Apple Seeds and Cherry Pits Can Be Poisonous

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In fact, if you eat enough apple seeds or cherry pits, you could die. Apple seeds contain cyanogenic acids. Cherry pits, and seeds from related fruits, including peaches, plums, almonds, pears, and apricots, contain cyanogenic glycosides. Your body can detoxify small quantities of cyanide compounds. If you accidentally eat a cherry pit in a pie or swallow an apple seed or two, you'll be fine. Actually, if you swallow several seeds whole, you would absorb a minimal amount of the toxic compounds.

Chewing the seeds makes them much more hazardous to your health. Children and pets are much more likely to suffer poisoning from eating the seeds than adults.

Symptoms of mild poisoning include headache, dizziness, confusion, anxiety, and vomiting. Larger doses can lead to difficulty breathing, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and kidney failure. Reactions can include coma, convulsions, and death from respiratory arrest. There are several treatment options, but the main thing is to limit the absorption of the chemicals from the seeds. Basically, this means it's important to seek immediate medical attention if a child or pet is known to have eaten several seeds. Usually, the plan of action is to pump the stomach or induce vomiting. Antidotes are available, but they are somewhat controversial. If you or someone you know eats a seed or two, don't worry... as I said, your body is well-equipped to detoxify small quantities of cyanide compounds. They naturally occur in several foods.

However, if you were wondering whether or not it's true that the seeds and pits are toxic and potentially lethal... yes, apple seeds and cherry pits are poisonous.

Have you eaten apple seeds, cherry pits or peach seeds? Feel free to share your experience.

What Is the Most Poisonous Chemical? | Food & Cooking Chemistry

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September 13, 2007 at 7:18 am

(1) NeithaN says:

Impressive! I didn’t know that, but I always remember this quote: “Dose makes poison” 

January 20, 2008 at 4:10 pm

(2) Verona says:

Are you serious? As long as I remember I ate the cherry and swallowed the pit. I grew up in the country. I was never told by my parents both of whom are medical professionals that it could poison me; and I’m very sure they knew about this habit. I still eat the pit and almost never spit it out. Hm something to remember next time I have cherries.

January 28, 2011 at 10:39 am

(3) mb says:

From all the reaserch I’ve done this A.M. it look to me as if consuming small amount of such seeds can actually be used as a cancer preventative / cure. Of course our good ole government doesnt want anyone to know about this so they keep the information hidden. I will have to talk to the owner of the local health supplement store to research this further the next time I am over there.

February 22, 2011 at 6:51 am

(4) tara says:

I will be looking into this too. If she is right and apple seeds will kill small things like cats and even little kids I’ll bet it will kill other things too. Oddly her list of symptoms seem eerily similar to those presented by chemotherapy patients.

February 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm

(5) BN says:

I’m sure your local health food store owner is quite the expert on the treatment and prevention of cancer. Best of luck with that.

August 22, 2011 at 9:20 am

(6) Arron Kidston says:

dear mb
I try to be as aware as possible to the corruption of this world and was made aware of this conspiracy. After further research i found it quite difficult to find the truth about this subject, all information seems to refute the claims, though reading your comment affirmed my suspicions correct! I try to see life with as much reason as possible and cancer seems the kindest form of population control ever conceived. In saying that, In your opinion what dosage or how much seeds should be consumed. obviously cyanide in high dosages is poisonous but what would be a safe amount to consume to help prevent cancers?

October 21, 2011 at 8:44 am

(7) S says:

I just had a bit of an epiphany. Remember that old saying?

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”


June 4, 2011 at 10:34 pm

(8) Christ says:

This article is a lie, there is cyanide in the seeds of apples but they are only poisonous to cancer cells in the body, unless you eat well over a 100, you will be fine

September 28, 2011 at 10:15 am

(9) Jess says:

Not trying to sound rude, but cyanide is poisonous to more than cancer cells. Ever heard of the cyanide capsules Nazi officers carried on them? If they were caught by the Allies, they bit down on the capsule to kill themselves before they could be interrogated. Cyanide is VERY lethal and causes a nasty death (as most poisons do), but the amount in apple seeds and apricot pits etc, is very small, almost trace amounts. You are right that you’d be fine to eat a lot of them because, yes, as previously stated, the amount of cyanide is extremely small. Just don’t fool yourself and think it’s not poison lol.

September 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm

(10) mr shh says:

i would love to know the absolute truth of it. i train hard. in my younger days iv had quater of a ton plus on my back. but im in my 30s now and il take any healthy gain. but dont be to shocked at the system fibbing to you. never tel the livestock what a fence is for. better they heard together and ocupie each others minds.. its in there interest if we squable amongst ourselves and never look up. but you all know that yeah.

June 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm

(11) Eric says:

what do you do for a living? If you’re not as accomplished as your mom and dad seem to have been then maybe you were effected by eating cherry pits your entire life, Verona. No offense…..

September 11, 2011 at 1:49 am

(12) Dan says:

Eric, you are a classic example of scum, saying a comment obviously intended to hurt someone and then saying no-offense… i only heard stuff like that in america.

