Women with high liquorice consumption when they are pregnant have more tendency to give birth to kids with cognitive or behavioral issues than those who don’t consume a lot of liquorice during pregnancy, a small Finnish study has revealed. A few earlier laboratory experiments have linked a natural sweetener that is found in liquorice root and known as glycyrrhizin to changes that occur in the placenta thus making it very easy for the stress hormone cortisol to be transferred from the aforementioned mums to their developing kids according to the lead researcher and author Katri Raikkonen from the University of Helsinki.
Some cortisol promotes fetal development, however too much consumption could change neurodevelopmental processes and accelerate cognitive or behaviour problems in the future, Katri Raikkonen stated via email.
For the present study, researchers carried out thorough examination based on the data of 378 kids born in the Finland capital of Helsinki in 1998 and their mothers, asking the women about their liquorice intake after giving birth and thereafter assess kids for developmental problems when they were around 13 years old.
Boys and girls born to mothers who take in a lot of liquorice when they are pregnant – which researchers described as an amount made up of at least 0.02 ounces (500 milligrams) of glycyrrhizin per week – had poorer memory, bigger odds of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and also had lower scores on intelligence tests than kids whose mothers ate little or no liquorice when they are pregnant, the study found.
Girls appeared to begin puberty earlier as well when mothers consumed a lot of liquorice when they are pregnant.
Due to the fact that liquorice extracts are used extensively to serve as sweeteners in drinks, food, and some herbal products, a 2006 study estimated average glycyrrhizin intake in the US as from 1.85 mg to 205 mg on a daily basis for a 150-pound person.
In the present study, 327 of the kids were subjected to no more than 249 mg of glycyrrhizin per week or no liquorice at all in utero, researchers reveal in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Mothers of these children took on average 47 mg of glycyrrhizin on a week basis during pregnancy.
Another 51 children had mothers who took at least 500 mg of glycyrrhizin on a weekly basis while they are pregnant or around 845 mg on the average weekly.
Children exposed to a lot of liquorice intake scored over 7 age-standardized points lower as regards estimated verbal, general and performance IQ in comparison with kids that are exposed to little or no liquorice in utero and did worse on tests determining verbal productivity and memory as well.
Children with high exposure to glycyrrhizin also had over three-fold bigger chances of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) according to the study.
Girls with bigger glycyrrhizin exposure when they were in the womb tend to begin breast development earlier and generally weigh more as well than girls whose mothers took small liquorice or didn’t take at all.
Aside from its small size, another limitation associated with the study is that it is not a controlled experiment created to prove that the consumption of liquorice directly impacted negatively thereby leading to developmental issues in kids, researchers note.
They lacked adequate data concerning the amount of glycyrrhizin in any liquorice women consumed while they are pregnant or other drink or food they could have taken in with glycyrrhizin in it as well.