Many dietary supplements are fortified with protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Herbalife Nutrition is a company that produces a variety of dietary supplements, including protein shakes, meal replacements, vitamins, and minerals.
However, despite its popularity worldwide, many people wonder about the safety of Herbalife products and their risk of potential side effects.
In particular, some are concerned about the products’ effects on kidney health.
This article takes an in-depth look at the science to determine whether Herbalife can damage your kidneys.
Herbalife offers various high protein supplements, including many meal replacements, protein bars, and drink mixes.
Protein plays a key role in growth and development, tissue repair, muscle synthesis, and more (
For this reason, individuals with chronic kidney disease are advised to monitor their protein intake carefully, which can help maintain kidney function and prevent the progression of kidney disease (
For those with chronic kidney disease, it’s typically recommended to limit daily protein intake to around 0.27–0.36 grams per pound (0.6–0.8 grams per kg) of body weight (
As such, if you’re on a low protein diet, you should not consume high protein Herbalife products without consulting your healthcare provider.
Many Herbalife products are high in protein, which could impair kidney function among those with kidney disease.
Many Herbalife products are rich in a variety of essential vitamins and minerals.
Although these micronutrients are important for several aspects of health, people with kidney disease may need to monitor their intake more carefully.
In fact, people with chronic kidney disease are often advised to manage or limit their intake of foods that are high in potassium and phosphorus, as their kidneys are unable to excrete these nutrients efficiently (
Certain Herbalife products are high in phosphorus and potassium, two nutrients that those with kidney disease should limit.
Some Herbalife products may contain caffeine, including the Herbal Tea Concentrate, Green Tea, and N-R-G Nature’s Raw Guarana Tablets.
Caffeine acts as a vasoconstrictor, meaning that it causes your blood vessels to narrow and temporarily increases your blood pressure levels (
Caffeine-rich beverages like tea and coffee can also increase the excretion of oxalate through urine, thus contributing to the formation of kidney stones (
Therefore, if you have kidney problems or are prone to developing kidney stones, it’s best to talk with your healthcare provider before starting any supplements that contain caffeine.
Some Herbalife products contain caffeine, which may increase blood pressure levels and cause kidney damage if consumed in high amounts. Caffeine may also contribute to kidney stones, although the research on this topic is mixed.
Although limited research suggests that Herbalife products can directly affect kidney function in healthy adults, some studies have linked Herbalife products to liver damage.
One older case study also found that Herbalife products were contaminated with Bacillus subtilis, a bacterium that can cause liver damage (
For this reason, it’s unclear whether Herbalife is associated with a greater risk of liver injury than other herbal supplements.
Still, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider before using any supplements, especially if you have a history of liver problems or are taking medication.
Some case studies have found that Herbalife could be linked to liver injury. However, it’s unclear whether Herbalife is associated with a greater risk of liver damage than other herbal supplements.
For most healthy adults, using Herbalife products is unlikely to cause kidney damage.
However, people with impaired kidney function or chronic kidney disease may need to limit their intake and consult their healthcare provider or dietitian before adding any Herbalife supplements to their routine.
This is because many Herbalife products contain nutrients that those with kidney disease may need to limit, including protein, phosphorus, and potassium.
Some products also contain caffeine, which could temporarily increase your blood pressure levels if consumed in high amounts.
Finally, several case studies have found that Herbalife could be associated with liver damage. Therefore, those with a history of liver problems should also talk with their healthcare provider before using herbal supplements like Herbalife.