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Gwyneth Paltrow’s kombucha and kimchi COVID advice criticised by NHS


TextAlex Peters

The Goop founder has been recommending saunas, kombucha, and kimchi to those suffering long COVID effects

Gwyneth Paltrow is back at it again with the woo-woo pseudoscience and medical advice and the NHS is not having it. The medical director of NHS England has urged the actress and founder of Goop to stop spreading misinformation after she suggested “intuitive fasting,” infrared saunas, and herbal cocktails as treatments for long COVID-19 effects. 

“We need to take long COVID seriously and apply serious science,” Professor Stephen Powis told the BBC, saying that while he wishes Paltrow well with her COVID effects, “some of the solutions she’s recommending are really not the solutions we’d recommend in the NHS.”

Powis also called on influencers to take their duty of responsibility and care seriously. “Like the virus, misinformation carries across borders and it mutates and it evolves,” he said. “So I think YouTube and other social media platforms have a real responsibility and opportunity here.” This message comes amidst a troubling rise in influencers co-opting the language and ideals of the wellness industry to peddle conspiracy theories, including anti-lockdown and anti-vax messages, to their audiences.

The NHS warning follows a blog Paltrow shared on the Goop website last week in which she says she caught COVID early and has since suffered “long-tail fatigue and brain fog.”

She says she then turned to a “functional medicine practitioner” who recommended “intuitive fasting” which involves a ketogenic and plant-based diet with no sugar or alcohol and fasting until 11am every day. As part of the diet, Paltrow says she has been consuming lots of sugar-free kombucha and kimchi, coconut aminos, and herbal non-alcoholic cocktails, as well as a selection of supplements which are conveniently available on the Goop website. 

She added: “I’m doing an infrared sauna as often as I can, all in service of healing.”

This is not the first time that medical experts have rebuked Paltrow for misinformation and unsubstantiated medical advice. In 2018, Goop settled a $145,00 lawsuit with regulatory authorities in California over a vaginal detox jade egg sold on the website which it claimed could balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, and prevent uterine prolapse. Prosecutors from the California Food, Drug, and Medical Device Task Force said the claims “were not supported by competent and reliable science.”

In 2015, the company came under fire from the medical community for recommending women to steam-clean their vaginas, while in 2017, The New York Times reported that Condé Nast ended their relationship with Goop in part because of the wellness company’s lack of fact-checking.

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