Cyanide in Food: These Nutritious Dietary Supplements May Be Poisonous


People are beyond spooked by the thought that their favorite foods, vegetables, and fruits may contain toxins such as cyanide and other harmful compounds.  You may have heard of cyanide in food a few times and have asked yourself “what is cyanide?” What does cyanide do exactly? Cyanide is a toxic compound that deprives the cells in the human body of oxygen, this inevitably leads to death. The toxin exists in various forms such as:

  • Hydrogen cyanide (HCN)
  • Cyanogen Chloride (CNCl)
  • Sodium Cyanide (NaCN)
  • Potassium Cyanide (KCN)

Those who hope to catch the smell of cyanide in food substances may be disappointed as the toxin does not always have a detectable odor. As dangerous as Cyanide may be, there are lethal doses that are harmful to the body and there are very small doses that are insignificant. What is the lethal dose for cyanide? 50mg to 200 mg of hydrogen cyanide can be considered lethal to humans. So, which foods contain cyanide? Is cyanide in food dangerous?

Cyanide in Food Content

Some often wonder why cyanide is found in food. Nature can be unpredictable as cyanide occurs naturally in many food sources. Our bodies are able to break down small doses of cyanide without problems. We have consumed food sources containing cyanide for years and yet… here we are. This suggests that our systems can handle these small doses of toxins. Here are a few foods that contain cyanide:

  • Peaches
  • Almonds
  • Soy
  • Apple seeds
  • Apricot pits
  • Cherry pits
  • Tapioca
  • Spinach
  • Cassava roots
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Lima beans
  • Millet sprouts

Of all these edibles, peaches and apricot pits contain the highest amounts of cyanide. They actually contain dangerously high amounts of cyanide so it is advised that one does not eat the pits of these fruits.

Ingesting cyanide may be hazardous to health but inhaling cyanide is the much dangerous way of exposure.

Is there cyanide in B12 supplements?

20 micrograms of cyanide is contained in 1000 microgram pills of vitamin B12 Cyanocobalamin. Research shows that the amount of cyanide in the supplement Cyanocobalamin is insignificant and has no physical effect as the toxic level are very low.

How can one be exposed to Cyanide?

There are a few ways that one can be exposed to cyanide. One common way is by ingestion through natural foods that either contain cyanide or break down in the body to form cyanide groups. Other ways of exposure are breathing in the gas, contaminated drinking water, contact with soil that contains the toxin.  Smoking cigarettes are a major source of cyanide poisoning.

How does cyanide poisoning work?

As earlier stated, cyanide prevents cells from taking up oxygen. When this occurs, cells are unable to transport oxygen to the brain, heart and other organs. Cells die off and the heart and brain may malfunction. Cyanide poisoning can lead to death.

Signs and symptoms of Cyanide exposure

 How can you tell if one is displaying signs and symptoms of exposure to cyanide? Here are some symptoms that may be observed:

  • Rapid heart rate and heavy breathing
  • Head aches
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Dizziness

For exposure to large amounts, one may experience the following symptoms:

  • Slow heart rate
  • Lung injuries
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Convulsion
  • Low blood pressure
  • Heart failure and death

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