Licorice Root Extract – Why I’m a fan

Why do I like Licorice Root Extract?

Licorice Root Extract is epic. It’s probably one of the best adaptogen/cortisol regulating supplements out there for those who have issues with cortisol. This affordable, easy to access supplement can assist with energy, fat loss, stress and muscle gain!

Licorice root extract works by inhibiting the enzyme 11-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 (11-b-2). 11-b-2 breaks down active cortisol into the inactive cortisone. When this enzyme is inhibited cortisol levels are elevated – which, at the right time, is a good thing!

I know, I know, cortisol is regularly demonised in the fitness/bodybuilding community for its role in muscle protein turnover and association with “adrenal fatigue”. This negative association of all cortisol with losing gains is quite wrong because healthy levels of cortisol at healthy times is good for gains (endogenous secretion of cortisol intra workout actually stimulates muscle growth).

In fact, you want lots of cortisol in the morning and then low cortisol in the evening, as this should help to regulate your cortisol rhythms throughout the day. This is where licorice root comes in.


When to use licorice root extract.

If you are not a morning person, crave coffee when you wake up, have trouble sleeping or feel sluggish until about 11am you most likely have dysregulated cortisol rhythms. This will prevent you from making optimal gains and optimal sleep!

If you are one of these people, taking licorice root in the morning will help to re-regulate your cortisol rhythms by increasing cortisol. Having elevated cortisol in the morning will give you lots of energy for the rest of the day and will also reduce your energy at night before bed, how it should naturally be.


What dose to take.

I recommend starting at 200mg of licorice root every day and titrating your dose up as needed. My optimal dose is 450mg every other morning or 225mg each morning for 2 weeks at a time.

I wouldn’t recommend going above 1800mg per day for 4 weeks, as that’s the upper limit of what is tested in humans! Besides, using that much is going to be expensive.

Where to buy it

Iherb.com is the best place to get this. It’s cheap, fast to ship and is the best quality. I recommend NOW foods brand.


  • Licorice increases cortisol
  • Cortisol is GOOD – in the right amounts at the right times.
  • Use cortisol if you need an energy boost in the morning
  • 200-500mg of licorice extract is sufficient.


References (so you can read what I read)

Isbrucker et al., Risk and safety assessment on the consumption of Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza sp.), its extract and powder as a food ingredient, with emphasis on the pharmacology and toxicology of glycyrrhizin. (2006), R. Tox. Pharma.

Armanini et al., Effect of licorice on the reduction of body fat mass in healthy subjects (2014), J. Endocrinol. Invest.

Fiore et al., A history of the therapeutic use of liquorice in Europe (2005), J. Ethnopharmacol.


Photo source:

Farese et al., Licorice-Induced Hypermineralocorticoidism (1991), N Engl J Med


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