Although rare, eating too much black licorice for long periods of time can lead to serious health issues, such as increased blood pressure, water retention, and irregular heartbeat, which may even lead to death.
Learn about how black licorice can affect your body and what amount is safe for consumption.
How does black licorice affect your health?
Licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid, which is a sweetener. While it does not cause harm to the body in small amounts, too much glycyrrhizic acid can lead to altered levels of potassium and sodium, which can lead to changes in blood pressure and heart rhythm.
Altered potassium levels and potassium deficiency can further lead to mortality due to:
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Edema (swelling)
- Congestive heart failure
What is a safe amount of black licorice?
The FDA advises consuming black licorice in small amounts and avoiding large amounts in one sitting.
If you consume a large amount of licorice and notice that your heart is beating abnormally or your muscles are twitching, talk to your doctor. This is especially important if you use any medications or dietary supplements that could be impacted by the increased amount of glycyrrhizic acid in your body.
If you are 40 or older, consuming 2 ounces of black licorice daily for 2 weeks or more may land you in the hospital. There have even been reports of people dying from eating too much black licorice.
How to consume black licorice safely
Licorice has a long history of being used to address several health concerns.
For example, researchers have reported that deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) may help treat dyspepsia. Other studies have reported that licorice root can help stress hormones and alleviate symptoms of menstrual periods.
However, the National Institutes of Health suggests that more research is required to confirm whether licorice can treat diseases.
If you want to eat black licorice, whether for its taste or for its potential health benefits, it is best to follow precautions from the FDA:
- If you take medications, herbs, or supplements, talk to your doctor about potential drug interactions.
- If you consume black licorice and experience muscular weakness or irregular heartbeats, stop immediately and consult your doctor.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
How Much Black Licorice Does It Take To Overdose? https://www.consumerreports.org/consumerist/how-much-black-licorice-does-it-take-to-overdose/
Man dies from licorice overdose. https://chsnews.org/8107/news/man-dies-from-licorice-overdose/