General Information

Functional Class:
  • Food Contaminant


Evaluation year: 2005
Comments: The Committee concluded that the critical effect of glycyrrhizinic acid is pseudohyperaldosteronism, which, when sustained, can lead to elevated blood pressure.The Committee concluded that the safety evaluation of glycyrrizinic acid should be based on the data from humans. As the available data from clinical studies did not allow the Committee to adequately characterize sensitive population subgroups, an ADI for glycyrrhizinic acid was not established. The available data suggest that an intake of 100 mg/day (about 2 mg/kg bw per day) would be unlikely to cause adverse effects in the majority of adults. The Committee recognized that, in certain highly susceptible individuals, physiological effects could occur at intakes somewhat below this figure. The intake data indicate that consumers with a high intake of liquorice confectionery or herbal tea containing liquorice may be exposed to glycyrrhizinic acid at more than 100 mg per day.
Intake: Mean intake in the whole population: 0.01 to 0.1 mg/kg bw per day. For consumers only: 5 to 50 mg/day (mean) and 100 to 300 mg/day (95th percentile). On the basis of a mean content of 126 mg of glycyrrhizinic acid per litre of herbal tea containing liquorice, high levels of exposure may be expected in regular consumers of these beverages
Tolerable Intake: NONE ESTABLISHED
Meeting: 63
Report: TRS 928-JECFA 63/121
Tox Monograph: FAS 54-JECFA 63/561
Estimated exposure

Best estimate: 5-50 (mean)/ 100-300 (P95) mg/person/day

Toxicological study
Pivotal Study: Clinical studies (Bijlsma et al., 1996; van Gelderen et al., 2000): Randomized double-blind treatment study conducted in the Netherlands, 39 healthy female volunteers (aged 18–40 years; body weights, 50–90 kg, n= 9-11/group) were given capsules containing glycyrrhizinic acid at a dose of 0, 1, 2, or 4 mg/kg bw per day administered orally for 8 weeks.
Animal specie: Human
Effect: Inhibition of the type-2 11b-HSD, with a consequent increase in concentrations of cortisol
NOAEL: 2 mg/kg bw/d
Point of departure: None determined, due to lack of data on sensitive population subset