Are Apple Seeds Poisonous To Humans? Read Dt. Shikha Mahajan's Take On This

How Poisonous Are Apple Seeds To Humans?

Tavishi Dogra
Written by: Tavishi DograUpdated at: Aug 05, 2020 18:46 IST
Are Apple Seeds Poisonous To Humans? Read Dt. Shikha Mahajan's Take On This

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Does apple seeds contain cyanide? We all know that eating the apple is beneficial! There is also a saying that "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." But do you know that this apple can also be harmful? Some researchers have discovered that excessive consumption of apple seeds can lead to the death of humans. Let us study through this article that what happens in apple seeds due to which humanity can be harmed. What element does apple seed contain? Apples have small, dark seeds that are usually bitter, but people sometimes eat them by accident or don't bother to spit them out. But do you know that an element called Amygdalin is found inside apple seeds? When this element comes in contact with human digestive enzymes, it starts releasing cyanide. Let us tell you that there are sugar and cyanide inside the amygdalin and when it enters our body, it turns into hydrogen cyanide. With this cyanide, not only can you get sick, but you can also die. Shocking! However, there is no significant risk of accidentally eating apple seeds. Let us know further through this article.

“Every species on earth has evolved in a manner that will help protect it and advance their population. In plants, seeds are the most important part for their survival as a species as this is what helps grow new plants of the species. Most seeds are, for this reason, not well digested. Apple seeds contain an extremely potent defence mechanism of releasing cyanide if someone is eating it, thus forcing the consumer of the fruit to discard the seeds that can then become plants again”, explains Shikha Mahajan, founder of Diet Podium.

What amount of cyanide can be harmful in apple seeds?

  • According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, oral doses of 1-2 mg/kg cyanide can be fatal. The average apple seed contains about 0.49 mg of cyanogenic compounds. Within 1 gram of apple seeds, there is 0.06mg to 0.24mg cyanide. Most of an apple has about 5 to 8 seeds. However, the number of seeds per apple varies. Eating about 140 to 200 apple seeds is fatal or fatal. Keep in mind, if apple seeds are ingested in this way, it is not as deadly but if the powder is mixed with some solids or the power of the seeds is consumed in the body very quickly and Can be fatal.
  • The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ATSDR, states that even small amounts of cyanide may prove dangerous. Cyanide can damage the heart and brain, and in some rare cases, a person can go into a coma and even die. According to ATSDR, people should avoid eating apple seeds and some fruits which include: peaches, plums, apricots, i.e. apricots and cherries, etc. These seeds have a solid coating on top of which the amygdalin remains closed inside it.

Shikha Mahajan adds that, “one must bear in mind though that there is a grey area, while you may not consume 150-200 seeds in one go and thus it will not be fatal, a few seeds consumed can still cause you to feel unwell, cause nausea or dizziness etc.”.


Let us now study how cyanide works?

Cyanide is considered the world's deadliest poison. It has been used in mass suicide and chemical warfare. Many compounds that contain cyanide are called cyanoglycosides which are often found in fruit seeds, and amygdalin is one of them. The seeds of apple seeds and other fruits have a healthy layer on the outer side which is resistant to digestion. But if you chew the seeds, the amygdalin will run into the body and cyanide will be produced. Enzymes can detoxify small amounts in the human body. However, large amounts can be dangerous. Do you know that amygdalin or laetrile was used to treat cancer? But it was banned in the United States after reports of cyanide poisoning.

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Symptoms of cyanide

  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased heartbeat and decreased blood pressure.
  • Dizziness. Cyanide makes humans weak. Due to this effect, the human brain does not work correctly and gets dizzy.
  • Headache and confusion.
  • Nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.

Is apple seed oil good for health?


  • Naturally, you will be surprised that the oil, made from apple seeds, is used for many medicinal and cosmetic uses. Let us tell you that it is safe to use because the amount of amygdalin in it is very less. One research found that apple seed oil is as good as any other edible oil and is a good source of natural antioxidants. Anticancer properties have also been found in it. It can also be used in the food industry and pharmacy.
  • “However, it is often seen that if the seed is not chewed well, the body does not break it down and it passes in the faeces as is, so the danger is lesser when the seed is gulped by mistake,” Mahajan adds. It would not be wrong to say that apple seeds are poisonous, but only when you chew them well and in large numbers. Safely, the apple should be eaten by removing the seeds, because the apple seed contains amygdalin, which goes into the body to make cyanide and can prove to be fatal.

(The article has been medically reviewed by Dt. Shikha Mahajan, holistic nutritionist and founder of Diet Podium)

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