NHS warns against Gwyneth Paltrow’s 'kombucha and kimchi' Covid advice

Hollywood actor urged to stop spreading misinformation after promoting ‘intuitive fasting’

Gwyneth Paltrow has been urged to stop spreading misinformation by the medical director of NHS England after she suggested long Covid could be treated with “intuitive fasting”, herbal cocktails and regular visits to an “infrared sauna”.

The Hollywood star, who markets unproven new age potions on her Goop website, wrote on her latest blogpost that she caught Covid-19 early and had since suffered “long-tail fatigue and brain fog”.

Paltrow said that after turning to the advice of a “functional medicine practitioner”, she was told “this was a case where the road to healing was going to be longer than usual”.

She then embarked on a “keto and plant-based” diet, involving fasting until 11am every day, “lots of coconut aminos” and sugar-free kombucha and kimchi. Paltrow went on to recommend her brand’s Madame Ovary supplement and Seedlip, “the incredible herbal nonalcoholic cocktails”.

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

Paltrow also suggested there was evidence for the efficacy of such a diet. “I’ve been doing major research and finding some great stuff to support what I’m doing,” she wrote.

However, her unproven advice prompted a stern rebuke from Prof Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, who urged influencers such as Paltrow against spreading misinformation.

He said: “In the last few days I see Gwyneth Paltrow is unfortunately suffering from the effects of Covid. We wish her well, but some of the solutions she’s recommending are really not the solutions we’d recommend in the NHS.”

Stephen Powis in front of a Covid-19 vaccination bus
Stephen Powis, NHS England national medical director: ‘Some of the solutions she’s recommending are really not the solutions we’d recommend in the NHS.’ Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

Powis added: “We need to take long Covid seriously and apply serious science. All influencers who use social media have a duty of responsibility and a duty of care around that.

“Like the virus, misinformation carries across borders and it mutates and it evolves. So I think YouTube and other social media platforms have a real responsibility and opportunity here.”

In 2018 Goop agreed to pay a substantial settlement over unproven claims about the health benefits of the infamous vaginal eggs it was selling. It claimed the eggs could balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse, and increase bladder control, according to officials in Santa Clara, part of a group of California district attorneys who filed the lawsuit.

Last year she began selling a This Smells Like My Vagina candle through her Goop brand. She later revealed that the follow-up would be called This Smells Like My Orgasm.

Contributor

Matthew Weaver

The GuardianTramp

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