Licorice Extract Reduces Testosterone Levels in Men

Licorice extract is often used to treat a number of gastrointestinal disorders. However, new findings suggest that the chemicals in licorice could have an effect on testosterone levels, particularly in men.

Licorice Extract Reduces Testosterone Levels in Men

This research on licorice extract was presented at the British Pharmaceutical Conference, and it follows previous studies that have suggested a similar adverse affect in men. Reduced testosterone levels were reported in an Italian study in 1999, but U.S. researchers were unable to replicate this finding in a study published in the Lancet two years later.

Effect of Licorice Root Extract

In this study, a research team from Iran investigated the effect of licorice root extract in 20-healthy male volunteers. The group took 1.3-grams of dried extract (containing around 400 to 500-miligrams glycyrrhizic acid) daily for 10-days. Blood samples were collected before the study and for 20-days to measure testosterone levels.

Results showed a significant decrease in serum testosterone levels after 10-days of licorice consumption. The effect on testosterone is believed to relate to interference of the active agent glycyrrhizic acid with 17-beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, the enzyme that catalyses conversion of androstenedione to testosterone.

More research is needed to assess the hormonal effects of licorice. Until more results are available, I would advise male athletes not to consume this herbal extract.

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