They say that a good thing can be harmful, just like the case of a Massachusetts man whose love for black licorice eventually killed him.
In a recent case report detailed in the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors revealed that a 54-year-old Massachusetts construction worker had actually “overdose” black licorice. The candy contains glycyrrhizic acid, which causes the person’s potassium level to plummet.
Dangerously low potassium levels can cause abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, and in some cases congestive heart failure.
Dr. Neel Butala, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and one of the authors of the NEJM case report, told the Associated Press: “Even a small amount of licorice will raise blood pressure slightly.”
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The man was not found in the case report, and he collapsed while eating lunch at a fast food restaurant. This happened a few weeks after he switched from red licorice to black licorice. According to reports, he eats one bag or more of candy every day.
Perspective: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that if you are 40 years of age or older, eating at least two ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks may cause you to “enter the hospital with arrhythmia or arrhythmia” due to candy The compound glycyrrhizin is present in it.
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After the man collapsed, he immediately called emergency services and performed CPR. The author wrote that the man had recovered but “died comfortably by the bed with his family 32 hours after being discharged from the hospital.”
The amount of black licorice consumed by the person and the frequency of consumption make him unable to get enough nutrients, and eventually his heart stops working.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.