- Thursday morning, a Twitter account claims Herbalife cost a woman her life
- A Journal of Hepatology scholarly article from 2007 concludes from tests in Israel that “an association between intake of Herbalife products and acute hepatitis was identified in Israel”
- Several additional scholarly journal articles have been written about the potential hepatoxicity of Herbalife’s products
- Similar reports were echoed out of Mexico last year before being refuted very quickly
- Herbalife paid Barry Minkow – the last major critic who looked at the lead content in their products – $300,000 for undisclosed reasons in a settlement
The effect of Herbalife products on the liver has been brought up numerous times in the past, but has been an avenue abandoned by critics of the company. Today, there’s reason to question these effects once again.
Something interesting appeared on Twitter this afternoon when user @OhandBEVSays Tweeted the following:
I wondered if she had meant “from Herbalife” instead of “for Herbalife” so I sent her a query asking if it had anything to do with liver toxicity. I received a simple “yes”.
I knew to guess about the liver because this isn’t the first time it has come up.
Over the years, I’ve reviewed numerous studies in medical journals talking about the potential toxic effects of Herbalife products on people’s livers. In Israel, for instance, one 2007 study revealed a stunning conclusion:
The full article is below.
It isn’t just this one journal article. A person inclined to search for more could find quite a bit of reading to do.
You may also remember the strange case of Lorena Peralta – reported in Mexican media to have died from being “addicted” to Herbalife products. A post that appeared on NutraIngredients.com talked about it, and how it was hastily refuted by the Doctor who was allegedly caring for Peralta. He instead claimed she died from “previous serious illness”.
Finally, how can we forget the case of Barry Minkow – the felon that was paid $300,000 by Herbalife. CNBC’s own Herb Greenberg reported back in 2012:
Four years ago then-convicted felon Barry Minkow, who had turned from white-collar criminal to claiming to be white-collar fraud-buster, had a new target: Herbalife, the multi-level marketing company best known for its weight-loss shakes.
Shares of Herbalife tumbled 20 percent Tuesday after hedge fund manager David Einhorn asked several questions on the company’s earnings call. I started raising questionsabout the company in March.
Minkow’s concerns were a laundry list of issues. He even included a taunting video, with the tagline, “Should this company try to sue us, it’s been tried and tossed.”
Herbalife responded, saying that “we stand behind the integrity of our company.”
Then, several months later, Minkow’s criticisms of Herbalife disappeared from his website.
Why? According to court documents, Herbalife paid Minkow $300,000 to shut up.
Disclosure of the payment can be found in a September 2010 deposition of forensic accountant Tracy Coenen by Medifast, another company with ties to multi-level marketing, which sued Coenen and others who had been associated with Minkow.
In the deposition, an attorney for Medifast asked: “Were you aware that Mr. Minkow received a $300,000 settlement” from Herbalife?
What was dead center in the claims that Minkow was making against the company? You guessed it – too much lead in their products:
In response to Minkow’s investigations, the Los Angeles-based company has been on the defensive lately. In late April, company president Gregory L. Probert resigned after Minkow’s firm discovered that the executive did not earn an MBA has he had claimed. Last month, Herbalife was busy rebutting lab tests Minkow claimed showed high levels of lead in some of its product.