Pregnant? You Might Want To Stay Away From Liquorice
We all know that alcohol, sushi and large amounts of caffeine are big no-no’s when it comes to pregnancy. But a recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that expectant mothers should also avoid liquorice. Glycyrrhizin, the natural sweetener that liquorice is made from, can have negative long-term effects on the development of the foetus.
A group of researchers from the University of Helsinki compared 378 children, whose mothers consumed more than 500mg of glycyrrhizin per week to those who consumed less than 249mg per week.
Researchers then gave the 13-year-old youths cognitive reasoning tests to complete to measure their intelligence.
The Finnish researchers found that children whose mothers consumed little or no glycyrrhizin,performed better in the memory capacity tests. They also scored an average of seven IQ points more.
Children whose mothers consumed large amounts of glycyrrhizin were also noted to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Girls whose mothers ate large amounts of the sweetener started puberty earlier than their peers.
Glycyrrhizin is also known to intensify the effect of the stress hormone cortisol. Although cortisol is necessary for a foetus’ development, large amounts of the hormone can be detrimental to its development.
The Verdict: Traditionally liquorice has been used in medicine because of it’s health benefits. It’s even said to help fight tooth decay. But too much of a good thing can be bad for you, and your baby.