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snopes
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Comment: There is an email floating around that says that people have died
from sunflower seed pieces becoming lodged in their intestines and the
subsequent root germination perforates their colon resulting in septic
shock. Is this true? My son loves sunflower seeds.

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Sabrina_Fairchild
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Sounds like a lot of poppy(seed)cock to me!

Reminds me of that episode of "Rugrats" where Chucky had swallowed a watermellon seed and Angelica told him it would grow and he'd explode.

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Xia
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I can't imagine that any terrestrial plant would be able to germinate in the intestines. Even if they could, who eats them without chewing? Pieces of a sunflower seed cannot germinate, it would have to be a whole seed.

However, sunflower seed shells (if you eat the shell as well as the inner seed) can cause instestinal problems and impaction.

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Mandrake
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During my second year of residency, I was consulted on a patient who had eaten a two-pound bag of sunflower seeds in one sitting and had developed a sunflower seed impaction of his rectum. Several days of mineral oil enemas and manual disimpaction by the medical students finally opened him up.

Right before the patient was discharged from the hospital, the chief resident stopped by to talk to him, and to remind him not to do this again.

He replied: "Don't worry, doc, I'm only gonna eat pumpkin seeds from now on."

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CatPurrson
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... and then there's the fact that most sunflower seeds sold in the US are roasted (at least the ones I see in stores), so that kills the little sunflower seed embryo. And the GI environment tends not to be hospitable to many organisms.

Aside from allergies, the only other hazard I could think of with sunflower seeds would be for someone with diverticulosis.

CatPurrson

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TB Tabby
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quote:
Originally posted by Xia:
I can't imagine that any terrestrial plant would be able to germinate in the intestines. Even if they could, who eats them without chewing? Pieces of a sunflower seed cannot germinate, it would have to be a whole seed.


An don top of that, we're assuming that the seed would be able to survive digestion intact. Would they be considered food if they were indigestible?

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kjbrasda
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What happens when you swallow a seed?--> http://www.angusoblong.net/books/janet.html
(slightly nfbsk perhaps)

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Ms Congeniality
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This just sounds like an Old Wives Tale to me.

I dont' see how a seed can germinate in a stomach full of acids..

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