Can Cherry Pits Kill You

Can Cherry Pits Kill You
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Many readers are interested in the following topic: Are Cherry Pits Poisonous? What to Know. We are happy to note, that our authors have already studied the modern research about the topic you are interested in. Based on the information provided in the latest medical digests, modern research and surveys, we provide extensive answer. Keep reading to find out more.

In very rare circumstances, eating cherry pits can cause cyanide toxicity. This is only the case if you eat the seeds inside of cherry pits. This means that drinking a smoothie containing whole cherries or cherry juice will be fine, but drinking a smoothie with ground-up cherry pits in it would not be good.

Cherry Pits in Smoothies: Is It Best To Avoid Them?

cherry pits in smoothie

Today we are going to learn all about how to use cherry pits in a smoothie. The first lesson is to never put cherry pits in a smoothie. While some seeds are totally fine for putting inside of a smoothie, you definitely do not want to use cherry pits. Why? Because they are poisonous!

A single cherry pit is not going to kill you, nor will a handful of cherry pits have any effect on your health, but if you eat too many cherry pits you could die. This is especially true in children and pets, as they are much more prone to poisoning from cherry pits than adults.

Cherry Pits in Smoothies: Don’t Do It!

It comes down to cyanogenic acids. Basically, cyanide. Cherry pits contain small quantities of cyanide compounds. And while your body can detoxify these in small quantities, they can’t cope with a lot. This means if you accidentally swallow several seeds, you will be alright. But if you make the mistake of adding 20 full cherries into a smoothie and blending, you may get a rather potent dose of cyanide.

And so, the conclusion is to never use cherry pits in a smoothie! Rather than being helpful and healthy like other seeds, they are more destructive and poisonous than anything. If you accidentally eat too many cherry pits, you will need to seek medical attention immediately.

Yes, Cherry Pits are Toxic!

Cherry pits are toxic. If this is news to you, it’s a good thing you read this article before putting cherry pits in your smoothie. Some of the symptoms of mild cyanide poisoning due to cherry pits include dizziness, headache, confusion, vomiting, and heavy anxiety.

If you have taken a large dose of cherry pits you can expect to suffer more serious symptoms like increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and kidney failure. In a worst-case scenario, you can fall into a coma, suffer convulsions, and ultimately die from respiratory arrest.

There are treatment options if you find yourself poisoned from seeds, but the best prevention is not to eat cherry pits in the first place. If you have accidentally dosed yourself with cyanide, you will need to seek immediate medical attention, at which point they will pump your stomach to induce vomiting. There are also antidotes somewhat available.

But this is only for serious cases. If you have ingested a small quantity, like 3 or 4 seeds, you won’t need to worry. Your body is perfectly equipped to detoxify a fair amount of cyanide compounds. They are naturally occurring in many foods and many of which you may not even know about.

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Can Cherry Pits Kill You?

can cherry pits kill you

In very rare circumstances, eating cherry pits can cause cyanide toxicity. This is only the case if you eat the seeds inside of cherry pits. This means that drinking a smoothie containing whole cherries or cherry juice will be fine, but drinking a smoothie with ground-up cherry pits in it would not be good.

The seeds of cherries contain a chemical called amygdalin. When amygdalin is mixed with enzymes in your saliva, it creates cyanide. If you were to eat large quantities of ground-up seeds, this would be enough to create varying degrees of health problems for humans.

An important point to note is that swallowing whole cherry seeds will not release amygdalin. It is only when the cherry pit is chewed or broken up that the chemical is released. If your child accidentally swallows a whole cherry seed, the only thing to worry about is the potential choking hazard.

How Many Cherry Seeds can Cause Cyanide Toxicity?

The average human body can tolerate up to 50mg of cyanide before it can become toxic. The average cherry pit contains around 3.5mg of amygdalin. So you would need to eat around 14 cherry pits for it to be considered a lethal dose.

Remember, amygdalin is only released from cherry pits when they are broken up or chewed, so if you accidentally swallow a load of whole cherry seeds, you will most likely be fine.

