Man dies from overdose of black licorice

A 54-year-old man in Massachusetts died from eating too much black licorice, reports a cardiologist in the New England Journal of Medicine. Apparently the deceased at a bag and a half every few weeks.

"Even a small amount of licorice you eat can increase your blood pressure a little bit," said Massachusetts General Hospital cardiologist Dr. Neel Butala.

From the Associated Press:

The problem is glycyrrhizic acid, found in black licorice and in many other foods and dietary supplements containing licorice root extract. It can cause dangerously low potassium and imbalances in other minerals called electrolytes.

Eating as little as 2 ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks could cause a heart rhythm problem, especially for folks over 40, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.[…]

The man had switched from red, fruit-flavored twists to the black licorice version of the candy a few weeks before his death last year. He collapsed while having lunch at a fast-food restaurant. Doctors found he had dangerously low potassium[…]

image: Pikaluk from UK – Flickr (CC BY 2.0)