A doctor in American Samoa has cautioned people against using Herbalife as a treatment for diabetes, hypertension and high blood pressure, as reported by Samoa News. While admitting that the supplement can help with weight loss, he stressed that its high protein content poses a risk to those with kidney disease and may also increase the likelihood of severe liver injury.
In addition to this doctor's claims, there was also a case in 2002 where an Italian woman suffered temporary loss of brain function due to her reliance on Herbalife, according to WebMD. She had a genetic predisposition for B-1 deficiency, and this, combined with the soy protein in Herbalife, prevented her from absorbing sufficient B-1 vitamins. This resulted in Wernicke's encephalopathy, otherwise known as cerebral beriberi. Her symptoms were a lack of coordination, nausea and double vision.
Her doctors, GianPietro Sechi, MD, and Alessandro Serra, MD, caution others against long-term usage of a diet aid, as this can lead unexpected complications. However, this woman's case was an isolated one, reports WebMD. The most common complaint in regards to Herbalife is that it doesn't teach customers how to eat properly; it simply creates a reliance on an expensive product. When it comes to weight loss, doctors stress that whole foods and exercise are the building blocks on which everything else should be based, and shortcuts are not long-term solutions.