The Bottom Line

Although the seeds of stone fruits normally contain cyanide, tiny unintentional ingestions normally do not cause harm. However, swallowing, crushing, or chewing the seeds have to be avoided. Swallowing stone fruit pits, kernels, or seed as security or alternate medicine is unsupported by scientific evidence and is dangerous and possibly deadly.

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The complete Story

You"re sipping on her delicious post-workout smoothie as soon as you swallow other hard. You realize you unintentionally threw in some whole cherries there is no removing the pits and now you"ve swallowed some. You find the internet and also are shocked to learn that you could have just swallowed one of the deadliest rebab.nets known to man – cyanide. Five no!

Rest assured the a tiny unintentional ingestion of cherry pits will not cause harm. But is that true the there is cyanide in cherry pits? What about the pits of various other kinds of rock fruits? deserve to someone really come to be rebab.neted by eating them?

A stone fruit, additionally known together a drupe, usually refers come thefruit indigenous the Prunusfamily the plants. Apricots, cherries, plums, peaches, mangoes, and also nectarines are instances of rock fruits. In the facility of the fleshy edible part of the fruit is a tough stone-like shell, i m sorry is the reason for their usual name, "stone fruits". This difficult shell is additionally often referred to as apit.. World might think the this "stone" is the fruit"s seed, but this is incorrect. The seeds is encapsulated within the shell and also is sometimes dubbed the kernel.

The rock protects the seed until it is in a favorable environment for it come sprout and also reproduce. . This is the plant"s natural survival mechanism. Animals attracted to the fleshy, sweet, edible component of the fruit eat it and also leave the hard indigestible pit behind. Or if the fruit is swallowed whole, the pit and also the seed within pass with the cradle tract and come out in the stool, intact and also unharmed, returning back to the soil whereby it can sprout and grow.

The attention chemical found in the seeds of rock fruits is called amygdalin. Rebab.neting can happen when the pit and seed space crushed or chewed before swallowing, release the amygdalin. Amygdalin is climate converted by the body to cyanide. Countless other types of plants uncovered in the US, both edible and also nonedible, also naturally contain cyanide compounds. These incorporate cassava, lima beans, apple,Hydrangea, and also bitter almonds.

The lot of amygdalin in the seed of rock fruits different widely, both in between different types of stone fruits (e.g., cherries vs. Plums) and also even in ~ the same form of fruit (e.g., cherries native one tree vs. Cherries from another tree or geographic location). This makes it challenging to determine the variety of seeds it takes for rebab.neting to occur. In general, unintentional ingestions perform not bring about rebab.neting since it is unlikely that someone would chew or to like the seeds before swallowing them, and also because unintended ingestions often tend to be of little amounts.

Cyanide"s reputation for being deadly is well-deserved and also has to do with the means it rebab.nets the body. Cyanide rebab.nets the most simple and basic units the life – the cell – by depriving them of the oxygen necessary for life. While symptoms have the right to vary depending upon the lot of cyanide the body is exposed to, large exposures can quickly lead to loss that consciousness, acid buildup in human body fluids, seizures, sudden loss that blood circulation to vital organs, and death.

A drug dubbed Laetrile, a chemistry that originates from amygdalin found in rock fruit seeds, acquired popularity in the 1970s as a therapy for cancer in spite of no evidence to support this claim. The was even marketed together a new vitamin "vitamin B17". Subsequently, health-food stores began to market apricot kernels for their organic amygdalin content and its declared anticancer benefits. As a result, numerous cyanide rebab.netings indigenous ingestion of large amounts that apricot kernels have developed in the US. Clinical studies have presented that Laetrile has actually no anticancer task in humans, and also it has because lost lot of that popularity. However, there are still part apricot kernel assets being sold, especially on the internet, with the exact same claims about the benefits of "vitamin B17".

Although unintentional gulp down of a few stone fruit pits is typically not a concern, avoidance is key; sloop down should always be avoided and also the pits shouldneverbe crushed or chewed. Children should be teach to spit the end the seeds/pits as soon as snacking on rock fruits.

If you have any type of questions about rock fruits or if someone has actually ingested the pits, kernels, or seeds, examine thewebrebab.netCONTROL®online tool or call regulate at 1-800-222-1222 because that guidance.

Serkalem Mekonnen, RN, BSN, MPHCertified professional in Information


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Prevention Tips

protect against swallowing stone fruit pits, kernels, or seeds. Teach kids to spit lock out. Carry out not chew or crush fruit pits, kernels, or seeds before consumption. Remove the pits of stone fruits before placing lock in a blender. Perform not consume stone fruit pits, kernels, or seeds for their claimed health benefits.

