Gwyneth Paltrow's Most Controversial Health Advice

Gwyneth Paltrow rose to superstardom with her Academy-Award winning role in the 1998 movie "Shakespeare in Love" (IMDb). As of late, Paltrow has been focused on dispensing some ... questionable advice through her lifestyle company, Goop. She has cemented her place in the cultural zeitgeist as someone who is not afraid to spew alternative facts, despite their wide-reaching repercussions (via Healthline). 

Goop's mission statement claims that the company operates "from a place of curiosity." They "start hard conversations, crack open taboos, and look for connection and resonance everywhere we can find it." Of course, curiosity doesn't always turn a profit — Goop's real bread and butter is selling a range of products in the realms of fashion, beauty, and wellness (via Money). From a satchel of medicinal rocks to a 24-karat gold-gilded vibrator named Olga that retails for just shy for $4,000 (happily it is only available as a "final sale" item), it seems like nothing is off-limits for the minds at Goop. Some of the items and practices that grace Goop's homepage are grounded in reality — others are rooted in straight-up lunacy. We sifted through the bulk of Paltrow's health advice, only to come up with a treasure trove of advice ripe for disproving. 

The Mother Load supplement

Though not all of Goop's health advice is dangerous, The Mother Load maternity supplement could do quite a bit of harm — and Paltrow's promotion of this vitamin A and E-laden supplement as a prenatal vitamin is incredibly controversial (via The Times). 

According to Goop's website, pregnant women, lactating women, and women trying to get pregnant should take one "packet" of The Mother Load pills per day. A one-month's supply costs between $75 and $90, depending on whether or not you sign up for a subscription. But one packet of these pills contains nearly 200% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A, which isn't the perk it might sound like. Though a necessary vitamin for the body, vitamin A should be avoided in excess, especially during pregnancy (via Healthline). Since it is a fat soluble vitamin, any excess gets stored in the liver, which can cause liver damage to the mother and birth defects in her baby. In addition, these supplements contain a whopping 669% of the recommended daily value of vitamin E, which Healthline also lists as a vitamin that women are not advised to supplement during pregnancy, as it raises the risk of the mother experiencing abdominal pain or the amniotic sack rupturing too early.

Psychic Vampire Repelling Protection spray mist

Raise your hand if you have ever felt personally victimized by psychic vampires! We don't know anyone who has. Probably because of everyone's abundant use of this $27 bottle of sonically-tuned water, grain alcohol, sound waves, moonlight, and love. It's sold out on Goop's website, so we can only assume that this is the case.

Psychic Vampire Repelling Protection spray mist is far less dangerous than some of the other products that Goop promotes, but this is an example of one that makes us think that poor ol' Gwyneth has lost her mind. To use this product, which has been infused with a complex blend of gem elixirs (which according to Sjal are liquids that have taken in the "vibrational energy" of different stones), you'll simply spray around "the aura" to protect yourself from psychic attacks and emotional harm. The instructions helpfully remind you to not spray it in your eyes, which unfortunately sounds like it will leave your peepers undefended from psychic vampire attack. 

From its metaphorical ingredient list to its nebulous explanation, this spray is one of Goop's more controversial items (per The Observer), and is unlikely to ward off vampires or negative energy of any kind. We'll take our chances and use the grain alcohol in our liquor cabinets to make limoncello instead of to repel psychic vampires. Call us crazy, but ... Actually, no, don't — call Goop crazy, because this is bananas. But if you are regularly in contact with vampires, tell Buffy we say hi. 

The Goop Medicine Bag

If you've never gotten a rub-down with some smoky quartz in the hands of a man who claims he can speak to wolves, did you ever even have a hippie phase? Word has traveled beyond hippie communities, and Goop is now in the crystal game. Goop's Medicine Bag retails for $85 and comes with a promise to help balance your energies, intentions, and chakras. But while crystals are beautiful, no doubt, their use for medicinal purposes has been proven to guide people into a state of healing-by-placebo, according to Medical News Today. Though this placebo effect may have benefits in the short-term, more tried-and-true, holistically focused methods will yield better results for mental health issues.

There are eight crystals included in the Goop Medicine Bag, each one of a supposedly essential variety. The instructions advise you to carry them with you wherever you go to continuously benefit from their energies. And if they don't work, well, simply pass them through some sage smoke, run them under cool water, and place them beneath the light of a full moon to recharge them (Goop). Or, of course, you could just buy this expensive bag of rocks to adorn your workspace or vanity. 

