What Are Some Side Effects of Herbalife?

Herbalife is linked to hepatotoxicity, according to Chen et al. in the World Journal of Hepatology. Its side effects range from hepatitis to acute liver failure. People with underlying liver problems should exercise caution when consuming Herbalife.

Herbalife is an over-the-counter herbal supplement commonly consumed as a weight-loss dietary product, states Chen et al. However, Herbalife has side effects related to liver injury. There have been several published reports of Herbalife hepatotoxicity from different countries, ranging from Switzerland to Israel, explains Bunchorntavakul and Reddy in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. In a clinical investigation, a 37-year-old woman experienced diffuse abdominal pain, mild nausea and jaundice linked to her consumption of Herbalife products, notes Chen et al. The Herbalife products consumed included the Formula One Nutritional Shake Mix, the Multivitamin Complex, the Cell Activator, the Cell-U-Loss, the Herbal Concentrate Original and the Total Control formula.

In the same clinical investigation, a 53-year-old woman experienced jaundice, pruritus and hepatitis after consuming Herbalife shakes, teas and pills over a period of four months, says Chen et al. Her jaundice and liver tests resolved after a two-month abstention from Herbalife supplements. It is hypothesized that Herbalife products may be contaminated with Bacillus subtilis or chemicals such as softeners, preservatives and heavy metals that affect the liver.

Herbalife has also been associated with more severe liver impairment ranging from liver cirrhosis to acute hepatitis, states Elinav et al. in the Journal of Hepatology. In a clinical investigation, one patient was diagnosed with acute liver injury after approximately 11 to 12 months of regular Herbalife consumption. Another patient developed hepatitis failure. Three patients, who resumed consumption of Herbalife following normalization of liver enzymes, experienced a second bout of hepatitis.