This really Happened

A 41-year-old mrs purchased apricot kernels native a wellness food store. She then chewed and swallowed up to 30 the them. In ~ minutes, she ended up being gravely ill. She feeling weak, quick of breath, numb, and also had difficulty swallowing. A friend dubbed 911.

When the ambulance arrived, EMTs found her ~ above the restroom floor moaning, sweaty, and also barely responsive. Her skin to be pale and her blood pressure was low. They cure her through oxygen and an intravenous medicine to increase her blood pressure and also transported her to a hospital. In the ER, she was uncovered to be in an acidic state (the pH of she blood was an extremely low). This is a standard sign that cyanide rebab.neting.

After hearing that the woman had chewed and swallowed a large quantity that apricot kernels, the ER physician known cyanide rebab.neting ideal away and also immediately began treating her with the antidote for cyanide. She boosted after 24 hrs of treatment in the intensive treatment unit and was able to go home without any type of complications a job later.

(from Suchard et al. 1998)

For much more Information

rebab.netous and non-rebab.netous plants: an illustrated list. Washington DC: National resources facility .

Public health statement: cyanide. Atlanta: agency for toxicity Substances and an illness Registry; Jul 2006 .


Akil M, Kaya A, Ustyol L, Aktar F, Akbayram S. Acute cyanide intoxication because of apricot particle ingestion. J Emerg Med 2013;44:e285-6.

Committee on Toxicity of chemistry in Food, consumer Products and the Environment. Statement on cyanogenic glycosides in bitterness apricot kernels. Dec 2006. .

Crisosto CH, work KR rock fruit. In: Rees D, Farrell G, Orchard J, editors. Chop post-harvest: science and also technology: perishables. Chichester, Sussex UK: Blackwell; 2012. P. 212-25.

Drupe. Brand-new World Encyclopedia. 21 Nov 2008 .

FDA cracks down on laetrile resurgence. Brand-new York: alphabet News. 7 Sep 2018 .

Geller R, Barthold C, Saiers J, hall A. Pediatric cyanide rebab.neting: causes, manifestations, management, and also unmet needs. Pediatrics 2006;118:2146-58.

Herbert V. Laetrile: the cult of cyanide. Cultivating for profit. To be J Clin Nutr 1979;32:1121-58.

PDQ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board. Laetrile/amygdalin (PDQ). Bethesda MD: national Cancer Institute; 15 Nov 2017 .

Sauer H, Wollny C, Oster I, Tutdibi E, Gortner L, Gottschling S, et al. Major cyanide rebab.neting indigenous an alternative medicine treatment v amygdalin and also apricot kernels in a 4-year-old child. Wien Med Wochenschr 2015;165:185-8.

Soloneski S, Larramendy M. Toxicology - brand-new aspects come this clinical conundrum . Rijeka, Croatia: InTech. P. 179-91.

Suchard J, Wallace K, Gerkin R. Acute cyanide toxicity caused by apricot kernel ingestion. Ann Emerg Med 1998;32:742-4.


contact 1-800-222-1222 or

assist ME digital

Prevention Tips

avoid swallowing stone fruit pits, kernels, or seeds. Teach kids to spit lock out. Execute not chew or to like fruit pits, kernels, or seeds prior to consumption. Remove the pits of stone fruits before placing them in a blender. Execute not consume rock fruit pits, kernels, or seed for their asserted health benefits.

This really Happened

A 41-year-old woman purchased apricot kernels indigenous a health food store. She then chewed and swallowed as much as 30 that them. In ~ minutes, she became gravely ill. She felt weak, brief of breath, numb, and also had difficulty swallowing. A friend referred to as 911.

When the ambulance arrived, EMTs found her top top the restroom floor moaning, sweaty, and barely responsive. She skin was pale and her blood press was low. They cure her through oxygen and also an intravenous medication to rise her blood pressure and transported her to a hospital. In the ER, she was uncovered to it is in in one acidic state (the pH of she blood was an extremely low). This is a classic sign that cyanide rebab.neting.

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After hearing the the woman had actually chewed and also swallowed a huge quantity that apricot kernels, the ER physician recognized cyanide rebab.neting best away and immediately began treating her through the antidote because that cyanide. She boosted after 24 hrs of therapy in the intensive treatment unit and also was able to go house without any complications a work later.