March 16, 2008 at 12:51 am

(13) bonita says:

so how do you explain all the folks that have eaten apple and apricot seeds to cure their cancer? it’s my understanding the cyanide is bound and requires a particular enzyme to release it. cancer contains this enzyme so when it attaches to cancer the cyanide is released killing the cancer cells. plenty of people eat these seeds and don’t seem to be dropping dead, in fact, quite the opposite.

January 14, 2011 at 11:04 am

(14) Matthew says:

LOL! what is “quite the opposite” of dropping dead? Returning from the grave?

June 4, 2011 at 8:55 am

(15) cedar says:

You know my gramma told me to “every once in while” eat the whole apple… core, seeds, and all. they also used to take a hammer and crack open the dried pits of apricots and eat one or two of the seeds … just once in a while….
I think there is some wisdom to their sayings. I also have read about the cancer-fungus connection…maybe this “old wives tale” is a check on the fungus levels in your body..KapoW!#$%^ cyanogenic glycosides a dangerous friend!

May 11, 2011 at 11:13 pm

(16) S says:

The cyanide is NOT released in the presence of cancer cells, it is released in your mouth when you break the seed by chewing on it. I have tested this myself, when you first bite the seed it has no taste but if you chew for a few seconds the enzymes in your saliva convert the amygdalin in the seed into cyanide and you can begin to taste the familiar almond taste. Chewing starchy foods long enough has a similar enzyme effect and the starchy food begins to taste sweet as they are broken down into glucose.

I don’t know how effective the seeds are at inhibiting cancer but the line about releasing cyanide in the presence of cancer cells appears to be completely false.

From what I have read, it takes about half a cup or more of apple seeds to release enough cyanide to kill you. You can safely eat *one* to see for yourself that the almond taste takes a few seconds to appear, but I wouldn’t overdo it. Non lethal doses are definitely not good for you, remember cyanide inhibits the ability of your blood to transport oxygen.

May 25, 2011 at 2:26 am

(17) Dan says:

I’ve been eating apple seeds ever since I can remember as well as my older brother. I even once competed with my older brother which one of us can eat more apples in an hour and that included eating seeds as well (just the inside of the seed – white stuff not the brown shell). If I remember correctly I had 42 and he ate 47 apples and all of the seeds. Now when I calculate how many seeds did we consume, well lets assume that each apple had 8 seeds on average times 40 apples that’s 320+ seeds each, thats about half a coffee mug of seeds if not more. I have to admit the both of us had bad stomach aches but that was because of 40 something apples not because of seeds, and none of the other symptoms of cyanide poisoning that were mentioned in this article . Both of us are still alive and well! I’m 40 and my bro is 47 y.o.!
Hmm, I might be addicted to that stuff when I think of it!!!

March 16, 2008 at 9:25 am

(18) chemistry says:

I’m not sure how you see that as an argument against their toxicity. Many chemotherapeutic substances are highly poisonous. If you are implying the cyanide compound in the seeds is only active against cancer cells, I believe you are mistaken. People die every year from eating too many of these seeds. Is it possible cancer cells are more susceptible to the toxin than healthy cells? Certainly, but that doesn’t mean it’s categorically safe to eat the seeds.

May 2, 2011 at 9:58 am

(19) stormy says:

Vitamin A is toxic.

Lets see a link to even ONE confirmed death by apple seeds.

June 28, 2011 at 8:13 am

(20) Amanda says:

Totally  It’s halarious how anybody could think that consumption of a ubiquitous natural compound in moderation could kill you… Blinkered belief in orthadox medicine propoganda.. if it wasn’t so tragic that would be more halarious.

July 23, 2011 at 9:53 am

(21) Diet Solution says:

I have to agree with you stormy, this is pure BS.

June 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm

(22) truth says:

This is actual research that took place at sloan kettering with apricot seeds/ B17/LAETRILE…..Nobel prize winner Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura believed it worked.

September 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm

(23) moremoneyforpharamaceuticalcompany says:

Confirmed@truth. All cancers could be cured – much of our economy is based on false pretenses -misguided information – and much of it regulated by the FDA. The same way with our OIL – we really could have cleaner energies – we will NOT change until we ARE FORCED to do so – and then, I am afraid it will be TOO LATE. GREED! GREED! GREED!

September 5, 2011 at 6:31 pm

(24) Jana says:

I have never seen a written document that someone died of an apple seed. So why are they spreading lies about this . Can you provide a single document of anykind in mankind history that says someone has died from eating more than what ever crazy amount your implying who would do that. Are you implying if you live off of apple seeds for ever your going to die. Just plain retard besides its man made cyanide they use to kill rats do you honestly think they smash up apple seeds to kill rats. NO its synthetic anything the government tries to do to mimic god’s goodness is bad for us so that should tell you something .Sorry for the Rant brothers and sisters but the lies are deceit for greed for not the good of humanity is really getting to me .Think about it who mimics god’s creations. Wake up Seek truth in all things .Embrace all of god’s creations and rebuke all of mans. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the apple that eve ate it was something else

March 17, 2008 at 5:21 pm

(25) alex says:

Eh? What is this “people die every year” stuff? The AMA report that always comes up when anyone talks about apple seeds reports on a single case of fatal seed poisoning. Am I saying people should eat apple seeds constantly? No (although I eat the whole apple, which includes the seeds–though without chewing them). But “people die every year” seems rather… alarmist, ne?

