How many apple seeds will kill a human?

In this short article, we will answer the question “How many apple seeds will kill a human?”, and explain why apple seeds can be toxic and what are the symptoms that appear if intoxication occurs.

How many apple seeds will kill a human?

An average apple seed has 0.06 to 0.24 milligrammes of cyanide in it. Therefore, 243 to 6,084 seeds, or almost two cups of tea, would need to be swallowed for an individual weighing 70 kg to die from eating apple seeds. 

Because they weigh less than an adult and may experience the symptoms mentioned above more easily, no matter how mild they may be, children and pets should avoid eating apple seeds as much as possible.

Even though it is somehow “impossible” for intoxication by the seed to occur through regular consumption of the fruit.

Why are apple seeds poisonous?

It is a part of the chemical defences of apple seeds because of the molecule amygdalin. Although the seeds are dangerous when damaged, chewed, and digested, the amygdalin transforms into hydrogen cyanide, rendering the seeds poisonous in their intact state. 

This substance is present in the seeds of fruits like apples, apricots, peaches, and cherries in quite high concentrations. Intoxication is brought on by the chemical molecule cyanide, which is found in apple seeds as part of the amygdalin. 

In some concentrations, cyanide can quickly kill people. Consuming more than 0.6 mg of cyanide per kilogramme can have significant repercussions, including death or severe poisoning that causes paralysis, a coma, heart failure, or even paralysis. 

This deadly dose, for instance, would be equivalent to 42 mg of cyanide in a 70 kg adult. Smaller doses of this substance can have milder side effects include headaches, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, weakness, dizziness, and mental confusion.

A cyanide poisoning can be treated with the administration of antidotes, decontamination (depending on the route of absorption), and supportive treatment adapted to the severity of the poisoning. 

This treatment is effective whether the cause of the cyanide poisoning was excessive consumption of apple seeds or for any other reason. 

Despite the fact that apple seeds are currently thought to be poisonous, the amount that most people take is safe and does not pose a substantial risk to their health.

Throughout history, cyanide has been utilised as a poison. With a high enough dose, it can cause death within minutes by interfering with the delivery of oxygen to cells.

Consuming between 0.5 and 3.5 mg per kilogramme of body weight can cause severe poisoning, a coma, paralysis, heart failure, and possibly death. This is equivalent to 41-286mg of cyanide for an 81 kilogramme adult. 

Low dose consumption results in milder headache, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, dizziness, and weakness side effects. It all comes down to the body weight of the person ingesting it in big measure. Younger kids are therefore more at risk.

The amount of amygdalin in one gramme of apple seeds varies from 1 to 4 mg depending on the variety, although there is less cyanide produced by these seeds.

Up to 20 seeds can be found in a whole apple. If you occasionally eat apple seeds, you probably won’t feel any symptoms of pain, in part because whole apple seeds are protected from digestive enzymes. In any event, it should not be given to kids or animals.

What signs might indicate cyanide poisoning?

Initial signs of cyanide poisoning include tongue and mucous membrane irritation soon after ingestion, headaches, nausea, a metallic taste, sleepiness, dizziness, anxiety, hyperpnea (rapid, shallow breathing), and a distinctive almond-like odour on expiration.

In more severe cases, there may be spells of cyanosis (purple-blue staining of the skin), bradycardia, hypotension, arrhythmias, dyspnea (shortness of breath), bradycardia, hypotension, and unconsciousness. 

If the condition is severe enough, it may lead to coma, convulsions, circulatory collapse, pulmonary oedema, and even death. Various mechanisms can lead to the development of pulmonary oedema.

The presence of an intracellular metabolic activity can harm capillary and alveolar epithelium, resulting in capillary leakage syndrome; neurogenic pulmonary oedema; and direct effects on the heart that result in ventricular failure and elevated pulmonary pressure.

Manifestations at first:

fainting, flushing, anxiety, excitation, sleepiness, vertigo, headaches, tachypnea, tachycardia, dyspnea, and flushing.

Late signs and symptoms:

altered state of consciousness, tremors, pulmonary oedema that is not cancerous, respiratory arrest, cardiac arrhythmias, and cardiovascular collapse.


In this short article, we answered the question “How many apple seeds will kill a human?”, and explained why apple seeds can be toxic and what are the symptoms that appear if intoxication occurs.


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