Are apricots the cure for cancer

Attention Dangerous thing: hydrogen cyanide in apricot kernels

Apricot kernels can be bought as a snack. They are touted as beneficial to health, are said to be rich in minerals such as magnesium, zinc and iron, as well as amino acids, and are even recommended as anticancer agents. However, this effect has not been scientifically proven. Many manufacturers also refer to the toxic ingredient amygdalin as vitamin B17. But that doesn't exist at all.

Too much hydrogen cyanide

Dr. Georg Schreiber, head of department at the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, warns: "Due to their hydrogen cyanide content, apricot kernels can be a health hazard. Hydrocyanic acid or its salt, the cyanide, is a natural toxin that is released from the apricot kernels when chewing and during digestion and then it can lead to poisoning and even death in humans ".

In the European Union we have set a maximum level for hydrogen cyanide in apricot kernels. According to our investigations, apricot kernels exceed this maximum content for hydrogen cyanide in 80 percent of cases.

Dr. Georg Schreiber | Head of department at the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety

This value applies to the sweet kernels obtained from cultivated apricots. With the bitter kernels from wild apricots, the health risks are even greater due to the amygdalin they contain. Dr. Georg Schreiber knows: "In bitter apricot kernels, the maximum content was exceeded 100 times on average".

Similar problem with bitter almonds

The same problem also exists with bitter almonds. "With bitter almonds, however, when you buy them, you will usually find the note on the packaging:" Only use for cooking and baking or keep out of the reach of children, not suitable for raw consumption. "Bitter almonds are usually also offered in small packs, that is in 50-gram packs. Apricot kernels, on the other hand, are also sold in larger units, "says Dr. Georg Schreiber from the Federal Office for Consumer Protection.

Children, pregnant women and nursing mothers should therefore under no circumstances nibble on apricot kernels. Although the human body can break down small amounts of amygdalin, even one or two nuclei per day are considered questionable according to EU-wide risk assessments. However, if you experience headache, nausea, vomiting, or shortness of breath after consuming it, call a doctor quickly.