A 54-year-old man lost his life in the United States, the cause being as surprising as it was alarming: an intense addiction to black licorice. This unusual story caught the attention of scientists who dug deep to understand the causes of this tragic death.
When a sweet turns into a nightmare: the deadly addiction to black licorice
The late man, whose identity remains confidential, used to consume an impressive daily dose of black licorice, a bag and a half. He succumbed to a heart attack in the middle of a meal in a fast-food restaurant. Researchers, intrigued by this sudden and unusual death, decided to analyze this situation in detail to determine the causes.
According to Dr. Elazer R. Edelman, who spoke to the BBC We were told that this patient had a bad diet and consumed a large quantity of sweets. Could his illness be linked to his excessive consumption of sweets?” According to the results of the study he directed, which was published in the scientific journal New England Journal of Medicine the answer is a resounding yes.
Glycyrrhizic acid: a deadly component hidden in licorice
The culprit of this tragic death would be glycyrrhizic acid, a component present in licorice. Doctors believe that this substance can cause numerous health problems such as “hypertension, hypokalemia, metabolic alkalosis, fatal arrhythmias and renal failure”. All these health problems were present in this man who worked as a construction worker in the United States.
The victim's relatives revealed to doctors that recently the man had changed his confectionery diet from red licorice to other black licorice-based sweets. This information reinforced Dr. Andrew L. Lundquist's hypothesis about the cause of death: licorice.
The fatal change: from red to black licorice
According to Dr. Lundquist, “further investigation revealed a recent switch to a licorice-containing confection as the probable cause of his hypokalemia. This condition, which is manifested by dangerously low levels of potassium in
the blood, is believed to have been the triggering factor that led to this worker's death. It is a tragic and striking reminder that even the most innocent indulgences can sometimes have serious and unforeseen consequences.