Yes, black licorice can be bad for you. Eating more than 2 ounces (that’s 2 ropes or 50 jelly beans) per day for at least 2 weeks, per day can cause an irregular heartbeat or a rapid increase in blood pressure.
Black Licorice contains a substance called glycyrrhizin. Glycyrrhizin can affect a hormone in your body called aldosterone, which can drop your body’s potassium levels by making you pee more potassium. Your heart needs a certain amount of potassium in your system to work properly. It can also increase your sodium which causes you to retain more water and will increase your BP. Once you stop eating black licorice, your potassium level usually quickly return to normal
Of note, some candy companies use licorice flavoring or anise and not actual black licorice from the licorice plant. Though some companies have gotten in trouble for testing positive for lead in some of their licorice candies.
While it’s fine to eat a small amount of licorice occasionally, it’s best to avoid large amounts over a short period of time. If you’ve been eating a lot of licorice and are feeling weak, breathless or having heart palpitations, stop eating it and seek medical advice immediately.
Licorice can also interact with medications, so best avoided while taking any.
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