Doctor's Note

Other videos on tainted supplements:

For more context, check out my associated blog post: Soy milk: shake it up!

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the update on Herbalife. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

    • I would like to ask about Tamari sauce and Miso paste. And about Anis seed.

  • Mrbazzzzinga

    I think i can vouch for this because after taking herbalife for 2 years i lost lot of weight it goes away comes back etc but i have made some damage to either intestine or liver or spleen my stomach was always upset
    left upper quadrant i had bloating and pain if someone wants to guide me or help me pelase contact at

    • Debora F

      Hello I read your posting and what you have posted blew my mind the same thing happen to me it’s been 4 years since I took the last shake and I have the same problems you describe.

  • Marie Gilman

    I have consumed the Herbalife products every day for 20 years – for my health (after initially eating it for weight loss). You have obviously not consumed the Herbalife products otherwise you would not be writing such nonsense. The Herbalife products could never cause any harm to any bodily organ whatsoever. There can be no Vitamin A toxicity because the body gets rid of any extra that it does not need at that particular time. If anyone develops liver disease it must be from a completely different cause. Regarding the “bloating and pain” in the next post, many such bad feelings are caused by drinking cow’s milk (don’t have the lactase enzyme to deal with it).  There are over 60 million people in 84 countries who consume Herbalife nutrition products DAILY. Many of my colleagues have been eating the products for 25-30 years, staying healthy and at their correct weight. Please try some yourself!

    • WholeFoodChomper

      It is good to hear that you are healthy.  However, based on some of the scientific evidence available regarding Herbalife and other products like it, if I were in your shoes I’d get my liver function checked out by a doctor, just to be on the safe side.

      Also, I encourage you to learn more about vitamin A. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, and extra doses of it are not excreted from the body the way  that water-soluble vitamins (like B12) are.  Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body for a long time (mostly in the liver). An excess of vitamin A (or any other fat-soluble vitamin) poses a greater risk for toxicity.

    • nik

      lol what when they tell you to make the shakes with MILK! baahahaha!

      • Cat

        No they dont. My rep tells me to make all my shakes with WATER.

  • Jordan Hale

    Okay Dr. Michael,… the frickous is on!  Perhaps you could make another video with just a little more information on why Herbalife is causing problems.  Anyone with a commercial interest in it will require hard facts.  
    Thank you for all you do.
    –Jordan Hale

    •  Have you look at the ingredients of any herbalife product? It is the cheapest ingredients I have ever seen. Way far from being healthy or even natural.

    • Denise

      Did you check out the sources? There are studies. Perhaps you could read.

  • paul

    hi doctor my have liver failure…if i give him herbal life nutrician can he cure.

  • paul

    sorry my uncle have liver failure is that herbal life product help him to cure

  • PrettyGirl

    This video does not explain why it causes liver problems. If you post a video you must explain why and give details. Many people have lost weight on Herbalife and they love the products. So if your going to post a video be more detailed cause this video says absolutely nothing.

    • Thea

      PrettyGirl: Actually, this video says a lot. This video says that people are getting very sick on the product. It doesn’t say that everyone gets sick. So, this video is very helpful. In absence of detailed studies at this point, people who take Herbalife can be made aware of the potential serious risk. Then, it is up to that person whether or not he/she wants to take the risk. I, for one, am grateful for this type of information.

      FYI: If you want to learn more about the cases of induced liver injury from Herbalife, you can expand the Sources Cited section just below the video.

      For me, I’d rather not risk it. But if you consider it worth the risk, then go for it! Best of luck to you.

  • pgyx

    Click on the “Sources cited” section above to see references for any video. You can then find the articles on PubMed or at the journal web site (sometimes for a fee). I copied the references for this video below.

    Stickel F. Slimming at all costs: Herbalife-induced liver injury. J Hepatol. 2007 Oct;47(4):444-6. Epub 2007 Jul 27.

    Elinav E, Pinsker G, Safadi R, Pappo O, Bromberg M, Anis E, Keinan-Boker L, Broide E, Ackerman Z, Kaluski DN, Lev B, Shouval D. Association between consumption of Herbalife nutritional supplements and acute hepatotoxicity. J Hepatol. 2007 Oct;47(4):514-20. Epub 2007 Jul 26.

    Schoepfer AM, Engel A, Fattinger K, Marbet UA, Criblez D, Reichen J, Zimmermann A, Oneta CM. Herbal does not mean innocuous: ten cases of severe hepatotoxicity associated with dietary supplements from Herbalife products. J Hepatol. 2007 Oct;47(4):521-6. Epub 2007 Jul 24.

  • Jose

    I think that people that are looking to use or are using Herbalife or similar products should instead just buy a quality juicer. That way you’re sure of what’s in the juice that you’ll be drinking.

  • Gary Brever

    So, I have not ever used Herbalife. I also know that the ingredients include soy (which is linked to cancer) as well as many artificial flavors and sweeteners. However, It would be great if Michael would put a bit more context to this video. What exactly is causing liver toxicity? I think it’s important to note that not all shakes are created equally. I’m an organic vegetable farmer and am a strong supporter of local, fresh foods. However, I’ve also transformed my health over the past year by using a system (all organic, nutritionally dense, including undenatured whey protein, adptagenic herbs and other fantastic products for cellular cleansing).

  • maria

    my 6 yr old has being having the whole meal tea, shake, aloe ,protein bar ,soy nuts and best defence for over 2 months now, and recently saw rumors about lead on the product and the side effects on the liver, since my child started to drink this because of his fatty liver at 4′ tall and 89 lbs i decided to try it but now i am very concern, what should i do is this true is it really this harmful ?

  • Erilng

    can herbalife beverage tea may affect liver

    • Thea

      Erilng: I can’t say much on the topic, but I can tell you that on page 148 of Dr. Greger’s new book, How Not To Die, you can find the following: “Multilevel marketers of products later linked to toxic reactions (such as noni juice 51 and Herbalife 52) have pointed to scientific studies to support their claims. However, a public health review found that such studies often seemed “deliberately created for marketing purposes and were presented in such a way as to appear designed to mislead potential consumers.” There’s a bit more on the topic and some references you might want to check out. The phrase “toxic reactions” and seeing that this discussion is in the liver disease chapter seems to indicate that herbalife may affect your liver in a bad way. Does that help?


    Is there anything to help with the liver or harm it

    • Dr. Jen

      Hi Katherine,

      If you haven’t already, please check out Dr. G’s book “How Not to Die.” He has an entire chapter on liver diseases. Also, the following videos on liver diseases and diet might be of interest to you.

      Fatty Liver Disease

      Liver Cancer and Coffee