As I’ve mentioned before, I am walking around on this Earth with but one adrenal gland to my name, even though the Standard Model Human has two. About eight years ago, we discovered that one of mine had a grapefruit-sized tumor on it, so the doctors said: “Right! That’s enough of that!” And out came my pheocromocytoma, adrenal gland and all.
Which was a good thing, bottom line, but still and all, humans were designed to have two, and having only one can screw a person up a bit. The job of the adrenals is to produce and secret certain hormones, and if one of your adrenals has to go it alone? It gets a wee bit tired and cranky.
And here’s a funny thing! According to this post at io9, “if you crave licorice, you need hormones.” Why is that funny? Because I crave licorice not infrequently, and before my poor body and its lonely and beleaguered adrenal were set right by the good hands of Lisa My Naturopath, I craved licorice all the time, and if I got my hands on some and wasn’t careful, I would eat it until it made me a bit ill — the only food about which that has ever been remotely true for me.
When you crave licorice you need hormones
Addison’s disease is a disease of the adrenal system, often brought on by an attack from a person’s own immune system, that causes the adrenal glands to produce too few steroid hormones. This can cause weakness, abdominal pain, and can even cause blood-pressure crashes that end in coma. One of the hormones regulates salt excretion, which causes people with the disease to get rid of too much salt, and have extreme cravings for it. That’s pretty straightforward. Stranger, though, is their craving for licorice. Doctor’s couldn’t account for it, until they saw that licorice contained glasorisic acid, which causes salt retention. Without having any idea as to why they might want licorice, patients gravitated toward a food that had substance that relieved their symptoms.
I’m not entirely certain this lines up directly with my experience, but there sure seems to be some kind of connection. And I just thought I’d share.
To find out all kinds of other interesting things about what certain cravings might mean, click here. I also found the one about craving ice of particular interest: I craved ice, like WHOA, the entire time I was pregnant with the girl, ate it all the time, asked for it again and again in the hospital as I awaited her arrival — and the instant she was out, the craving disappeared. io9 suggests that a craving for ice may be a result of an iron deficiency, which, given my history and the fact that I was pregnant, kind of makes sense to me.