Herbalife® is a global nutrition and weight management company selling and marketing nutritional and weight loss supplements. The United States Federal Trade Commission described Herbalife® in 2016 as a scam disguised as healthy living. Herbalife®-associated liver injury was reported from multiple countries in the West. India is fast becoming the largest growing market for Herbalife® products, expected to surpass the United States in sales revenue. We report the first case of a fatal acute liver failure from the Asia-Pacific region, in a young woman who consumed Herbalife® products over 2 months. We also present unsettling data that showcase heavy metal contamination, toxic compounds, psychotropic substances, and pathogenic bacterial contamination in similar Herbalife® products in India. The growth of Herbalife® in India and expansion of its nutrition clubs in major cities that promise fake health benefits portend a serious public health concern.
Philips CA1, Augustine P1, Rajesh S1, John SK1, Valiathan GC1, Mathew J1, Phalke S2, Antony KL3.
J Clin Exp Hepatol. 2019 Mar-Apr;9(2):268-272. doi: 10.1016/j.jceh.2018.08.002. Epub 2018 Aug 28