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When it comes to pregnancies, Herbalife products are becoming more and more common during pregnancies. Studies show that the older the woman, the more likely that Herbalife will be used during the pregnancy. Recent reports estimate that as high as 6 percent of all pregnant women will use this product routinely but the question is, is this product actually safe? 

Herbalife is a family of compounds that have been available on the market for the last few decades and they aim to improve diets and nutrition of users. These products can come in a variety of preparations and can help improve protein levels, increase fiber or even help with weight loss. Even with its relatively long life already in the public domain, the unfortunate thing is that most of these compounds have not been extensively studied and the risks of taking these products are not known. 

Reports are beginning to emerge that Herbalife may have risks that should be considered when a women begins to use them. The most troubling data comes from the Herbalife supplement that has been linked to helping users lose weight. Unfortunately, weight gain is a natural process that occurs during pregnancy but it is not a medical rarity to hear of patients attempting to diet and exercise vigorously in order to help keep their weight down and avoid a significant pregnancy bulge. Although to most people, this sounds absurd, spend a few weeks in a obstetric clinic and you will quickly learn that this is a common habit for a small but significant portion of the population. 

In multiple case reports, women who took Herbalife Weight-Loss supplements suffered from acute liver injury. In one case, a 31-year old patient was found to have liver enzymes levels of 1407 and 1278 respectively compared to the normal levels of around 40. This dramatic increase in liver enzyme levels are typically only seen in patients that have some type of hepatitis and are definitely a cause for concern during a pregnancy. 

Although liver function can be restored once this supplement was stopped, acute liver injury can be dangerous during a pregnancy state. During pregnancy, added blood from the fetus increases the work on this organ and it is already prone to damage. About 5 percent of pregnancies will have some type of liver damage that can complicate the pregnancy. If the liver is unable to function at its normal level, blood may not be filtered as thoroughly and the fetal environment may suffer. 

Some reports suggest that acute liver injury can also predispose a patient to a more serious pregnancy complication called HELLP syndrome. This is a cascade of symptoms that occur with hemolysis, elevated liver tests and low platelets. This is an emergency during pregnancy and women will need to deliver the baby immediately. 

Other conditions that are likely with liver dysfunction include diseases like preeclampsia or hyperemesis gravidarum. These are when patients are prone to seizures or excessive morning sickness, respectively. Even if the link between Herbalife and these conditions are less defined, I would recommend trying to improve diets naturally without these supplements due to the potential risk of hepatic injury. Babies have been born for centuries without needing additional nutrient supplementation so although the idea of making sure the baby is as healthy as possible is admirable, make sure you are not doing more harm than good. 

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