If you add 30 – 40 cherries into your morning smoothie and blend them up, this will almost certainly give you a lethal dose of cyanide. It is for this reason you should always use pitted cherries in smoothies and other blended drinks.

What Seeds Contain Cyanide?

different fruit seeds contain cyanide

Other than cherry pits, apple seeds, apricot seeds, and many others contain cyanogenic glycosides. Specifically, any kind of stone fruit will contain these harmful chemicals. Basically, anything related to cherries. This includes peaches, pears, plums, and apricots. And yes, it also includes apple seeds.

Apples are notorious for causing heartburn, but if you eat one-too-many apple seeds you may end up in the hospital. But yet again, you do need to eat a lot of apple seeds to die. For example, it takes roughly 1 milligram of cyanide per kilogram of your body weight for you to die. That means if you are 70 kilograms, it would take 70 milligrams of cyanide to kill you.

In the case of apple seeds, in which there are about 0.49 milligrams of cyanide in every seed, you would need roughly 143 seeds to be killed. That is an outstanding number of seeds to eat. If there are eight seeds in every apple, you would need to eat around 18 apples raw with all their seeds to die. This is why cyanide poisoning from fruit seeds is not very common. You would literally need to blend a full pitcher of apples or cherries with their seeds to receive a lethal dose.

Blending Cherry Pits vs Swallowing Cherry Pits

Here is where things get even more interesting. If you swallow a cherry pit or an apple seed, you will get a significantly reduced dose of cyanide. It is actually more toxic if you bite the seed and chew it. This is because the toxins are stored inside the seed.

For this reason, it is incredibly dangerous to blend cherry pits in your blender. By blending the cherry pits, you break them open and release all their dangerous toxins. This is why you always want to remove the pits from the cherries before you eat them.

How to Pit Cherries

how to remove cherry pits seeds

Whether you are feasting on a bowl of cherries for a snack or blending them into a delicious smoothie, you must remove the seeds. To get the pits out of your cherries, you can always use a specially designed pitter, or you can do it by hand following these easy steps.

Step 1: The first thing you want to do is remove the cherry stem. Simply grab hold of the stem and yank it off.

Step 2: Now you need to cut lengthwise across the entire cherry. Think of it like cutting a globe in half. Take your knife and cut lengthwise across the entire cherry.

Step 3: With your cherry cut, you are now able to twist it open. It should come apart very easily, and you will be left with two halves of the cherry, one with an empty hole and one with the seed.

Step 4: Remove the cherry pit with your fingers. Simply pluck it out and throw it in a pile with the rest. Then you can transfer your cherry halves into a bowl and enjoy them at your leisure.

This is a fantastic way to get your cherries ready for the blender, whether you want to make a dark chocolate cherry smoothie or an orange cherry blossom smoothie. There are many amazing options to choose from, just remember not to eat the seeds. Cherry pits are poisonous, and eating too many could send you to the hospital.

Can Cherry Pits Kill You – Final Thoughts

Cherry pits are toxic. If this is news to you, it’s a good thing you read this article before putting cherry pits in your smoothie. Cherry pits contain a chemical called amygdalin. When amygdalin is mixed with enzymes in your saliva, it creates cyanide.

Can cherry pits kill you? Yes, they certainly can. Remember that it takes around 14 of them for it to be considered a lethal dose. The toxic chemical is released when the cherry pits are ground up, so definitely don’t add them to your smoothie.

If you have accidentally swallowed cherry seeds, so long as the cherry seeds are whole, there shouldn’t be any real issue with eating them in moderation.

Are Cherry Pits Poisonous? What to Know

Members of the Prunus genus, they’re a type of drupe or stone fruit — a fruit whose seed is enclosed by a hard, stony endocarp or pit (1).

While you’re meant to spit out the pits when eating cherries, you may sometimes swallow a few on accident. Because the pits of these fruits are purported to have toxic properties, some people are concerned about their safety.

