Benefits and Dangers of Cassava

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May Have Dangerous Effects in Some Circumstances

Cassava may be dangerous if consumed raw, in large amounts or when it is prepared improperly. This is because raw cassava contains chemicals called cyanogenic glycosides, which can release cyanide in the body when consumed.

When eaten frequently, these increase the risk of cyanide poisoning, which may impair thyroid and nerve function. It is associated with paralysis and organ damage, and can be fatal. Those who have an overall poor nutrition status and low protein intake are more likely to experience these effects, since protein helps rid the body of cyanide.

This is why cyanide poisoning from cassava is a greater concern for those who live in developing countries. Many people in these countries suffer from protein deficiencies and depend on cassava as a major source of calories. What’s more, in some areas of the world, cassava has been shown to absorb harmful chemicals from the soil, such as arsenic and cadmium. This may increase the risk of cancer in those who depend on cassava as a staple food.

Summary: Frequent consumption of cassava is associated with cyanide poisoning, especially if it is consumed raw and prepared improperly.

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