DLG, deglycyrrhizinated, licorice, high blood pressure, ulcer, Barrett's esophagus

Ask the Doc: Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice

Ask the Doc: Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice

© 2012 Dr. Dale Peterson & drdalepeterson.com

I read that licorice is helpful in healing ulcers in the esophagus and stomach, but that it should be “deglycyrrhizinated.” What does deglycyrrhizinated mean and why is it important? V. M.

Dear V.M.:

Licorice contains a substance called glycyrrhizin, which is thirty to fifty times sweeter than sugar. It is not acceptable as a sugar substitute, because its sweetness is overpowered by its cooling licorice flavor. Licorice has been used to add flavor to foods for thousands of years. It has also been used to treat respiratory and digestive diseases.

Glycyrrhizin has antiviral effects and has been proposed as a treatment for AIDS, hepatitis, and cold sores. Unfortunately, glycyrrhizin can also cause fluid retention, adversely affect hormone levels, and trigger high blood pressure. These dangerous effects can be avoided by removing glycyrrhizin from whole licorice root. Licorice supplements that do not contain glycyrrhizn are called deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL).

DGL is used primarily for management of digestive diseases including esophagitis, gastritis, and ulcers of the stomach and duodenum. While the standard medical treatment for an ulcer due to a bacteria called H Pylori is the extended use of three antibiotics and an acid blocking drug, I see equally good success using SF 734, a product that contains DGL in combination with bismuth and berberine. DGL is also available in a chewable form, which is used to treat inflammation of the esophagus including a condition called Barrett’s esophagus. –

Dr. Peterson
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