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Are apple seeds poisonous?

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Sort of - they contain a compound that is broken down into Hydrogen Cyanide, a well known poison especially in old crime novels.


The compound is also found in bitter almonds and cherry pits. Your body will release cyanide while breaking it down.
Your body can also detoxify small amounts of cyanide, however if there is too much, it will bond to haemoglobin (the protein responsible for transporting oxygen around your body) similar to carbon monoxide (it can displace carbon monoxide as it bonds better).
It has been used as a potential cancer treatment, however it proved too poisonous (most treatments for cancer are a poison that will kill the cancer effectively but do little harm to you).

However, they contain so little of it and you'd need to chew the seeds well to release it (otherwise the seeds are likely to pass whole through your digestive system), so in practice, while they contain poison, they are harmless, similar to carbon dioxide, and also somewhat similar to oxygen (it high enough concentrations, above atmospheric pressure, it can kill, but you need it to live (you don't need cyanide)).
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Are apple seeds really poisonous?

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