Experts from London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital and the University of Helsinki have cautioned expecting women against taking licorice.
They have revealed that children exposed to licorice in the mother’s womb are rendered at over one-third higher levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
The American Pregnancy Association has issued a list of foods that pregnant women should never even look at, including fish with mercury, raw shellfish, raw eggs, alcohol and unwashed vegetables.
Under the study, the researchers questioned mothers on their licorice consumption during their pregnancy. Also, their children were tested for cortisol levels at the age of eight years.
The results claim that mothers of those children tested to be exposed with higher cortisol levels consumed nearly half a gram of licorice a week or more during pregnancy, which is nearly 33% more as compared to those who had a control over its intake during pregnancy.
A naturally occurring sweet component present in licorice called glycyrrhizin, serves as the culprit that affects the hormone levels. These hormones are deemed to permit stress hormones to reach the baby thereby posing a negative impact on brain development of the baby.