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Man dies after eating too much licorice



A study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a 54-year-old man died as a result of consuming too much licorice.

The man, a Massachusetts construction worker, passed out in a fast food restaurant and was taken to a hospital, where he died the next day.

Doctors wrote that he “had a poor diet, consisting mostly of several packs of candy a day,” and that three weeks earlier he switched from eating soft, fruit-flavored candy to licorice candy containing glycyrrhizic acid.

CNN reached out to Dr. Elazer Edelman, one of the study’s authors, is agile, waiting for feedback.

Glycyrrhizic acid, or glycyrrhizin, a sweetener compound found in licorice root, can cause a drop in potassium levels in the body, according to the FDA, which in turn can lead to high blood pressure, swelling, irregular heartbeat, and even heart failure.
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Individuals 40 and over should be extra vigilant when it comes to consuming black licorice: even 2 ounces a day for two weeks can cause an irregular heart rhythm and may require hospitalization, warns the FDA.

The negative effects of consuming too much licorice are reversible and subside when consumption is stopped. A return to normal potassium levels can take one to two weeks, according to the study.

Fortunately, there are safe alternatives. According to the NIH, many licorice products available in the US contain no licorice, but anise oil, which has a similar taste.


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