To Your Health: Local News
The Dangers of Black Licorice
Story Updated: Oct 30, 2013
CLEVELAND CLINIC -- There aren't many candies that come with a warning label. But the Food and Drug Administration is encouraging everyone to enjoy black licorice this Halloween in moderation.
FDA researchers say there's a link between the candy and an irregular heartbeat.
"black licorice contains a compound that comes from licorice root that can lower your potassium levels and lower potassium levels can cause those abnormal heart arrhythmias," said Dietitian Kate Patton.
FDA experts say black licorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which is the sweetening compound derived from the licorice root. The compound can cause potassium levels in the body to decrease. When this happens, some people experience abnormal heart rhythms, while others may see their blood pressure rise, become lethargic, or suffer congestive heart failure. This is especially true if you're over 40 and have a history of heart disease and/or high blood pressure.
"If you already have heart disease or high blood pressure then you should be a little more cognizant of how you're feeling if you're eating this kind of licorice and stop eating it if you think you notice any type of irregular
heartbeats," said Patton.
So, how much is too much? Researchers say eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks.
Patton says the phenomenon is rare, but if you do feel funny after eating black licorice and you've had heart trouble in the past, don't hesitate to call your doctor.