A man staying in Australia has just poisoned himself while eating apricot kernel meant to keep him safe from the reoccurrence of prostate cancer.
According to BMJ Case Reports, the 67-year-old man has been daily on apricot kernel extract for five good years. He would take 2 teaspoons of the apricot kernel extract and 3 tablets of Novodalin, and herbal fruit kernel supplement. All of which amounted to 17.23 mg of apricot kernel extract daily.
The deceased self-prescribed intake of apricot was in line with his belief in alternative medicine that such kernels can cure or prevent cancer. The man was convalescing from prostate cancer and had to keep on the apricot kernel extract to avoid the re-occurrence of the ailment.
Apricot kernels compose of amygdalin, often known as laetrile and are converted into cyanide when it gets into the body, causing the death of cells by preventing their use of oxygen. Those who share the idea that such kernels prevent cancer believe that it doesn’t affect all cells but the cancerous cells.
Doctors advised the man before his death
The man was lucky somewhat because physicians observed the evidence of cyanide, and he didn’t show any symptoms. He arrived the hospital for a regular prostate cancer check up. The routine procedure requiring anesthesia, and the doctors observed high thiocyanate and poor oxygen saturation.
The doctors told the man to quit the intake of the kernels, and he complied for about three days and continued afterward.
Symptoms of severe cyanide poisoning
Acute cyanide poisoning comes with symptoms like shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, dizziness, headache, seizures, vomiting, cardiac arrest and in some cases death. Severe long-term intake like the case of the Australian man can cause paralysis, weakness, liver damage, nerve damage and altered kidney function.
The United States, United Kingdom, and Canada all have a limit to the intake of apricot kernels or even the food stuff containing cyanide. However, Australia completely banned the sales of apricot kernels as consumables in the later part of 2015.