Published On: Mon, Sep 11th, 2017

A man who took apricot kernels to beat cancer got cyanide poisoning

A 67-year-old man in Australia got cyanide poisoning from the apricot kernel extract he was taking to beat cancer. The man didn’t die, but he had abnormally low levels of oxygen in his body — a side effect of cyanide poisoning that can be fatal.

Doctors in Melbourne realized the patient had low oxygen levels when he was under anesthesia for a routine surgery. Blood tests later revealed he had cyanide levels in his blood 25 times the accepted level. His case, described in the journal BMJ Case Reports, shows how alternative medications, including sham cancer treatments, can put patients at risk.

Many people believe that apricot kernels — the soft, almond-like seeds found inside apricot pits — can fight or prevent cancer. The 67-year-old…

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