Birth outcome in relation to licorice consumption during pregnancy

Strandberg, TE; Jarvenpaa, AL; Vanhanen, H; McKeigue, PM; (2001) Birth outcome in relation to licorice consumption during pregnancy. American journal of epidemiology, 153 (11). pp. 1085-1088. ISSN 0002-9262 DOI:

Full text not available from this repository.


A role for glucocorticoids is suspected in the etiology of low birth weight. The authors tested whether maternal consumption of glycyrrhizin (an inhibitor of cortisol metabolism) in licorice affects birth weight in humans. A sample of 1,049 Finnish women and their healthy singleton infants was studied in 1998. Glycyrrhizin intake was calculated from detailed questionnaires on licorice consumption. Glycyrrhizin exposure was grouped into three levels: low (<250 mg/week; n = 751), moderate (250-499 mg/week; n = 145), and heavy (<greater than or equal to>500 mg/week; n = 110). Birth weight and gestational age (from ultrasound measurements) were obtained from hospital records. Babies with heavy exposure to glycyrrhizin were not significantly lighter at birth, but they were significantly more likely to be born earlier: The odds ratio for being born before 38 weeks' gestation was 2.5 (95% confidence interval: 1.1, 5.5; p = 0.03). Although the effect of heavy glycyrrhizin intake on mean duration of gestation was small (2.52 days) when expressed as an effect on the mean, this shift to the left of the distribution of duration of gestation was sufficient to double the risk of being born before 38 weeks. The association remained in multivariate analyses. In conclusion, heavy glycyrrhizin exposure during pregnancy did not significantly affect birth weight or maternal blood pressure, but it was significantly associated with lower gestational age.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: gestational age, glycyrrhiza, glycyrrhizic acid, hydroxysteroid, dehydrogenases, pregnancy, Corticotropin-releasing hormone, 11-beta-hydroxysteroid, dehydrogenase, glucocorticoid exposure, fetal, cortisol, men, Adult, Blood Pressure, Female, Finland, epidemiology, Gestational Age, Glycyrrhiza, adverse effects, Human, Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases, antagonists & inhibitors, Infant, Low Birth Weight, Infant, Newborn, Infant, Premature, Logistic Models, Parity, Plants, Medicinal, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Outcome, Questionnaires, Smoking, adverse effects, Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Non-Communicable Disease Epidemiology
PubMed ID: 11390327
Web of Science ID: 169005000009


Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads since deposit
Accesses by country - last 12 months
Accesses by referrer - last 12 months
Impact and interest
Additional statistics for this record are available via IRStats2

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item