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An adage says that an apple a day keep the doctor away. But munching down more than few apple seeds can become poisonous for your health. Apples are one of the most widely available fruits, which are cultivated all around the world and has an authentic sweet taste.
Enriched with nutrients, apples contain antioxidants that protect our body from deadly viruses and damages, including cancer-inducing oxidatives, which can cause various health hazards. The impressive health benefit of apple has thus proved its worth since ages.
But as sweet as it may taste, apples contain the bitter black seed in its core as well. Many of us might have at some point of time accidentally chewed on one or two seeds while enjoying the apple flesh. These tiny apple seeds have a different story to tell. The seeds contain a substance known as Amygdalin, which can release cyanide as soon as it comes in contact with our human digestive enzymes.
So, many of you who have consumed some apple seeds might be wondering that how did the cyanide not work in your digestive system and how are you still alive! Well, consuming a few apple seeds will not harm your body except for the bitter taste that you had to face, but accidental ingestion of a large number of apple seeds can indeed be very deadly.
How Cyanide Works?
One of the most deadly poisons in the history of mass suicide and chemical warfare is the cyanide. It is often found in nature, especially in fruit seeds as a compound known as cyanoglycosides. In the history of human war, the name of cyanide has come up through the pages of history. It functions by interfering with the oxygen-supplying cells and can lead to death when consumed in excessive amount.
Amygdalin, found in the tiny apple seeds, is one of this cyanide. This component is mostly found in the fruits belonging to the rose family that comprises of apricots, almonds, apples, peach, and cherries. Within the tiny back seed, amygdalin forms a part of its chemical defense. So, you might be wondering that consuming such a fruit which contains cyanide can be poisonous. But amygdalin when in intact shape, i.e., till the seed is not damaged, is harmless. But once it is accidentally digested, chewed, or damaged, then amygdalin degenerates to form hydrogen cyanide. So, in that case, the tiny black seed can become lethal in high doses and is extremely poisonous.
However, apple seeds or other fruit seeds contain a thick outer layer, which is resistant to the digestive juices. But if accidentally these seeds are consumed or chewed, then it can produce a minimal amount of cyanide in the body, which can be detoxified by the enzymes present in the body but if a large amount of it is consumed, it can have fatal consequences.
How Much Is Cyanide Lethal?
The Centers For Disease Control And Prevent stated that 1-2 mg/kg is regarded as a fatal dosage of cyanide for 154 lbs, i.e., for a person weighing 70 kg. This means that a person needs to consume about 200 finely ground apple seeds from 20 apples to attain this dosage.
However, the Agency For Toxic Substances And Disease Registry suggest that even a negligible amount of cyanide can become fatal for the human body. When the body gets exposed to cyanide, it can potentially damage the brain and heart, and put the body in the state of coma and later on death.
This agency suggests that people should avoid accidental chewing of apple seeds or pits of apricots, peaches, and cherries. Once consumed, cyanide immediately starts reacting within the human body. It shows symptoms such as seizures and shortness of breath and leads to unconsciousness.
Is The Apple Seed Oil Safe?
Many of you must be wondering that when the amygdalin present in the apple seeds can be deadly for the human body is it safe to consume the apple seed oil? Well, the apple seed oil is the byproduct which is processed from the apple juice.
This is mainly used for its fragrance, and it's for calming skin inflammation and hair conditioning. Research suggests that apple seed oil contains a high amount of antioxidant and is an anti-cancer agent as well. It can react actively against the yeast, bacteria and virus. Besides, the amount of amygdalin present in apple seed oil is negligible.
So, the amount of cyanide present in apple seed is minimal and doesn't do potential harm until consumed in excessive amount. However, to avoid any health hazard, it is best to remove the apple seeds before munching the apple flesh.