Eating Liquorice during Pregnancy May Harm Child’s Intelligence

Indulging in liquorice-rich diet on the part of the expectant mom can influence the fetus, negatively shaping his intelligence and behavior in future life, as the new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology informs. The research showed that mothers who liked to take much liquorice with their meals gave birth to children who displayed impaired cognitive functions in terms of memory and spatial awareness. Their vocabulary also proved to be limited for their age.


Liquorice contains a component called glycyrrhizin that enables stress hormones or glucocorticoids reach across the placenta to the fetus and affect the development of the brain. Besides inhibiting the child’s intelligence it can also make for unruly behavior.

A regular intake of over 100g of pure liquorice (that is, 500mg of glycyrrhizin) for several weeks during pregnancy has been found to correlate with lower intelligence and poor attention spans in the children.

Scientists underline that impaired attention caused by high amounts of liquorice in the mother’s food may in future cause the development of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other kinds of behavioral disorders.

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