Negative Effects of Herbalife

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Founded in 1980, Herbalife is a global nutritional company that sells a line of weight loss and herbal products that are sold solely by independent distributors. According to the official Herbalife website, all products follow the rules enforced by the Food and Drug Administration, and are labeled according to the laws and regulations. However, a variety of products sold by Herbalife carry a risk for negative effects, depending upon which product you consume.

Shellfish Products

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According to the Herbalife website, many of its products contain shellfish. This can pose a problem for those who are allergic to this item when consumed. According to the Mayo Clinic, shellfish is among the top foods that cause food allergies, with symptoms ranging from dizziness, wheezing, congestion, itching abdominal pain and swelling. Check with your physician before taking any supplement containing shellfish.


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Herbalife contains caffeine, which in turn can lead to restlessness, anxiety, hypertension and insomnia. According to the Mayo Clinic, caffeine effects are different according to each individual. Some people may experience jitters from a small amount of caffeine, while others experience no side effects at all. However, the Mayo Clinic states that the consumption of over 500 mg of caffeine daily can lead to aforementioned unpleasant side effects. Herbalife pills, tablets and products contain between 65 and 75 mg of caffeine per serving.

Bowel Problems

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Because of the milk-based ingredients found in some of the Herbalife products, consumption can lead to diarrhea, constipation and stomachaches for those who have problems digesting lactose. The Food and Drug Administration received complaints dating back to 1981, in which consumers complained of nausea, diarrhea and constipation after consuming Herbalife.


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According to the Herbalife website, Herbalife herbs and supplements contain small amounts of lead that fall within the normal range of the FDA guidelines. However, per the Mayo Clinic, even a tiny amount of lead can cause health issues such as weight loss, stomach pain, fatigue, vomiting and irritability.