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Glycyr-rhetinic acid, the active principal of licorice root, blocks 11-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1, thus reducing the availability of cortisol at the level of adipocytes.
Mineralocorticoid activity of liquorice: 11-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency comes of age.
The mechanisms leading to central fat accumulation are more difficult to rationalize, but attention is turning to dysregulation of the enzyme 11-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11-[beta]-HSD1), which is expressed more in visceral than peripheral fat.