A poison expert has revealed one of the world’s most painful substances to ingest – and its grim symptoms are so bad the senses are heightened before muscle vibrations tear away the tendons from the bone.
The deadly powder strychnine has reportedly been used by the Russian state to take out its enemies.
Russian whistleblower Alexander Perepilichnyy was found dead in London with a chemical substance similar to strychnine inside him, although an inquest failed to find direct evidence of murder.
The grim chemical is strictly banned in the UK because of its horrifying impact on the human body.
Poison expert Dr Neil Bradbury told the Daily Star: “One of the nasty things is that it’s a fairly slow acting poison and takes several hours to die.
“It’s excruciatingly painful. Unfortunately, it also has the effect of heightening the senses, so you’re acutely aware that something terrible is happening.
“Imagine every single muscle in your body contracting to its maximum all at the same time. Sometimes the contractions can be so strong the muscles actually rip the tendons away from the bones.”
Dr Bradbury, who has degrees in Biochemistry and Medical Biochemistry and penned the book A Taste for Poison: Eleven Deadly Substances and the Killers Who Used Them pointed out the wide range of ways poison could be ingested.
He said: “One case I find really interesting is the polonium given to ex-KGB double agent Alexander Litvinenko in a pot of tea. It’s amazing what people have used to mask the poisons.
“Poisoning is cold-blooded, it takes time and knowledge of how you're going to present the victim with the poison. There is a lot of planning in it.”
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Shockingly, despite strychnine’s horrific impact on the human body it has been used in the past as a performance-enhancing drug and Olympic weightlifter Izzat Artykov had his medal taken away in 2016 for testing positive for the substance.
Dr Bradbury explained: “It has not stopped people using it to increase muscle actions, even in recent years Olympics weightlifters have been stripped of their titles.
“It was found they’d been using strychnine to increase the contraction of their muscles so they could lift heavier weights… not one of the smartest ones to use.”
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