Majority of us don't know what is called Cyanide. It is a poisonous substance we eat and inhale everyday ignorantly, its harmful and one of the leading cause of death today.
WHAT IS CYANIDE?
Cyanide is any chemical containing carbon Nitrogen bond. Many substances contains Cyanide but not all are deadly poisons. Substances like Sodium Cyanide(NaCN), hydrogen cyanide(HCN), potassium cyanide(KCN) etc, are lethal(i.e causing death), but thousands of substances called Nitriles contains the cyanide group yet are'nt as toxic.
HOW CYANIDE POISONS WORKS..
In a nutshell, cyanides prevents body cells from using Oxygen to make energy molecules. The cyanide ion binds to the iron atom in cytochrome C oxidase in the Mitochondria(power house) of the cells. It then act as an irreversible enzyme inhibitor, preventing cytochrome c oxidase from doing its job, which is to transport electrons to oxygen in the electron transport chain of aerobic cellular respiration.
Without the ability to use oxygen, mitochondria can't produce the energy carrier, Adenosine Triphosphate(ATP). Tissues that requires this form of energy such as heart muscle cells & nerve cells, quickly expends all their energy and start to die. When a large enough number of critical cells die, you die.
HOW DO WE GET EXPOSED TO THIS POISONOUS CHEMICAL?
Though cyanide can be used as a chemical warfare agent, most people are exposed to it unintentionally. Some ways to be exposed to cyanide include:
Eating Cassava products and inadequately processed cassava product(Garri), eating cherry and apple seeds, smoking cigarette, burning of plastics, inhaling smoke from a house fire, inhaling air that has been exposed to rodenticides etc..
Cyanide in fruit and other vegetables is in the form of cyanogenic glycosides(cyanoglycoside) but when undergoes some chemical processes, are converted to Cyanide which happens to be a deadly poison.
Be mindful of what you expose yourself to and live a healthy life today...