The Herbalife Nutrition brand offers popular weight-management products from teas to shakes to supplements and more that tout amazing health benefits such as losing weight, boosting metabolism, and supporting a healthy immune system. However, are these products effective? Are they safe to consume during pregnancy?
Unfortunately, it is best to avoid the majority of Herbalife products during your pregnancy because many may contain herbs that have not been proven safe for pregnancy.
Also, any weight loss product is not safe for pregnancy as you may restrict some essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed for a healthy pregnancy.
With so many extraordinary claims by Herbalife and the dozens of products they offer, let’s break down the most popular Herbalife products and examine the facts.
Is Herbalife Safe to Consume While Pregnant?
In general, it’s best not to take Herbalife products when pregnant. Here, we break down some of the reasons why.
Herbalife nutrition sells herbal dietary supplements from teas to shakes and pills, all marketed as improving your health. Let us first talk about how the regulation of dietary supplements works in the United States as a whole.
Overall, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not evaluate dietary supplements, which include all of the Herbalife products, for safety and effectiveness before they hit the shelves of your health food store or grocery store (source: FDA).
Many of the products are intended for weight loss, such as herbal teas to boost metabolism or their Cell-U-Loss pills to reduce water weight (more on these later). They even have a powder intended to reduce hunger.
Any weight loss product or weight loss diet can be very unhealthy during pregnancy. When consuming with the intent to lose weight, rather than simply eating for nutrition, you increase the risk of restricting vital nutrients that are essential for pregnancy and the health of your baby (source: American Pregnancy Association).
For example, Herbalife’s meal replacement drinks are not designed explicitly with pregnancy in mind and may not meet your specific nutritional needs as a regular balanced meal would.
According to the Herbalife website, a central component of the Herbalife brand is the ability to sell your own Herbalife products through direct sales.
In fact, you cannot purchase Herbalife products on their actual website and must be purchased through a distributor. As a result, individuals can build their own businesses and financially benefit from your purchase and use of the Herbalife nutrition products.
Additionally, Herbalife does not have a statement or stance about pregnancy and the use of its products. However, some of their products, including the Prolessa Duo, do have a disclaimer on the product page that indicate it is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.
Is Herbalife Tea Safe During Pregnancy?
One of Herbalife’s popular teas is the Herbalife N-R-G Tea, which contains raw Guarana, an herb known for having a very high caffeine content to provide you with lots of energy.
In terms of pregnancy, small amounts of Guarana are deemed “possibly safe” for pregnant women (source: National Library of Medicine & U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
The high caffeine content in the Herbalife N-R-G Tea must also be considered while you are pregnant. The recommendation for pregnancy is to consume no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine in a day (source: American Pregnancy Association).
What about the regular Herbalife herbal teas? Herbalife herbal tea products are offered in many different flavors, including delicious raspberry, chai tea, and lemon. The Herbalife website mentions that all their herbal teas include green tea, black tea, and orange pekoe extract and that they contain 85 milligrams of caffeine.
However, the Herbalife website does not mention any more specifics of the “special blend of ingredients” in their herbal teas. Therefore, it is difficult to evaluate whether they are safe for pregnancy.
Since the information is lacking to show safety, it is best to avoid Herbalife herbal teas during your pregnancy.
Are Herbalife Shakes or Supplements Pregnancy-Safe?
Here, we’ll run through some of the most popular Herbalife shakes and supplements, and considerations for pregnancy:
The Herbalife Cell-U-Loss supplement is a product meant to help the body lose water while balancing electrolytes simultaneously. The idea is you would lose so much water that you would lose weight.
As mentioned above, any sort of weight loss diet or regimen during pregnancy is advised against by the American Pregnancy Association due to the increased risk of nutrient deficiencies. This risk is heightened by the fact that the Herbalife Cell-U-Loss promotes a loss of water, which is very dangerous during pregnancy.
Dehydration during your pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of neural tube defects, low amounts of amniotic fluid, and early labor (source: American Pregnancy Association). Therefore, it is recommended that expectant mothers drink more water than the average person.
Although the product page states the risk of electrolyte imbalance is eliminated by adding electrolytes, such as calcium, into the product, there are no studies supporting the accuracy of this statement.
Do not use products such as the Herbalife Cell-U-Loss supplement, as it can lead to dehydration and dangerous electrolyte imbalances during pregnancy.
Herbalife Prolessa Duo
Next, the Herbalife Prolessa Duo is a hunger control and fat reduction powder meant to be added to their shake products. It contains palm and oat oils that create a feeling of fullness.
It is important to note that Herbalife states they do not recommend this product for pregnant or lactating women. So let’s talk about why this may be!
Similar to what we mentioned above about weight loss diets, creating unnatural fullness cues from products such as this can be dangerous during pregnancy. Essentially, eating less because you do not feel as hungry may mean not eating enough to fulfill your nutritional needs.
Finally, let’s discuss Herbalife’s collagen product. Herbalife’s Skin Collagen Beauty Booster powder comes in exciting flavors, like strawberry and lemonade, and is meant to support skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles. Since this is bovine collagen, it should be safe to consume during pregnancy (Source: Journal of Pregnancy and Child Health).
Check out this article for more information on collagen consumption during pregnancy.
Once again, the FDA has not evaluated the Herbalife dietary supplements for safety or efficacy before reaching the consumer (source: FDA).
Is Herbalife’s Aloe Drink Suitable for Pregnancy?
The Herbalife Aloe Concentrate is promoted as helping digestion, nutrient absorption, and intestinal health. However, there is a significant lack of research in the area of aloe vera juice during pregnancy; therefore, it should be avoided, though it is very unlikely to cause any harm.
Check out this article on drinking aloe vera juice during pregnancy.
Can Pregnant Women Have Herbalife Afresh?
Herbalife Afresh is an energy drink that contains Orange Pekoe extract, green tea, and caffeine. A 160-milliliter serving has 40 milligrams of caffeine.
While consuming less than 200 milligrams of caffeine daily during pregnancy is safe according to the American Pregnancy Association, you may not want to spend it all in one place with a highly caffeinated energy drink.
I hope you found this article helpful in breaking down the facts regarding Herbalife nutrition to help you decide whether or not to incorporate their products into your pregnancy diet.