ChronicLyme19 wrote:Has anyone heard of using licorice root for adrenal fatigue? Did it work for you? A new friend I met suggested this as this is what her LLMD told her to take. Drawbacks seem to include possible increased blood pressure.
I have indeed read about the use of licorice root in alternative medicine, however I've recently read even more about the potential drawbacks of prolonged and/or excessive use of licorice, so that's what I'm posting about here -- just in case you haven't come across these yet. The possibility of dangerously low potassium levels (which can result in a potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmia) is greatly increased if a person is using a diuretic like Lasix because that already lowers potassium levels.
Hum Exp Toxicol. 2012 Dec;31(12):1295-8. doi: 10.1177/0960327112446843. Epub 2012 May 31.
Licorice induced hypokalemia, edema, and thrombocytopenia.
Celik MM1, Karakus A, Zeren C, Demir M, Bayarogullari H, Duru M, Al M.
1Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Mustafa Kemal University, Hatay, Turkey.
Licorice originates from the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra, which has a herbal ingredient, glycyrrhizic acid, and has a mineralocorticoid-like effect. Chronic intake of licorice induces a syndrome similar to that found in primary hyperaldosteronism. Excessive intake of licorice may cause a hypermineralocorticoidism-like syndrome characterized by sodium and water retention, hypertension, hypokalemia, metabolic alkalosis, low-renin activity, and hypoaldosteronism. In this case report, an association of hypokalemia, edema, and thrombocytopenia that is developed due to the excessive intake of licorice is presented. There are case reports in the literature, which suggest that toxicity findings may emerge with hyperaldosteronism-like manifestations such as hypokalemia, edema, and hypertension. However, any knowledge of thrombocytopenia as a resultant was not encountered among these reported toxic effects. Our case is important because it shows that the excessive intake of licorice may cause a toxic effect in the form of thrombocytopenia. This report is the first presented case to show thrombocytopenia due to licorice syrup consumption.
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/ma ... c6bb8.html
Ther Adv Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Aug;3(4):125-38. doi: 10.1177/2042018812454322.
Licorice abuse: time to send a warning message.
Omar HR1, Komarova I, El-Ghonemi M, Fathy A, Rashad R, Abdelmalak HD, Yerramadha MR, Ali Y, Helal E, Camporesi EM.
1Internal Medicine Department, Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, 2525 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616, USA.
Licorice extract has always been recognized as a sweetener and a thirst quencher. Its nutritive value is overrated by many who consume significant amounts and are prone to complications. Glycyrrhetic acid, the active metabolite in licorice, inhibits the enzyme 11-ß-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzyme type 2 with a resultant cortisol-induced mineralocorticoid effect and the tendency towards the elevation of sodium and reduction of potassium levels. This aldosterone-like action is the fundamental basis for understanding its health benefits and the wide spectrum of adverse effects. Herein, we present a comprehensive review of licorice along with the reported complications related to excess intake. Despite its apparent use in a few clinical scenarios, the daily consumption of licorice is never justified because its benefits are minor compared to the adverse outcomes of chronic consumption. The review highlights the importance of investigating the dietary habits and herbal remedies which are being used worldwide on cultural and habitual bases rather than reliable scientific evidence. Licorice is a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved food supplement used in many products without precise regulations to prevent toxicity. Increased awareness among the public is required through TV commercials, newspapers, internet sites, magazines and product labels regarding the upper limit of ingestion and health hazards associated with excess intake. We hope that this review will serve as a warning message that should be transmitted from physicians to patients to avoid excessive licorice intake as well as a message to the FDA to start regulating the use of this substance.
Licorice; glycyrrhizin; hyperaldosteronism; hypokalemic myopathy; pseudo-hyperaldosteronism
Jim Daubert: Beware of real black licorice — it put me in the hospital
November 06, 2014 8:00 am
Dear Editor: I am writing to encourage readers who may be planning to consume black licorice either as a tasty candy or as an alternative medicine to carefully read the Food and Drug Administration’s article: “Black Licorice: Trick or Treat?” and read the online WebMD information on "licorice side effects and safety."
The FDA article says: “If you are 40 or older, eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could land you in the hospital with an irregular heart beat or arrhythmia.” I was hospitalized recently for this very reason and do not want anyone to experience the suffering I endured during that two-day hospitalization!
It is important to understand that not all licorice candy is dangerous and not all candies called licorice contain the chemical compound glycyrrhizin, a sweetening compound derived from the root of the licorice plant. Glycyrrhizin compound depletes potassium (a vital electrolyte) in one’s body. I was told by my medical team that my potassium and other electrolytes were dangerously low due to chronic licorice consumption. I later read that if one’s potassium gets too low or too high, it can result in death.
One of my doctor's orders was to never eat real black licorice again if I wanted to avoid further life-threatening medical issues like I experienced. I will miss the taste of this wonderful candy but will never forget that eating real black licorice could lead to real black death!
Here's a fairly comprehensive review of the benefits and dangers of licorice written by a woman who has a PhD in medicinal chemistry, as well as degrees in biology and chemistry:
Evidence of Action
The evidence for licorice’s producing untoward and even dangerous side effects--high blood pressure and potassium loss--are far more thoroughly documented than its therapeutic actions. Nonetheless, it may promote the healing of ulcers, although because of its side effects, it should only be taken for limited time periods.
I get the distinct impression that the potential benefits of licorice have not yet been fully studied. The following is one exception:
What the Science Says
An injectable form of licorice extract—not available in the United States—has been shown to have beneficial effects against hepatitis C in clinical trials. There are no reliable data on oral forms of licorice for hepatitis C. More research is needed before reaching any conclusions.
There are not enough reliable data to determine whether licorice is effective for any condition.
The NYU website does include this snippet:
Licorice has been suggested as a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) , based on the observation that people with CFS appear to suffer from low levels of certain adrenal hormones. The glycyrrhizin portion of licorice may relieve symptoms by mimicking the effects of these hormones. However, this is a fairly dangerous approach to treatment that should be tried only under medical supervision. In addition, studies of drugs that even more closely imitate adrenal hormones have not found benefit.