Tags: licorice | pregnant mom's | affect babies intelligence | behavior

Eating Licorice Can Affect Pregnant Moms’ Babies

Thursday, 08 Oct 2009 11:21 AM

Moms who eat lots of licorice while they are pregnant may affect their child’s intelligence as well as behavior. An eight-year study of children whose moms ate large amounts of licorice during their pregnancy didn’t perform as well on intelligence tests as other children. In addition, they were more likely to have short attention spans and suffer from ADHD and other disruptive behavior.

Researchers think that a chemical in licorice called glycyrrhizin may affect the placenta and allow stress hormones to travel from the mother to the baby. High levels of these types of hormones, called glucocorticoids, are believed to affect brain development and have been linked to behavior problems in children.

The children were tested for various cognitive functions including vocabulary, memory and spatial awareness.
The study, which was carried out by the University of Helsinki and the University of Edinburgh, scrutinized children born in Finland, where it’s common for young women to eat licorice.

Professor Jonathan Seckl, from the University of Edinburgh's Center for Cardiovascular Science, said: "This shows that eating licorice during pregnancy may affect a child's behavior or IQ and suggests the importance of the placenta in preventing stress hormones that may affect cognitive development getting through to the baby."

Women who ate more than 3.5 ounces of licorice a week (which includes 500mg of glycyrrhizin) had more children with lower intelligence levels and behavioral problems.

"Expectant mothers should avoid eating excessive amounts of licorice", said Professor Katri Räikkönen, from the University of Helsinki's Department of Psychology.

Former studies have also linked licorice consumption to shorter pregnancies, and laboratory studies shown a link between stress hormones passing through to the fetus, as well as a link to cardiac and metabolic disorders and behavioral problems in later life.

© HealthDay

 
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Moms who eat lots of licorice while they are pregnant may affect their child’s intelligence as well as behavior. An eight-year study of children whose moms ate large amounts of licorice during their pregnancy didn’t perform as well on intelligence tests as other children. In addition, they were more
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2009-21-08
Thursday, 08 Oct 2009 11:21 AM
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