Deglycyrrhizinated licorice, often abbreviated as DGL, is an herb that I often use with patients in my naturopathic medical practice. DGL is a form of licorice root extract that has most of the glycyrrhizin compound removed. This makes DGL a safer option as glycyrrhizin can cause unwanted side effects in some patients such as high blood pressure and alterations in electrolyte balance. Below are some of the top ways DGL can used to improve health:
- Soothing Digestive Irritation: DGL is commonly used to alleviate digestive discomfort in the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. It helps with conditions like heartburn, acid reflux, gastritis, and indigestion by promoting the production of mucus, which can protect the stomach and other mucosal linings from irritation.
- Ulcer Relief: DGL has been studied for its potential to help heal and relieve the symptoms of stomach and duodenal ulcers.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Like regular licorice, DGL also contains compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. This can be beneficial for conditions characterized by inflammation, such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
- Sore Throat and Cough: DGL may help soothe sore throats and reduce coughing due to its natural demulcent properties, which can ease irritation in the throat.
- Respiratory Health: DGL may have a mild bronchodilator effect, which could help ease respiratory issues like asthma and bronchitis by relaxing and opening airways.
- Hormonal Balance: Some women use DGL to help balance hormones, particularly during menopause. It can help to alleviate symptoms like hot flashes, irritability, and difficulty sleeping.
- Immune Support: While DGL may not have the same level of immunomodulatory effects as regular licorice, it can still provide some immune system support due to its potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Skin Health: DGL may be used in skincare products for its potential to help soothe and calm irritated skin.
- Weight Management: Some studies have explored the potential of DGL in weight management, suggesting that it may help reduce body fat accumulation and appetite.
It’s important to note that while DGL is generally considered safer than regular licorice for most people, it can still interact with certain medications and may cause mild side effects in some individuals. As with any supplement or herbal remedy, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using DGL, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.
Dr. Katie Nuckolls is a naturopathic physician and owner of Thrive GI: Natural Digestive Medicine in Vancouver, Washington. She currently sees patients that live in Washington, Oregon, and Arizona using telemedicine. Starting in October 2023 she will offer in-office visits for patients living in the Vancouver/Portland metro area. For more information, visit our contact page or schedule a free 15-minute consultation online.