March 18, 2008 at 9:16 pm

(26) Lee says:

“In fact, if you eat enough apple seeds or cherry pits, you could die.”

Anne, Anne, Anne…..

WOW….Odiously you did not do ANY research on this, except for listing to the A.M.A. or a Doctor that
read this somewhere years ago.

My God women….do some real investigative reporting!!!

NO, NO, NO. Eating apple or cherry seeds will not kill you!!! That is, unless you plan on eating
a bunch of them. But then again, it seams like eating anything in large quantities will kill or make you real sick.

Example, Salt….Your body needs it….eat to little and you will get sick….eat to much and you will Die….its kind of like that.

Also, for the bible thumpers, like me. It says in several places to eat the fruits, nuts and SEEDS of the earth.

For a last thought. Try, just try and find any research that has been done on what quantity of cyanide is in apple or appricote seeds. I dare you.

Below is more info and a hyperlink:

“Everyone should know that most cancer research is largely a fraud…” – Linus Pauling PhD (1901-1994) Two times Nobel Prize winner.

“Eat you apple seeds” —– >

Vitamin B17 (also called Amygdalin or Laetrile) is one of the most controversial substances in cancer research. It is a nitriloside, which occurs naturally in fruit seeds, some berries, flax, millet, and some beans, leaves, grasses and nuts. Touted as a cure for cancer several decades ago by Dr. Ernst T. Krebs, it has since been discredited by orthodox medicine as “quackery.” Respected researcher Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura was fired after refusing to publish false test results on Laetrile – he stood firm in his belief in it. One of the most famous proponents of B17 is G. Edward Griffin, whose book, video and articles attempt to explain what the fuss is all about.

These and other researchers contend that cancer is little more than a deficiency disease, much like scurvy or pellagra. In cultures that eat foods high in nitrilosides such as the Hunza or the Eskimo, cancer is unheard of. But today, our modern diets have all but eliminated this vital nutrient. The medical establishment, on the other hand, has worked hard to undermine confidence in this substance. Their “official” reason? Because it contains a molecule of cyanide. But Mr. Griffin’s video and many other articles and websites explain how the molecule is uniquely absorbed and used by the body: the only enzyme that can break it down exists only in a tumor cell, so in a sense it becomes a kind of “cancer smart-bomb,” and is neutralized in the body’s other healthy cells.

Of course many also contend that the pharmaceutical industry has a lot of financial incentive to ensure that vitamin B17 remains illegal and unacceptable by the medical establishment. Unable to patent a naturally occurring substance (and thereby in risk of losing a $200 billion a year industry), a war is being waged on the forefront of cancer research – each side supporting various studies on its effectiveness. In fact it is even illegal to sell Laetrile as a cure for cancer in the U.S. – and some have gone to jail for it. Despite this I found information online about proper dosages and “The Little Cyanide Cookbook” which explains how to prepare foods high in Vitamin B17. Foods containing B17 include berries, beans, nuts (especially the bitter almond), and various veggies – but the most is found in apricot seeds (the little seed found inside the pit) and apple seeds – in fact it’s said three apples a day, including the seeds, could prevent cancer.

What’s that old saying, an apple a day? Could be more important than we know.
“…when government officials spend money on weapons instead of cures;…all this is robbery and chaos. It is not in keeping with the Tao.” -Tao Te Ching



January 24, 2011 at 9:58 am

(27) Joe says:

Nice one, thank you

March 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm

(28) darkbloodhoesuicidalemo69 says:


im actually DIEING from this apple seed poison – my breathing has been getting worse and worse for the past few weeks (about the time i started eating the seeds) and i can hardly breath now-ofcourse i dont really care (being suicidal and all) but next time dont go off when u have no proof or any idea of what ur talking about. this apple seed toxicness is no lie…

April 13, 2011 at 4:56 am

(29) infected ;-) says:

im blending whole apples every day in green smoothies, and pears and … seeds… so im gonna be as polite here as i can; maybe its something else you eat. Actually if you read up on the amount of eaten apples it would take for a human to get these symptoms, im guessing your eating a shitload of apples every day or just maybe there is some placebo effect or hypocondric stuff going on. “”yeah yeah i know ppl are different”
Anyway we’ve been doing this for months, and the seeds should be more poiseness when chewed or blended.

May 9, 2011 at 9:46 am

(30) NormalPerson says:

dark-blood-hoe-suicidal-emo-69 your a dirty troll who lives under a crappy bridge, bugger off. i eat the seed and have been since primary school when a kid dared me to eat them and then told me they were poisonous. Also i think it was 1.7kg every day for years before you started to see side effects not including death. Also trolls stink like rotten apples.

September 28, 2011 at 11:33 am
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