Licorice During Pregnancy Causes Mental Health Issues in Kids

Last modified: June 6, 2019

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Do you crave licorice during pregnancy? New study links the candy to mental health issues in kids, causing major concern for moms to be. Cognitive and behavioral problems are two risk factors involved.


Licorice During Pregnancy Causes Mental Health Issues in Kids

Women certainly have enough to think about during pregnancy. And now they can’t even enjoy licorice due to mental health side effects for their babies. What’s next, pickles and ice cream? The recent study is, however, a reminder for you to be cautious about what you eat, because it may affect your kids.

Licorice During Pregnancy Causes Mental Health Issues in Kids

Can Licorice Really Cause Mental Health Issues in Kids? New Study Says Yes

The study from Finland was conducted at the University of Helsinki and published this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The study linked licorice natural sweetener glycyrrhizin to changes in the placenta.

The licorice, or rather the glycyrrhizin, changes the placenta, allowing stress hormones like cortisol to easily pass from mother to baby. Yes, some cortisol is good, but too much can cause mental health and brain development problems in kids.

Researchers followed 378 kids born in 1998 for 13 years. The children of mothers who ate up to 500 milligrams of licorice per week had lower scores on intelligence tests. Their memory was poorer than the kids of moms who did not eat glycyrrhizin, and had markers of ADHD.

Licorice During Pregnancy Causes Mental Health Issues in Kids

Girls of the study also appeared to begin puberty sooner if their mothers ate licorice during pregnancy. The findings are a clear warning for pregnant women to steer clear of glycyrrhizin, as it has shown mental health issues down the road.

Licorice During Pregnancy Also Linked to Preterm Birth

Licorice during pregnancy does not solely cause mental health issues in kids. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that glycyrrhizin was associated with preterm delivery.

Preterm labor occurs in 12 percent of all pregnancies, according to the American Pregnancy Association. There are a number of other potential causes, like multiple pregnancies, cervical abnormalities, and lifestyle choices such as smoking, and now eating licorice.

Licorice During Pregnancy Causes Mental Health Issues in Kids

Should You Eat Licorice During Pregnancy? What About Other Mental Health Causes?

The study from Finland was a rather small one. It was not a controlled experiment, according to media outlets, and the data surrounding the effects of glycyrrhizin may not be as robust as many researchers would like to see.

However, why even take the chance. If this sweet candy potentially causes mental health issues in kids and preterm labor, it should be skipped during pregnancy. It is simply candy anyway, and serves no purpose.

Do you have other pregnancy questions? Doctors are ready to chat with you. You can find peace of mind in the answers physician specialists provide from the comfort of your home. Take action, get the pregnancy facts you need and deserve today.


Submitted by Dr. Richard Honaker:

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

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