In this article, we will answer the question “How long does it take to pass a cherry pit?”, what makes cherry pits poisonous, how much cyanide is in one cherry pit, what happens when you ingest cherry pits, and frequently asked questions about swallowing cherry pits.
How long does it take to pass a cherry pit?
It takes anywhere from 14 to 52 hours to pass a cherry pit. If you swallow a cherry pit without chewing, you have nothing to worry about.
Since the cherry pit is not digested by the stomach and cannot release amygdalin unless broken down. You should be concerned only when you chew and swallow several cherry pits.
Swallowing and chewing cherry pits is equally a health hazard for pets and children. If you suspect your dog has ingested several cherry pits, contact your vet.
What makes cherry pits poisonous?
The kernel or pit of the cherry, that protects the seed, contains amygdalin. Amygdalin is a cyanogenic glycoside that is not toxic initially. Once ingested, cyanogenic glycoside transforms into hydrogen cyanide; a highly toxic compound.
Hydrogen cyanide hinders the oxygen supply to your vital organs such as the heart, brain, and lungs, and interferes with their functioning. The toxic effect of cherry pits depends on how many pits were ingested and the subsequent amount of hydrogen cyanide produced.
How much cyanide is in one cherry pit?
A red cherry pit has a higher concentration of cyanide than a black cherry pit. The former contains about 3.9 mg of amygdalin per gram of fruit while the latter has 2.7 mg of cyanide per gram of fruit.
On the other hand, the Morello cherry pit contains a whopping 65 grams of cyanide, the highest among all types of cherry. The toxic effects of cyanide manifest at concentrations of 0.2–1.6 mg per pound (0.5–3.5 mg per kg) of body weight.
In other words, an individual who weighs 150 pounds (68 kg) will have to consume at least 30–240 mg of cyanide to experience its toxic effects. In this regard, 3–4 pits of the Morello cherry or 7–9 pits of red or black cherries are enough to render toxicity in the human body.
What happens when you ingest cherry pits?
Ingesting one or two cherry pits won’t harm either adults or children. However, children may be at the risk of choking and colon obstruction if they chew and swallow several cherry pits.
If your child has accidentally swallowed cherry pits or pits of other stone fruits, they may experience headaches, nausea, seizures, convulsions, and difficulty breathing.
If you observe any of these symptoms, seek help from 911 or poison control at 1-800-222-1222. Meanwhile, try to get your child to spit out the cherry pits.
What are the health benefits of cherry pits?
Apart from the notorious amygdalin, cherry pits have been found to contain beneficial antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Antioxidants protect your cells against free radical damage and prevent aging, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases.
Cherry pits and their extracts are being investigated for their beneficial effects in lowering uric acid levels in gout patients. The research is insufficient to form any conclusion about the healthfulness of cherry pits.
FAQs about swallowing cherry pits
Can you digest cherry pits?
Whole cherry pits follow the same path as food upon swallowing. However, whole cherry pits cannot be digested by the stomach. So, they pass into the excreta as-is.
How to avoid ingesting cherry pits?
Eat your fruit mindfully and spit out the pit after you have swallowed its flesh. Do not eat hastily. Teach your children to eat one cherry at a time and spit it out after eating the fruit. When using cherries in cooking or baking, take extra care to separate the pits from the fruit.
What to do if a cherry pit gets stuck in your throat?
The size of the cherry pit is not large enough for it to get stuck in your throat. But it might be a problem for children. Therefore, children should be taught to eat cherries without swallowing the pits. In case of an emergency, call 911 or poison control.
How to deseed a cherry?
De-seeding a cherry is a no-brainer. De-seeded cherries are the safest to feed to kids. Slit the cherry through the middle to remove the fruit. Use a sharp paring knife for this purpose. Be careful to not cut your finger.
In this article, we answered the question “How long does it take to pass a cherry pit?”, what makes cherry pits poisonous, how much cyanide is in one cherry pit, what happens when you ingest cherry pits, and frequently asked questions about swallowing cherry pits.