardiac arrest.
Fortunately or unfortunately, nature preserves cyanide in the seeds of the aforementioned fruits, though in small doses. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which protects communities from harmful health effects related to exposure to natural and man-made hazardous substances, says that exposure to even small amounts of cyanide can be dangerous. The agency has warned that people should avoid eating the seeds and the pits of those aforementioned fruits.
Some of the ailments in the world whose sources are unknown might not be unconnected to the cyanide in those fruits, for the people who eat the poisonous seeds. There are people in the world today who still eat the poisonous seeds. Some use the entire fruit with its seeds to prepare delicacies. Small amounts of poisons are detoxified by enzymes in human body. This is the reason why those people who eat the poisonous seeds feel there’s no problem eating the seeds.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 to 2 mg/kg is a fatal oral dose of cyanide for a 70kg person. Luckily, this translates to about 200 apple seeds or about 40 apple cores. In order words, you would need to chew and eat about 200 apple seeds or about 40 apple cores, to die instantly from the poisonous effects of the seeds.
Summarily, the seeds of apples, pears and other fruits mentioned above contain amygdalin which releases cyanide into the blood stream when chewed and ingested. The seeds in small amount do not contain enough cyanide to cause harm. Whether in small or large quantity, a poison would always be a poison. So, whenever you eat the aforementioned fruits, DO NOT eat their seeds! The seeds are poisonous!
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