We hear so much about the apple seeds is that they are poisonous and consuming them can cause instant death, but is that really the truth?
HCN, a familiar formula in chemistry books, it is toxic and made from the combination of Hydrogen, Carbon and Nitrogen.
HCN is usually in liquid or gas form and is highly spreadable and dangerous. It has a bitter almond scent and is mainly used in the manufacture of plastics and nylon. So if we are exposed to the smoke of burning plastic and nylon during the period of exposure, it can cause poisoning.
It is composed of hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon. The carbon is attached to nitrogen on one side by a single bond and to a nitrogen bond. On the other side, a pair of electrons are attached to the nitrogen to octet it.
Its toxicity is due to the presence of a compound of CN (carbon and nitrogen) which is called cyanide and is also presented in other compounds such as potassium cyanide (KCN) and sodium cyanide (NaCN) and makes them toxic.
This toxin is one of the fastest known active ones. The seeds of an apple have between 50 and 300 milligrams of cyanide. 1 milligram per kilogram of that person’s weight is enough to poison him, so we do not recommend eating apple seeds, or if you eat them, do not boil or chew them because they can release cyanide in stomach.
It was also used in Nazi concentration camps for massacres.
Cyanide functionality in body
When cyanide is absorbed by the body, it joins hemoglobin (a molecule in red blood cells that plays the role of carrying oxygen). Hemoglobin carries cyanide to different parts of the body and can ease the conditions for cyanide to combine with a number of specific enzymes that are vital for cells to use oxygen.
When cyanide joins them, they lost their ability of attaching to oxygen, which causes oxygen loss to our vital cells, causing poisoning and later death.
Signs of intoxication can be quickly detected, they include; nausea, vomiting, headache, abnormal heartbeat and irregular breathing. Even low doses of this substance can cause loss of consciousness and respiratory failure and eventually death. Cyanide also exists in apricot and peach seed.
This substance reacts with stomach acid and that is the moment it releases hydrogen cyanide gas. Of course, eating small amounts of the seeds of these fruits will not poison you, although we do not recommend eating them.
If you are poisoned with this substance, its antidote is sodium nitrite, which is also poisonous itself, but it neutralizes the toxic effect of cyanide. Sodium nitrite should be used as an antidote with another substance. Although cyanide in high doses, effects the blood very fast and the poisoned person may not have enough time to have the access to antidote.
Hydrogen cyanide in smoke
Cigarettes contain more than 60 carcinogens, including tobacco smoke, acetone, carbon monoxide, ammonia, benzene, and other toxins, one of which is hydrogen cyanide, which we explained a bit about because it is also found in apple seeds.
The presence of this substance in cigarette smoke not only harms the smoker, it is also harmful to those around him due to its high spread. Although exposure to secondhand smoke will not poison you, it can do a lot of harm.
In addition to cigarettes, humans are exposed to hydrogen cyanide through fire or car exhaust fumes.
The reported number of deaths from apple seed consumption is very low. As mentioned, amygdalin (a substance that combines with stomach acid to release hydrogen cyanide gas) can be released if the apple seed is chewed or crushed, but the unchewed seed will excrete and is totally harmless for body.
Another reason is that the human body normally produces a small amount of HCN (hydrogen cyanide), so if a small amount is chewed, nothing will happen. According to the articles from https://www.britannica.com , an ordinary adult needs to chew 150 to several thousand apple seeds to be poisoned (depending on the type of apple).
A typical apple has between 5 and 8 seeds, and to be poisoned, that person needs to eat at least 18 apples.
Long story short, apples are beneficial for your health, but it is better not to eat their seeds.
Unlike apple seed, date seed has many benefits and its brew can be a good replacement for coffee and has almost the same smell and taste as coffee, but cost a lower price. Drinking the brewed date seed will not have the same side effects as coffee. We have talked about the benefits of date seeds in other articles on our website. You can access them by clicking on the blue text below.