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A critical analysis of the hepatotoxicity cases described in the literature related to Herbalife (r) products


The aim of this study was to assess the hepatotoxicity cases described in the literature, attributed to the consumption of Herbalife(r) products, and to determine whether a causal relationship exists between the reported cases of liver injury and the use of these products. A literature search was performed on the PubMed, LILACS and PAHO databases. Seven publications reporting a total of 53 cases of hepatotoxicity linked to the use of Herbalife(r) products were retrieved. All of the studies lacked sufficient information to some degree, whether related to patients' history, concomitant use of medication and/or other compounds (including alcohol), observations on interrupted use (dechallenge), results found with markers, viral serology and autoantibodies or observations concerning re-exposure to the products. In addition to these items, the lack of clear information on the type of products evaluated and their respective composition is an important factor to be considered. Furthermore, data quality was also questionable due to the presence of confounding factors, absence of proper exclusion of alternative explanations, and the use of questionable methods for attributing causality. Hence, an association between hepatotoxicity and consumption of these products cannot be proven based on the data collected and rigorous scientific analysis.

Hepatotoxicity; Herbalife(r); Herbalife products(r)/consumption/hepatotoxicity; Dietary supplements; Causality assessment

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