According to doctors, a 54-year-old man died after eating a bag and a half of liquorice every day.
The construction worker, who had shown no symptoms, suddenly had a heart attack while eating in a fast food restaurant, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Doctors say glycyrrhizic acid in licorice caused the extreme reaction.
Dr. Elazer R Edelman said studies showed that glycyrrhizic acid – found in licorice – could “cause high blood pressure, hypokalemia, metabolic alkalosis, fatal arrhythmias and kidney failure”.
The symptoms were all later found in the patient, including hypokalemia – where blood potassium levels become dangerously low.
Weeks before his death, the man had switched from red liquorice to black.
Dr. Andrew L Lundquist agreed with the report that the liquorice was responsible for the man’s death.
He wrote, “Further investigation indicated that a licorice-containing candy was recently changed as the likely cause of his hypokalemia.”