Volume 26 Number 2



By Frank Hubbell, DO



There are quite a few foods that we commonly eat that contain potentially lethal toxins. Fortunately, they are in trace quantities, and our liver is generally able to detoxify them before they can cause us any harm.



One particular toxin that is found in a variety of foods is amygdalin, a cyanogenic glycoside that is metabolized into hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Egads! CYANIDE– that could kill you!




Cyanide can be found in the following seeds and foods:


Apple seeds                            Cherry pits


Peach pits                              Apricot pits


Plums                                       Pears


Almonds                                Lima beans


Nectarines                            Barley


Cabbage                                Sorghum


Broccoli                                Cauliflower


Flaxseed                                Bamboo


White Clover


Cassava root = tapioca, manioc, yuca



The questions are where does the cyanide come from, and why it is in these seeds, fruits, or vegetables?



Some plants have the ability to fix nitrogen to carbon with a triple bond, making hydrogen cyanide = HCN, one hydrogen atom, one carbon atom, and one nitrogen atom.  Of course at this point, you’re wondering why aren’t all plants potentially cyanide carriers.  The plants have to have the enzymes necessary to carry out these chemical reactions and it has to be able to store the hydrogen cyanide without harming itself.


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