This article explains whether cherry pits are dangerous if you accidentally eat a few.

cherry pits and whole cherries

Cherries have a small, hardened pit that surrounds their seed, also called a kernel. The kernels of cherry pits and other stone fruits contain the chemical amygdalin (2).

Amygdalin is a cyanogenic glycoside — a chemical that your body converts into the toxic compound hydrogen cyanide (2, 3 ).

Hydrogen cyanide interferes with oxygen transport, potentially damaging essential organs like your brain, heart, and lungs ( 4 ).

This is the reason why cherry pits are dangerous to eat. However, the extent of the potential harm depends upon the amount of cyanide you’re exposed to.


Cherry pits contain amygdalin, a compound that your body converts into hydrogen cyanide, making their consumption potentially dangerous.

When the cherry pit is chewed or bruised, the plant’s enzymes come into contact with the amygdalin inside the pit, leading to the formation of hydrogen cyanide (2, 5).

Cyanide toxicity in the human body may occur from 0.2–1.6 mg per pound (0.5–3.5 mg per kg) of body weight. That is the equivalent of 30–240 mg of cyanide for a person who weighs 150 pounds (68 kg) (2, 6).

A red cherry pit is estimated to have 3.9 mg of amygdalin per gram of fruit, while the black cherry has a slightly lower concentration at 2.7 mg per gram. Meanwhile, the Morello cherry pit harbors an astonishing 65 mg per gram (2).

These stone fruits can produce the equivalent of 0.01–1.1 mg of cyanide in your body, depending on the amount consumed. Eating just 3–4 pits of the Morello cherry or 7–9 pits of red or black cherries may lead to cyanide toxicity (2).


Chewing cherry pits releases a chemical called amygdalin, which your body converts into cyanide. Depending on the type, cherries may contain 3.9–65 mg of amygdalin per gram of fruit.

It’s not a cause for concern if you or your child accidentally swallows just one or two cherry pits.

Swallowing whole cherry pits doesn’t cause toxicity but may pose a choking hazard for young children and lead to colon obstruction (7, 8).

Yet, chewing and swallowing more than a few pits may be dangerous, especially for children.

Intoxication or poisoning from the ingestion of pits from cherries, apricots, and peaches has been reported among children. Symptoms of acute toxicity include headache, nausea, seizures, convulsions, and difficulty breathing (2, 6, 9 , 10 , 11 ).

If you suspect your child has chewed and eaten several pits, keep an eye on them for adverse symptoms. If symptoms occur, contact 911 or call poison control at 1-800-222-1222.

Children should be taught to spit out the pits to avoid all associated risks.


Ingesting whole cherry pits is unlikely to be toxic. However, if you chew the pits, hydrogen cyanide is produced. Accidentally chewing and swallowing several pits may lead to symptoms like headaches, seizures, and difficulty breathing.

Compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have been identified and extracted from the kernels of cherry pits, though research on their safety and efficacy is ongoing ( 12 , 13 ).

Antioxidants are substances that may protect your body from disease by preventing cell damage ( 14 ).

Cherry fruit and its extracts have been shown to reduce uric acid levels and proposed as a treatment for gout, though the involvement of the cherry pits themselves is unclear ( 15 ).

In addition, cherry pits have several culinary uses, including extracting compounds from the kernels to form liqueur. Recipes don’t use the pit themselves but rather draw flavor from the remaining fruit clinging to the pits (16).

Check out these recipes for cherry pit syrup and cherry pit whipped cream for some interesting ideas.


Despite cherry pits being inedible, there may be safe ways to use them for culinary purposes.

Cherry pits contain varying amounts of amygdalin, which your body converts into cyanide. However, cyanide is only formed when the cherry pit is bruised or chewed.

Swallowing a small number of whole cherry pits is generally safe, but they pose a choking hazard and may obstruct the colon in sufficient amounts.

It’s always best practice to spit out the pits when you’re munching on cherries. Children should be taught to spit out the pits as well.

Last medically reviewed on April 14, 2021

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