How many kernels should we eat? How many kernels are safe to eat?
These are tricky questions that aren't always covered in a thorough way. There's a great deal of misinformation out there from both sides of the fence. Some sources are simply misinformed. Comments such as,
"Vitamin B17 which is naturally found in many foods like strawberries, cashews and apricot kernels is harmless. After all... it's Only Natural!".
This is an ignorant and irresponsible statement that has, no doubt, resulted in harm. There are countless natural substances that are potentially dangerous. Amygdalin is no exception, which is why we need to use it safely and with respect. Exercise caution with websites that make similar claims. The above website, for instance, appears to be credible through quantity of content. However, none of this content is original. Virtually every page on this popular website has been copied and pasted from other sources, as is often the case. The danger of this practice is that it propagates poor quality information and lends to the illusion of credibility. The hidden agenda is to drive traffic to its sales site - selling the very products it pretends to advocate without bias.
It is entirely possible to overwhelm our natural capacities to process amygdalin safely. Many people finding apricot kernels for the first time are likely to have an eager and ambitious approach to their use. Comments, such as the one above, may lend a hand in an overly-ambitious experiment that results in an undesirable scenario. Likewise, a one-size-fits-all dosage recommendation may also result in a negative experience for many of its followers. I'm going to draw some attention to critical considerations that are rarely addressed.
First of all - as with all things ingested, it's very important we monitor how our bodies react to new substances and quantities. As is the case with most substances we ingest, consumption should be measured and balanced. If the body tells us, through adverse reaction, that we've given it too much of something, it's only sensible to make an adjustment to the quantity. Be in tune with your body and listen to what it has to say.
With that in mind, let's talk about quantities for consumption.
It's important to be aware that each of us has a different capacity to process any substance. Think of alcohol for example - some people seem capable of consuming large volumes before intoxication becomes apparent, where others can be instantly and obviously affected after just one standard drink. This is also true of amygdalin. There's no "one size fits all" dosage.
Read my post on which kernels to use. Assuming we're using an amygdalin-rich apricot kernel, the rough guide many people adhere to is simply - not more than 5-6 kernels per hour. This will keep us out of serious harm's way. For a very few, side-effects may still be experienced even at this level. They will be minor and they will pass. If you are one of these individuals, experiment with that quantity, reducing it to a level that is tolerated. Increase after a few days one kernel at a time. For most, our bodies are well equipped to deal with these quantities without incident. By keeping to this rough guide, one can consume a considerable number of kernels over the course of the waking day. However - there will come a point where you'll find it more practical to consume closer to your maximum capacity a few times per day, or, perhaps, once in the morning and once at night with smaller quantities staggered throughout the day.
Our tolerance for amygdalin increases as the body comes to expect it in increasing quantities. It's important to start at small quantities, building up gradually over the days and weeks to follow. Maximum capacities will vary based on individual circumstances. I've been consuming apricot kernels for many years and I can eat quite a number of the most bitter kernels available without incident. This same number would cause another individual to feel very unwell indeed. Slow and steady. You'll get there.
The objective with amygdalin is to have as much within the system as we can comfortably tolerate without the experience of side-effects or adverse reactions. The trick is to build up to this quantity and to do this very gradually, over days and weeks. There is a threshold we must be mindful of. When we reach a quantity where we start to experience mild side-effects, such as dizziness or headache, this is the body telling us to put the brakes on - at least for the time-being. We want to find a suitable quantity we can consume before we reach these side-effects. By increasing quantities very gradually, one kernel at a time, one session at a time, we'll never over-do it to such a degree that we put ourselves in danger. The body response will always alert us to potential problems well before an issue of serious concern arises.
These quantities will be different for everyone, regardless of your gender, height or weight. Finding the balance is the key.
Though apricot kernels aren't very pleasant tasting, it's important to establish these safe quantities through chewing, as opposed to grinding then swallowing. Many people choose to grind their kernels and mix them with a liquid or some other more palatable substance. However, it's important to be mindful that this creates a very different experience for the body. When apricot kernels are chewed, side-effects can be experienced very soon after, as the amygdalin molecule's constituents are liberated in the mouth. They then very quickly enter the blood supply.
It is a myth and misconception that the molecule is liberated only at the site of cancer. Contrary to popular belief, apricot kernels themselves contain an enzyme capable of unlocking the amygdalin molecule. This enzyme is called, 'Amygdalase', which is a beta-glucosidase. When the kernel is crushed, as with chewing, and mixed with a liquid, such as saliva, the catalyst enzyme is brought into contact with the amygdalin molecule and the liberation takes place. The bitterness you taste is hydrocyanic acid, the marzipan flavor is benzaldehyde.
Ground apricot kernels don't undergo the same reaction. By grinding the kernels, they are essentially being broken down into thousands of miniature kernels. They haven't actually been crushed, nor mixed with a water containing-liquid, such as saliva. If they're mixed with juice or into a smoothie, they remain thousands of tiny kernels as they quickly pass through our mouths and into the digestive system. It isn't until they reach the intestines that the liberation occurs. Without first establishing safe consumption quantities through chewing, the risk exists that one might consume a quantity that exceeds their natural capacity to process amygdalin safely.
It is also very, very important not to mix ground or crushed apricot kernels into some sort of amygdalin concoction. For instance, I have heard of some individuals experimenting with the production of apricot kernel milk, which is made just like almond milk. What happens in these scenarios is, amygdalin liberates within the liquid itself without the counterbalance of the neutralizing systems encountered within the body. It is possible that the liberated components of amygdalin may increase in concentration the longer the liquid stands. Not a good idea. Be rational with your consumption of apricot kernels. You're forgiven for being eager and ambitious, but patience and restraint must be exercised.
The posts created within this blog are my opinions or those of other proponents of apricot kernels and their use therapeutically. Though I endeavor to write nothing that isn't factual, I am not a scientist nor am I doctor. My writings are based on many years of experience, observation and research, and the conclusions drawn are my own. I want to stress the importance of having the advice and guidance of a practiced and experienced healthcare professional. You should only take my writings into consideration in the course of arriving at your own conclusions following extensive research. Research is essential in a proactive approach to well-being. You should feel well-informed and empowered before making any decisions about your health.