Thyroid UK
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hypertension questions

I have had reason lately to wonder what affects blood pressure most:

- salt

- DGL (licorice root)

- hypothyroidism

- all of the above, or something else...?

I am asking because I have been on blood pressure medication and beta-blockers for the past two years. Recently, my family doctor and I decided to lower beta-blockers dosage, from 100 to 50 mg daily, while remaining on 10 mg of blood pressure medication (the active ingredient is called perindopril arginine).

For the past two years, my BP has been around 118/70, my resting pulse 70 (before treatment: BP 170/120, resting pulse ca 120 bpm). It should be added that, two years ago, at the time of diagnoses, I was on long-term sick leave for burnout syndrom and severe depression.

Now, , my BP has risen to around 150/85, my resting pulse to ca 85 bpm, two weeks after lowering beta-blocker medication (Atenolol) from 100 to 50 mg daily.

I have been having terrible salt cravings for years. I have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, and put on Medrol by a Hertoghe doctor, but I have not had much success using this drug. For the past month, I have been on a supplement called ADR Formula, by Pure Prescriptions. It's by far the best adrenal fatigue supplement I have ever used, and believe me, I have used a couple of dozen over the years...none ever came close to this one. For the first time in years, I feel energetic, without feeling nervous, and I would really like to stay on this product long-term. The only problem is, it contains 100 mg of licorice root...which is known to raise blood pressure. It even says on the bottle that individuals suffering from hypertension should consult with their doctor prior to use...

I am also not sure if Erfa is the best alternative, but Erfa and Armour are currently the only two NDT drugs available in Belgium.

Has anyone else with hypertension taken products containing licorice root and, if so, how did it affect your blood pressure?

19 Replies

Hello anna,

All that you detail encourage high BP but also candida that you mention in a previous post and adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue should not be treated with liquorice root remedies containing the active ingredient glycyrrhizinic acid in people suffering from high blood pressure as is known is exacerbate it.

The kidney usually excretes excess potassium into the urine in response to the hormone aldosterone. Cortisol is chemically similar to aldosterone and

can also make the kidneys get rid of potassium.

Cortisol is not part of the aldosterone/potassium feedback loop, so the ability of cortisol to act on the kidneys is a bad thing that could lead to abnormally low potassium. To prevent this the body has an enzyme (HSD-11β) that breaks down cortisol in the kidney before it has a chance to act on the aldosterone receptors but

glycyrrhizinic acid in liquorice deactivates this enzyme in the kidney.

Without this enzyme present to break down cortisol, cortisol successfully signals to the kidneys to get rid of potassiumeven after body potassium levels have dropped dangerously low.

Potassium is used to regulate fluid balance and pass electrical signals along neutrons. Low potassium levels therefore lead to fluid imbalance and interruption of nerve transmission leading to high blood pressure, muscle cramping, muscle pain, muscle weakness, heart arrhythmias, constipation, impaired breathing, and even paralysis and heart failure.

I can't comment on NDT as medicate on T4 & T3 myself.



Thank you, Flower!

It's a shame, because this supplement - ADR Formula - is the best one I've tried, and the only one that has enabled me to feel well. I have so much more energy since starting it. I will look into alternatives by the same manufacturer, Pure Formulas. Most if not all of their products get 5 star reviews, so it seems to be an excellent brand.

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This man has some interesting things to say about blood pressure.

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Thank you so much, Heloise!


Hi Anna,

Have you had your aldosterone levels tested? I suffered blood pressure problems from 1981, raised triglycerides and low potassium in 1987. At one point was on three medications to try and control my blood pressure, but it was not until 2010 that primary hyperaldosteronism was diagnosed.

The side affects of blood pressure medication can be dire, now I am on a low dose of spironolactone to control my blood pressure.

I was not found to be hypothyroid until 2002. Despite having high aldosterone, in 2012 I was found to have low cortisol and DHEA plus severe growth hormone deficiency. I am now replacing these missing hormones and life is so much better than it has been since 1987.

Sadly, little credence is given to the aldosterone problem. Good luck.


Yes, I have had aldosterone levels tested twice. Never led to anything, though. I will see if I can dig up my old results and post them here.


I found them. I have had aldosterone levels tested twice in 24 hour urine, a test used by all so called Hertoghe doctors in Belgium:

11 November 2011:

12.2 ug/24 h (ref 5-20)

13 October 2013:

11.1 ug/24 h (ref 5-20)

I saw two different doctors, and none of them even mentioned aldosterone supplements.

Is there aldosterone in adrenal cortex extract supplements?


One of the symptoms of hypothyroid is higher blood pressure. Your doctor shuld know better than prescribe beta blockers alongside any form of thyroxine as the thyroxine is negated by the beta blockers.

