LivingWhy Pregnant Women Shouldn't Abuse Licorice

Why Pregnant Women Shouldn't Abuse Licorice

Pregnant women should avoid consuming large amounts of licorice. Different studies with animals have revealed that glycyrrhizin, a natural sweetener present in it, increases blood pressure, helps reduce gestation time and intensifies the effects of cortisol , the stress hormone, as it inhibits the enzyme that inactivates the release of this compound. And although cortisol is necessary for the correct development of the fetus, in excess it is harmful.

Now, a team of researchers coordinated by Professor Katri Räikkönen, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Helsinki, in Finland, points out that, in addition, it can affect the baby’s cognitive abilities in the long term . To determine this, Räikkönen and his colleagues studied 378 children around 13 years of age.

Thus, they observed that those whose mothers had ingested a lot of glycyrrhizin during pregnancy – more than 500 milligrams a week, that is, about 250 grams of licorice, compared to those who consumed less than 249 milligrams – not only processed the information worse – the Scientists estimate that the difference with their peers was equivalent to about seven IQ points – but they also had worse results in tests designed to assess their memory abilities. This excess could also contribute to advancing puberty in girls and be related to the manifestation of some behaviors linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

In the conclusions of their trial, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology , the researchers explain that pregnant women should be warned of all this, although it is necessary to keep things in the right measure. Thus, the occasional consumption of small amounts of licorice does not pose a risk , and glycyrrhizin is only one of the many compounds that affect the development of the fetus, so it is not possible to conclude to what extent it has done so in a specific individual .

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