I may be one of the few people left, but I LOVE black licorice. Love it. I special order the old style black licorice pipes by the pound. I just can't help it, it's my guilty pleasure. But, according to the FDA, apparently too much black licorice can cause serious health issues...maybe even kill you.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues a warning every Halloween to not eat too much black licorice. And, I guess for the first 30+ years of my life, I just missed the memo. Some of the claims made by the FDA are frightening.

And these aren't just random scare tactics either. Dozens of medical journals have linked black licorice to health problems in people over 40, some of whom had a history of heart disease and/or high blood pressure.

Medical experts say Glycyrrhizin can cause potassium levels in the body to fall. When that happens, some people experience abnormal heart rhythms, as well as high blood pressure, swelling, lethargy, and life threatening health issues like congestive heart failure.

FDA experts said potassium levels are usually restored with no permanent health problems when consumption of black licorice stops.

However, if you're like me and love black licorice, the FDA has some tips:

  • Don’t eat large amounts of black licorice at one time.
  • If you have been eating a lot of black licorice and have an irregular heart rhythm or muscle weakness, stop eating it immediately and contact a doctor.
  • Black licorice can interact with some medications, herbs and dietary supplements. Consult a health care professional if you have questions about possible interactions with a drug or supplement you take.
  • If you’ve experienced any problems after eating licorice, contact the FDA consumer complaint coordinatorin your area.


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