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Well I have quite chronically low blood pressure and I took licorice root for adrenal purposes, and had to stop because it raised my heart rate a lot and made me pretty uncomfortable! You can get deglyrizzinated (wrong spelling, can't remember) licorice but I don't know if it is as effective... I would say however that high blood pressure is always a secondary condition and holding it down artificially with drugs might not be a great idea. Do you take painkillers regularly? Many of those have high BP as a side effect. Also if you're craving salt, your adrenals are crying for help even though you were taking a supplement. Do you eat a lot of protein? I know people say you need to stay off carbs for adrenals but I have found the only way to help my adrenals was to eat lots of fruits and sweet potatoes :) and salt! Oh and one more you take magnesium?? I take this thing called mega mag by trace minerals and it is very good and low in sodium. I have heard that's very important for blood pressure, and obviously keep your stress level low and vitamin C level high for those adrenals. I used to take 4000mg vit c every day and I just felt better. I hope this is helpful and obviously do what works for you, you know your body, ask your gut feeling about what it really needs. :)


Great, thank you so much! In the past, I have tried low carb diets, but found they are not for me. They tend to make me sluggish, and I have never lost weight on them. I actually love carbs, and need carbs to feel well.

No, I don't take painkillers regularly; an aspirin once or twice a year, that's all.

Yes, I am still craving salt like crazy, and I want real salt, not low sodium brands. Maldon Sea salt is a particular favourite of mine...

I think I will need to find the ultimate supplement(s) for my struggling adrenals, as it's obvious they have never recovered, even though I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 14 years ago, and have been on thyroid medication since. I was told at the time that all problems would miraculously solve themselves within two weeks after starting on thyroxine...after more than a decade, I am still struggling! It seems most NDT brands are problematic these days; even Erfa, which used to get consistently glowing reviews, now seems less popular with patients...

I have recently considered Thyro Gold, which has the advantage of being sold as a supplement. Maybe it would prove to be more consistent than many reformulated prescription drugs...?

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I have also been considering Thyro Gold, given the cost and problems related to prescription NDT drugs in recent years...I mean, is porcine thyroid closer to human thyroid, making it more easily absorbed by our bodies...or could you just as well use bovine thyroid???


You're welcome! I love carbs :) have you considered alternative/energy treatments for your adrenals? I know it sounds flaky, but things like acupuncture etc can be remarkably powerful for stubborn conditions like that. It has to be by the right people and it's not always cheap, but then neither are supplements! Just a thought if you feel like you've tried everything :)


That sounds like a great idea! I'll look into different options.

BTW, I read about symptoms of adrenal fatigue, and one mentioned was "dark circles under eyes". For years now, I have had dark blue, almost black, circles under my eyes, making me look like a panda...although not as cute:-( I have tried every product on the market, including Hylexin which was described as a miracle product against dark circles, but NOTHING has helped. All I ever lost was a lot of money...Only make-up helps.

I read in a forum that the most effective, and cheapest way, of getting rid of dark circles is to apply toothpaste (as it contains menthol, a common ingredient in many expensive products) under eyes for about 10 seconds, once or twice a week...and the next day, there would be a 70% reduction of dark circles. I tried that, it did nothing for me.


Have you had your b12 levels checked? Dark circles are VERY indicative of low b12. If you don't already I would advise taking a b complex and preferably extra b12, every day.

Other than that, if you don't get enough sleep or you sleep at the wrong time, your body will not do all it's repairs correctly and you'll lose out on some vitality...I say no less than nine hours, and be in bed by 11:00 and not up before 7:00. I know it's boring, but I can have a good ten hours sleep at all the wrong times and still have dark circles! Chinese medicine says that different organs are repairing or functioning at certain times, e.g the liver is regenerated between 1am and 3am. If you're not asleep at those times it doesn't do it! So it has an accumulative effect.

Also, have you tried a sugar scrub? Mix some sugar with some olive oil and maybe salt, lemon juice, aloe vera, anything you like really and scrub it onto your face with your fingers for a few minutes (gently!). And mind your eyes. Then just wash it all off with warm water. It really hydrates and cleans your skin nd it's not expensive at all :)

You may find that adrenal recovery will get rid of them, in time. Good luck and I hope this is helpful xx

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I thought you should not use sugar scrub on your face...I will try that and see if it helps! When I refer to sugar scrub, I am thinking of the kind you can buy at Body Shop, to use on your body, with really large grains in it...

I have been diagnosed with low B12 levels in the past, and must admit I have not taken any supplements recently...I know I have to go back on them.



DGL is Deglycyrrhizinated licorice - one of the main reasons for making it is to provide a product that does NOT tend to cause hypertension like ordinary licorice.

Ordinary liquorice does tend to raise blood pressure.

҉ helvella ɐllǝʌlǝɥ ҉ helvella ɐllǝʌlǝɥ ҉ helvella ɐllǝʌlǝɥ ҉ helvella ɐllǝʌlǝɥ ҉

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.

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Hi Anna,

Craving salt is one of the signs of an aldosterone problem. Not sure whether you have tried the NHS for tests, but this website shows a bit more about the condition, plus testing protocols:

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Thank you! I am not in the UK, but Belgium, so have not had any NHS tests.


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