A man who for five years took daily doses of apricot kernel extract - touted as a natural cancer shield - ended up with cyanide poisoning, a medical journal reported Tuesday.
The man had been ingesting large quantities of apricot kernels, in the belief they could help prevent cancer. That equaled about 17.23 milligrams of apricot kernel extract a day.
The patient continued to take the extract and supplement until recently, when he was blocked from buying raw apricot kernels or importing the tablets.
When he woke up, the man told doctors he had been taking a daily dose of two teaspoons of homemade apricot kernel extract for five years.
Doctors in Melbourne found that the patient had low oxygen levels when he was under anesthesia for a routine surgery.
"It's not known what the effect of having a level of cyanide that's not enough to kill you suddenly, but (is) still quite high - we don't know what the long- term effects of it are".
Doctors explained the cyanide concerns to the man, they said, "but he nevertheless opted to continue" his self-treatment.
The researchers said that the seeds contain an amygdalin substance, a chemical compound by which the body turns into cyanide. Those who say apricot kernel extract prevents cancer believe it only affects cancerous cells.
Headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, vomiting, seizures, loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest and death, usually within a few minutes are the symptoms of dire cyanide poisoning.
Australia, be that as it may, restricted the offer of apricot bits as sustenance in late 2015.
This case illustrates how chronic dosing of complementary medicines can result in harmful toxicities, which may carry potential for serious consequences and how these chronic toxicities may present to physicians in atypical ways.
Peach pits, cherry seeds and apple seeds can all break down into cyanide in the body.
The United Kingdom, Canada and the United States all have maximums on either apricot kernel intake of safe levels or cyanide for foodstuffs.