Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Eating Licorice In Pregnancy May Affect A Child's IQ And Behavior

Date:
October 7, 2009
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Expectant mothers who eat excessive quantities of licorice during pregnancy could adversely affect their child's intelligence and behavior, a study has shown. A study of 8-year-old children whose mothers ate large amounts of licorice when pregnant found they did not perform as well as other youngsters in cognitive tests.

Black licorice.
Credit: iStockphoto/Jill Fromer

Expectant mothers who eat excessive quantities of licorice during pregnancy could adversely affect their child's intelligence and behavior, a study has shown.

A study of eight year old children whose mothers ate large amounts of licorice when pregnant found they did not perform as well as other youngsters in cognitive tests.

They were also more likely to have poor attention spans and show disruptive behavior such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

It is thought that a component in licorice called glycyrrhizin may impair the placenta, allowing stress hormones to cross from the mother to the baby.

High levels of such hormones, known as glucocorticoids, are thought to affect fetal brain development and have been linked to behavioral disorders in children.

The results of the study are published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Eight-year-olds whose mothers had been monitored for licorice consumption during pregnancy were tested on a range of cognitive functions including vocabulary, memory and spatial awareness.

Behavior was assessed using an in-depth questionnaire completed by the mother, which is also used by clinicians to evaluate children's behavior.

The study, carried out by the University of Helsinki and the University of Edinburgh, looked at children born in Finland, where consumption of licorice among young women is common.

Professor Jonathan Seckl, from the University of Edinburgh's Centre 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 500mg of glycyrrhizin per week – found in the equivalent of 100g of pure licorice – were more likely to have children with lower intelligence levels and more behavioral problems.

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

Of the children who took part in the study, 64 were exposed to high levels of glycyrrhizin in licorice, 46 to moderate levels and 211 to low levels.

The research followed on from a study which showed that licorice consumption was also linked to shorter pregnancies. Laboratory studies have also shown a link between the placenta not working to prevent stress hormones from passing through to the fetus, as well as a link to cardiac and metabolic disorders and behavioral problems in later life.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Eating Licorice In Pregnancy May Affect A Child's IQ And Behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006093349.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2009, October 7). Eating Licorice In Pregnancy May Affect A Child's IQ And Behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006093349.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Eating Licorice In Pregnancy May Affect A Child's IQ And Behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006093349.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins