How many apple seeds will kill a human?

In this brief blog we will address the query,”How many apple seeds will kill a human?” We will also discuss if apple oil and apple juice are toxic. We will finally briefly talk about the symptoms of cyanide poisoning.

How many apple seeds will kill a human?

If you chew roughly about 200 apple seeds they can kill you as that will deliver a fatal dose. 200 apple seeds equate to about 40 apple cores which is a whole lot to consume. But what exactly is in apple seeds that can kill you. Continue reading further to find out.

What in apple seeds can kill a human?

Well, apple seeds as well as seeds of other related plants such as cherries and pears contain a substance known as amygdalin. Amygdalin is a cyanogenic glycoside which contains both cyanide and sugar.

The cyanide contained in the amygdalin tends to degrade and release a highly toxic compound known as hydrogen cyanide (HCN) when it comes into contact with digestive enzymes. A fatal dose of HCN can result in instant death in just a few minutes.

Luckily for you, there are some factors that make this kind of death very unlikely. First, it is very unlikely to consume 150 and above seeds, that’s a lot of apples to consume. Well, unless you are trying to break some kind of Guiness book of records. 

Secondly, the amygdalin is only accessible if the seeds have been properly chewed or crushed. If a seed is in its entirety it will just pass through the digestive system and cause you no harm at all.

Thirdly, the human body in its magical nature can process HCN but in small doses so if you happen to chomp on a few apple seeds you should be totally fine.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lethal dose of cyanide is 1-2 mg/kg for a 154 pounds (70kg) man.

That said, you might be thinking if consumption of apple seed oil is also toxic, let’s take a look.

Is apple seed oil toxic if over consumed?

Well, you will be glad to know that apple seed oil contains very little amounts of amygdalin. Apple seed oil is a vegetable oil that is obtained by pressing apple seeds. It has a lot of uses in the cosmetic and beauty world.

People (or should I say mostly ladies) adore it for its fragrance and use it to condition their hair. It is also a rich source of antioxidants and can assist the skin to fight off any oxidative damage. It has been touted to prevent any bacterial and viral infections and thus preventing acne and sores.

What are the symptoms of cyanide poisoning?

As earlier mentioned cyanide can also be found in other seeds and plants such as almonds, apricot seeds, cassavas. Consumption or drinking of cyanogenic compounds is exactly what results in the toxicity in humans.

Symptoms of cyanide poisoning can range from mild to severe. The mild symptoms include:

  • dizziness
  • anxiety
  • confusion
  • headaches

Acute cyanide poisoning can result in decreased consciousness, paralysis, high blood pressure and in some cases even coma. In severe cases, cyanide poisoning can lead to death.

Is apple juice poisonous?

This is another pertinent question bearing in mind that apple juice as well as smoothies contain whole crushed apple seeds which include the core and seeds. Due to the fact that the seeds get crushed during the blending process some cyanide is indeed released which gets into the juice made.

Luckily, some studies were done regarding how much amygdalin is contained in most store purchased juice brands and the levels were found to be negligible as below.

  • Pressed apple juice: 0.01–0.04 mg per ml 
  • Long life apple juice: 0.001–0.007 mg per ml 

As evident above the amounts are quite low to result in any cause of alarm for humans to drink such juices.

You should however always be cautious and ensure that you take out apple seeds and also steer clear of munching into apple seeds because of amygdalin content.


In this brief blog we have addressed the query,”How many apple seeds will kill a human?” We have also discussed if apple oil and apple juice are toxic. We have finally briefly talked about the symptoms of cyanide poisoning.

We hope you found this blog insightful. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.


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