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J Clin Exp Hepatol. 2019 Mar-Apr;9(2):268-272. doi: 10.1016/j.jceh.2018.08.002. Epub 2018 Aug 28.

Slimming to the Death: Herbalife®-Associated Fatal Acute Liver Failure-Heavy Metals, Toxic Compounds, Bacterial Contaminants and Psychotropic Agents in Products Sold in India.

Author information

1
The Liver Unit, The Cochin Gastroenterology Group, Ernakulam Medical Centre, Kochi, Kerala 682028 India.
2
Medgenome Labs, Narayana Health City, Bommasandra, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560099 India.
3
Envirodesigns Ecolabs, Eco Tower, Palarivattom, Kochi, Kerala 682025 India.

Abstract

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.

KEYWORDS:

AIH, Autoimmune Hepatitis; BL, Butyrolactones; HDSs, Herbal and Dietary Supplements; HILI; Herbal supplements; ULN, Upper Limit of Normal; liver disease; obesity; weight loss

PMID:
31024209
PMCID:
PMC6477126
[Available on 2020-03-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.jceh.2018.08.002

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