How to die from cyanide in 2 seconds?

After watching the movie The Downfall in which Hilter and the Goebels family die from cyanide pills, I wondered about the mechanism by which this chemical could kill in 1-2 seconds. I realize that cyanide completely shuts down a cells ability to make energy so it makes sense that cells in the mouth would die instantly but how does it reach the brain so quickly?

Cyanide takes minutes to kill. 1 - 2 seconds? Poppycock.

There were no witnesses to the death of Eva Hitler aside from her husband, who shot himself. Several minutes passed before anyone dared to enter his study.

Wikipedia says that cyanide will kill in a matter of a few minutes, implying something between 2 and 10. I don’t know of any ingested poison that will kill faster than that.

The Master Speaks

The nerve gas, VX. Sarin, seems to be the winner, killing in 60 seconds.

it doesn’t, and as others have said, cyanide won’t kill that fast. Under certain circumstances though, it can cause unconciousness that fast.

A good inhaled whiff of hydrogen cyanide or volatile cyanide compound can cause virtually instant unconciousness (reportedly it can black you out on your feet) although I’ve never been able to uncover the mechanism. My WAG is that the cyanide-loaded blood passes through the heart in a couple of heartbeats, into the arch of the aorta where it affects the arterial wall and causes it to dilate, making blood pressure drop like a stone.

Now, presumably the “cyanide pills” contained either a capsule of hydrocyanic acid, or a cyanide salt. Acid might possibly have been concentrated enough to give off sufficient cyanide vapour in the mouth to have the “instant blackout” effect. Cyanide salt might give off HCN gas when it hits the stomach, but I’m not really buying that as a mechanism for rapid action.

As someone who worked in the electroplating industry, I can at least confirm this. I never experienced it myself, but I knew one guy that did. I got a light hit one time, but I’m not sure about the exposure route. I think injesting cyanide might black you out pretty quickly. It wont kill that fast though.

I’m so glad this Thread didn’t include the phrase-“need answer fast”.