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.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Apricot Kernels - Some Work, Some Don't.

I've already covered this to some degree in an earlier post, but the importance of this concept can't be stressed enough.

I'd first like to point out, however, that apricot kernels must be used intelligently and safely. It is possible to overwhelm our natural capacities to process amygdalin without adverse reactions. We don't want these reactions and we can avoid them treading carefully. We all have varying tolerances, and quantities must be varied accordingly. The variation in amygdalin concentrations from one kernel to the next makes it necessary to be particularly cautious and dismissive of general dosage recommendations.

My intent with this entry is to provoke consideration that is seldom given. If you're experiencing benefit from the apricot kernels you're presently using, continue with them, regardless.

I had some email correspondence with an individual who had been purchasing his kernels from a supplier in Australia. Following a temporary ban of their kernels and closure of their site, this individual was forced to purchase his apricot seeds from another supplier, as were many others. Having made the assumption that all bitter apricot seeds are essentially the same, this individual continued to use these kernels at the same rate he had been using the originals. What he didn't realize was that the original supply had a much higher concentration of amygdalin, which meant that he had slashed his amygdalin dosage by a significant margin. The result was a decline in his state of wellness. Fortunately, he made the connection between this downturn and the quality of these replacement apricot seeds. It was later discovered that these seeds were a much inferior, imported product being sold as Australian.

All bitter apricot kernels are not the same, nor are they similar enough to apply the same dosage to all cultivars. The range of amygdalin per kilogram of commercially available "bitter" apricot kernels is vast - from roughly 1,500mg/kg to nearly 70,000mg/kg. This entire range may be sold and marketed as bitter apricot kernels, with implications of their suitability in therapeutic applications. A large percentage of apricot kernel vendors would be unaware that their products have little to no efficacy in this regard. We can reasonably assume that the average falls somewhere within the middle at between 15,000mg/kg and 50,000mg/kg.

In the very bitter varieties, such as those in the upper range containing close to 50,000 mg/kg, just 15 kernels is roughly equivalent to 500mg of amygdalin. In contrast, 15 kernels on the lower end of the average will yield just 150mg of amygdalin. One would have to consume 50 kernels to achieve 500mg of amygdalin. 15 kernels versus 50 kernels. For some, a daily quantity might be as high as 60 kernels or close to 2,000mg of amygdalin in the more bitter varieties, versus 600mg in the less bitter varieties. For those not aware of the importance of a properly bitter source of kernels, a relatively large number of kernels may be yielding very little amygdalin. You can now see how some kernels might be effective where others fail to hit the mark, which would ultimately impact on the perception of efficacy across the board. If we were all using an appropriately bitter apricot kernel, we could reasonably assume that the success rates could be much higher.

Read my post on safe dosage. Be sensible and responsible. Most importantly, don't rush it.

Take it upon yourself to know where your apricot kernels come from. Don't be lured by marketing spin, such as "Hunza" or "Hunza region". These are simply terms used to give kernels from Pakistan or India greater credit than they deserve. Most of the kernels that come from this region are of sweeter varieties. All apricot kernels imported en masse have undergone undesirable treatments required by the customs/quarantine departments of the world. They are typically old, oxidized and can be rancid or well on their way. Choose local whenever possible. If you're in Canada, the United States or Australia, home-grown options are readily available to you. Choose the most bitter kernel available, which is the kernel containing the most amygdalin. If you must use foreign kernels, purchase only from reputable sources.


  1. What an amazing blog, it's such a valuable resource. Many thanks!

  2. I had no idea that not all apricot seeds are the same. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. Thanks for researching and posting this valuable information.

    1. Your information is valuable of course, but I don't read anywhere in it the specifics, i.e., what brand. I have been getting my Apricot kernals from Apricot Power. How am I to know of their efficacy? What specific brand do you recommend and how do I do the research on them? Regards, Dave C

    2. Hi Dave,

      This is a good question, but one that's actually very difficult to answer. Apricot Power is one of the few suppliers who appear to know the content of their apricot kernels. Their website FAQ states that there is approximately 10mg of amygdalin in each kernel. Whether this is based on fact or assumption, I have no idea. This would mean that 50 kernels is approximately 500mg.

      I won't recommend any one vendor, as that isn't my purpose with this blog and I don't want it to be mistaken for my agenda. Dosages must be determined based on personal experience and the kernel used based on a taste comparison. Bitterness is indicative of amygdalin content. I would start with suppliers of kernels referenced as very bitter or extremely bitter. You have a frame of reference in Apricot Power's kernels. If the kernels aren't, in fact, "very bitter" or "extremely bitter", you should fairly expect the opportunity for a refund. I've recommended that people purchase from, at least, two different suppliers, if their quest is the most bitter apricot kernel. I appreciate this doesn't sound practical, but until suppliers can publish this data about their apricot kernels specifically and reliably, there's little in the way of options. Unfortunately, publishing this data will ruffle the feathers of regulatory authorities, which is one likely reason it isn't being openly discussed. In the eyes of conventional wisdom, higher levels of amygdalin equate to higher levels of hydrocyanic acid. From a regulatory perspective, which often seems to lack wisdom, these levels are too high for a food substance.

      The prescription of natural medicine was, once upon a time, an experiential method employed by an experienced practitioner. In the case of apricot kernels, being as varied as they are, this methodology makes self-prescription less than practical. We're forced to be experimental, which is okay. It's the only real way to arrive at suitable, safe dosages based on experience, rather than applying a one-size-fits-all approach, as is often the case. However, its a foreign concept in a modern world of quick fixes and colorful pills.

  4. Great article...
    I wonder if there is a way to test for amygdalin. Content

  5. Thanks very much. There is indeed. It's a relatively simple matter of testing for cyanide content and then extrapolating. All vendors should know the amygdalin content of the apricot kernels they are selling.

    The reality is, most vendors don't want to know, as they'd then have to admit to selling low-level kernels. Unfortunately, very bitter kernels are relatively rare in the world. If a standard made it a requirement to publish amygdalin content of any given kernel, the truly bitter kernels would become a very desirable commodity and their prices would quickly rise as a matter of supply and demand.

  6. Great article, thanks for the info. I have enjoyed the quality of the apricot kernels from Our Father's Farm. They are extremely bitter as you mentioned and they are certified organic. I find this to be of utmost priority as I wouldn't want to ingest a chemical laden product. That would defeat the purpose.

  7. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    Our Father's Farm sells a very good product, though many people find it cost-prohibitive. I was able to visit their farm a number of years ago. Lovely people. If cost is no barrier, they're a great option.

    Provided that the kernels are processed mindfully and they've come from quality orchards, chemicals are no concern for the kernel. The chemicals used are generally topical insect treatments that have no impact on the kernel itself. The evidence for chemical build-up comes from almonds, but these are very different to apricot kernels in that they are housed by a very absorbent husk without the benefit of fruit mass as protection, as with apricots. More often than not, the varieties being grown as organic are of sweeter cultivars, so organic by no means equates to the best option available, and tends not to.

    For foods that would be exposed to topical chemicals of the conventional realm, such as most fruit and vegetables, I wholeheartedly recommend organic whenever possible. If not possible, the non-organic counterparts should be submerged and very thoroughly washed and rinsed before use.