Licorice limit questioned following low dose blood pressure increases

The research, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ​and funded by Linköping University, noted the significant suppression of renin and aldosterone as well as an impact on blood pressure following intakes of glycyrrhizinic acid (GA) contained in licorice.

“We found licorice to be more potent than previously known, with significant increases in BP, after a daily intake of only 100 mg of GA,” the researchers wrote. “Thus, the safe limit of intake of this substance might need to be reconsidered.”

“These effects have not previously been demonstrated for such moderate amounts of daily intake of licorice, which is within the range that has been regarded as ‘probably safe’ for most individuals,” they added.

Luca Bucchini, managing director at Hylobates Consulting, explained that previous safety investigations into licorice have resulted in some EU Member States, such as France and Belgium, choosing to set a limit of 100 mg for food supplements.

“Indeed, the EU assessed glycyrrhizinic acid from licorice in 2003, due to concerns going back to at least the 1990s, and found that below 100 mg there would be limited concerns,” he told NutraIngredients.

“In this sense, the concern is not new. However, the 100 mg limit was based on modelling of data, and the new study may suggest lower limits for maximum daily dose and/or warnings. Nevertheless, given the rare use of licorice in food supplements, the overall health impact is likely to be low, though it is important for hypertensive consumers to limit consumption of licorice from any source.”