Black "Halloween" Licorice linked to Heart Trouble, FDA warns

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According to a report from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), too much "Halloween" black licorice can kill you.

According to a report from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), too much “Halloween” black licorice can kill you.

This is no holiday urban legend warning children not to gorge themselves on sweets on Halloween—this message is aimed specifically at adults over the age of 40, who can overdose on the black candy if they consume over two ounces per day for at least two weeks.

The danger of black licorice lies in the ingredient glycyrrhizin, a sweetening compound which can rapidly and tremendously decrease the body’s potassium levels. A significant drop in potassium levels can be connected to an irregular heart rhythm, high blood pressure, and even heart failure.

Numerous studies have connected black licorice to health problems in adults, especially in individuals who have a history of heart disease and high blood pressure.

According to Dr. Linda Katz, director of cosmetics and colors at the FDA, the agency received a report last year of an individual who suffered from many health issues due to consuming a surplus of the darkly dangerous candy.

The good news, though, is that once an individual ceases their intake of licorice, potassium levels restore to normal with no permanent health problems, stated Katz.

The FDA also warned consumers that black licorice can interfere with certain medications; it has been known to decrease the effectiveness of the anticoagulant drug Warfarin. Further, the National Institutes of Health stated that black licorice may hinder estrogen hormone pills, diuretics, and steroids.

The FDA urged all licorice lovers to cease consuming black licorice if they have been experiencing an irregular heartbeat and to contact a doctor immediately.

For anyone experiencing health problems as a result of the black candy, please contact the FDA's consumer complaint coordinator.

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