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.


Matthew Weaver

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
UK's long Covid patients facing postcode lottery for support
Survey finds 90% of people with long-term symptoms have not been able to get clinical help

Linda Geddes Science correspondent

06, Apr, 2021 @12:17 PM

Article image
NHS may face a million long Covid patients after pandemic
Health service under pressure to care for significant number of patients with ongoing debilitating symptoms

Denis Campbell Health policy editor

05, Mar, 2021 @6:00 PM

Article image
Advice on fasting is just slowing down | Brief letters
Brief letters: Teacher assessments | Common sense | Diet advice | Live albums | Signs of spring


28, Feb, 2021 @5:06 PM

Article image
Long Covid: many will need specialist therapies, says expert
Intensive care consultant says doctors are hoping to create a uniform structure for follow-up clinics

Sarah Marsh

11, Apr, 2021 @9:48 AM

Article image
Long Covid alarm as 21% report symptoms after five weeks
Official UK data suggests nearly 10% still have symptoms 12 weeks after infection

Nicola Davis

16, Dec, 2020 @3:55 PM

Article image
Many 'long Covid' sufferers unable to fully work six months later
Respondents to global survey report 205 symptoms across 10 organ systems after infection

Natalie Grover and Ian Sample

05, Jan, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
Long Covid: snapshot poll finds more than 1m people with symptoms in UK
ONS estimates 1.1m people in community had ongoing symptoms in four weeks to 6 March

Ian Sample Science editor

01, Apr, 2021 @2:53 PM

Article image
Medical experts v anti-vaxxers: the Covid-19 information battle
Scientists face potential struggle to convince people of vaccine safety as celebrities join misinformation chorus

Ben Quinn and Niamh McIntyre

19, Sep, 2020 @5:00 AM

Article image
'Long Covid' guidance urges referral to UK clinics after four weeks
Nice issues first guidelines but ME campaigners say they lack symptom management advice

Linda Geddes

18, Dec, 2020 @10:22 AM

Article image
Publish figures on long Covid to show ‘untold suffering’, MPs urge
Cross-party group urge PM to give greater priority to potential harm posed by post-viral condition

Denis Campbell Health policy editor

09, Apr, 2021 @5:00 AM