Biotest

Cyanide in Milled Flax Seeds?


#1

Not that I am very worried, just a bit corious…

Does anybody know how much milled flax seeds one can eat, before the cyanide becomes a risk?


#2

[quote]Floyd Linis wrote:
Not that I am very worried, just a bit corious…

Does anybody know how much milled flax seeds one can eat, before the cyanide becomes a risk?
[/quote]

I remember hearing that you should keep it below 4 tbsp/day.


#3

I sometimes use 5tbsp in each of my shakes. So I have 15+tbsp some days because I love the stuff. Any studies/articles to back this up?


#4

Hmmm. have been making breakfast breads -type of thing from milled flax seeds - one egg, some oil, salt and 50-100 grams of seeds. Then microwave it for minute or so - crunchy!.

So, sometimes ive been eating almost 200 grams of seeds a day. I aint dead yet.

Wikipedia says: Raw flax seed contains the chemical hydrogen cyanide (HCN) or cyanogenic glucosides which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities.


#5

[quote]Nick21 wrote:
I sometimes use 5tbsp in each of my shakes. So I have 15+tbsp some days because I love the stuff. Any studies/articles to back this up?[/quote]

Sorry no studies, just thought I share the dose I heard was safe. Doesn’t mean you can’t take more as another poster also pointed out.

Anyways, I turned down my volume to 3tbsp/day after hearing it. Flax isn’t that good even if I like the structure it brings to my shakes :wink:

Chia seeds seems to be an alternative as well.

EDIT:
I read Swampjesus post again, and he was making bread. Heat breaks the cyanide down, so ingested that way is no issue at all.


#6

[quote]curax wrote:
Nick21 wrote:
I sometimes use 5tbsp in each of my shakes. So I have 15+tbsp some days because I love the stuff. Any studies/articles to back this up?

Sorry no studies, just thought I share the dose I heard was safe. Doesn’t mean you can’t take more as another poster also pointed out.

Anyways, I turned down my volume to 3tbsp/day after hearing it. Flax isn’t that good even if I like the structure it brings to my shakes :wink:

Chia seeds seems to be an alternative as well.

EDIT:
I read Swampjesus post again, and he was making bread. Heat breaks the cyanide down, so ingested that way is no issue at all.[/quote]

Here’s something (pasted from http://www.gaiaresearch.co.za/flaxseed.html ):

Cyanogenic Glycosides

Flaxseed is increasingly being used in some food products because of its high content of alpha-linolenic acid and dietary fibre. However, flaxseed contains cyanogenic glycosides, which release toxic hydrogen cyanide in the presence of water (autohydrolysis).

(Chadha R, et al (Food Research Division, Bureau of Chemical Safety, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), Food Addit Contam, 12: 527, 1995) Cyanogenic glycosides (linamarin, linustatin, neolinustatin) were highest in extracted flaxseed mucilage.

We conclude that up to 50 g high-alpha-linolenic acid flaxseed is palatable, safe and may be nutritionally beneficial in humans by raising n-3 fatty acids in plasma and erythrocytes and by decreasing post-prandial glucose responses. Cunnane S, et al, (University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada) Br J Nutr, 69:443, 1993)

The presence of cyanogenic glycosides and diglucosides in flaxseeds is a concern, as they may release cyanide upon hydrolysis. In addition, the polyunsaturated fatty acids may undergo thermal or auto-oxidation (rancidity) when exposed to air or high temperatures that are used in food preparation (& needed to detoxify the cyanogenic glycosides in the mucilage).

Cyanide levels produced as a result of autolysis, are below the harmful limits to humans (remember however that �??the dose maketh the poison�??). (Wanasundara P & Shahidi F, Adv Exp Med Biol, 434: 307, 1998)

Cyanogenic Glycosides in Flaxseed

By Robin J. Marles, Ph.D.

The presence of cyanogenic glycosides in the diet is significant only in relation to dose and the nutritional status of the consumer. Flax seed meal contains two cyanogenic glycosides, linustatin and neolinustatin.

Many foods are slightly cyanogenic (e.g. wheat and barley!), probably as an evolutionary adaptation to discourage herbivory, and our body has a limited capacity to detoxify low concentrations of cyanide through addition of sulphur (from amino acids) to form thiocyanate or reaction with cysteine directly to form beta-cyanoalanine.

Thus if the dietary levels of sulphur-containing amino acids are high the body can resist a low intake of cyanide, but if the diet is low in protein overall or due to imbalances in vegetable protein amino acid composition it is low in the sulphur-containing amino acids, then we see toxicity.

The two most common symptoms of chronic cyanide intoxication are goitre, probably caused by high levels of thiocyanate formation where dietary protein levels are adequate and the detoxification mechanism is operating in high gear but the body can’t clear the thiocyanate product quickly enough,

And fibrocalculous pancreatic diabetes associated with protein malnutrition, where toxicity is probably directly due to cyanide because of the lack of adequate detoxification. Few of us are likely to consume significant quantities of flax seed, nor are those people consuming flax seed likely to have protein malnutrition.

Robin J. Marles, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Botany Department
Brandon University, Brandon, MB R7A 6A9 CANADA


#7

Cool, thanks for the replies! :slight_smile:


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