Coffee enemas

Coffee enemas are a controversial topic in the world of medicine because of the lack of evidence to support their use (via Healthline). All of the positive evidence at this point is anecdotal. Three deaths have been linked to coffee enema use, and these treatments may also increase the likelihood of experiencing infections, rectal burns, bowel perforation, and more. Doctors will prescribe them in some cases, but they do not typically recommend them for the masses.

Goop includes this $135 Implant-o-Rama coffee enema system on a list of products to use to cleanse. This list of supposedly detoxifying accoutrements is dizzying in its length and in its price tags, to the extent that we feel that the only thing that might be cleansed during this "metaphysical colonic" is your bank account. Goop seems to have latched onto the notion that "autointoxication" — the idea that our bodies are slowly being poisoned by the "toxins" that accumulate in our intestines (via Healthline) — is something that needs attention. But scientific evidence has drilled hole after hole through this archaic understanding of human physiology (per Forbes). Our bodies actually have developed a super-advanced way of removing waste from the body: pooping. There isn't any evidence to back up the claims that our bodies will benefit from shooting coffee deep into our rectums, only to have it cascade back out moments later.  

Mugwort V-Steam

Mugwort is an herb that is traditionally used during moxibustion, a holistic acupuncture practice used in traditional Chinese medicine (via American Institute of Alternative Medicine). However, acupuncturists use mugwort in a different way than Goop recommends. Goop states that if you are in Los Angeles, you have to try the V-Steam at the Tikkun Spa because it is the real "golden ticket" to all things wellness. Honestly, the only golden ticket we want is the one that grants us entry into the chocolate factory, thanks. 

To utilize the V-Steam, you squat atop a "mini throne" and allow the mugwort steam and infrared properties to cleanse your uterus and balance your female hormones. However, heating the vagina beyond what your body has decided is homeostasis is a great way to encourage the growth of yeast and unwanted bacteria (per Healthline). The steam is water vapor, which can also mess with the natural lubrication of the vagina, leaving it more susceptible to tears and irritation (via The Guardian). And finally, female hormones are a product the endocrine system and ovaries. Introducing an herb that is great for flavoring soup into your vagina via steam does not have any cleansing effect on your hormones. In sum, the vagina is a self-cleaning organ and the mugwort V-steam is just a fancy way of douching. And we have a rules surrounding douches ... Don't use 'em and don't date 'em. 

Jade eggs

Excuse our lack of delicacy, but Goop gave anal beads a glow-up, and Gwyneth is down to peddle them for $66 across her website. Anal beads are bulb-shaped things that you stick in your, well, anus, to increase sexual pleasure. Goop's yoni eggs, in contrast, are for vaginal use — they're egg-shaped devices made out of jade that you insert into your yoni to "harness the power of energy work, cultivate sexual energies, clear chi pathways, intensify our femininity, and invigorate our life force." Made of nephrite jade, these are meant to be inserted into the vagina and squeezed as you practice a few Kegels to feel the connection with your body. If the practice brings you joy, Goop encourages you to continue. Kegels are a great way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which can help support the uterus and surrounding musculature (per Mayo Clinic). Allegedly, practicing Kegels with an accompanying jade egg in your yoni can balance your female hormones better connect with the "power within." That said, there is no solid evidence to support that Kegels help women orgasm or increase the intensity of orgasms, so the sexual connotations of jade egg use are a bit mystifying (via Insider). Housing a rock in your vag will absolutely not affect your hormones, which we knew, but the Washington Post confirmed this. Furthermore, the use of yoni eggs has been proven to have dangerous side effects. Extended use could result in toxic shock syndrome or other infections. 

Body Vibes

Anybody who grew up in the Lisa Frank era knows the appeal of an adorable sticker you put on your skin. But what if pretty adhesives could actually confront medical issues? Enter Body Vibes stickers. Goop claims that they, "promote healing (really!)." Body Vibes stickers come preprogrammed to a frequency that is ideal for the human body, whatever that means. These decals allegedly fill in the deficiencies in your own energy frequencies, especially when worn in the areas that might not feel optimal (you know, like your heart or left shoulder). Somehow, these small pieces of paper with adhesive backs can help boost cell turnover and reduce inflammation, according to the founders of Body Vibes, who are both aestheticians.

At some point, Body Vibes released a claim stating that their stickers were made from the same substance that NASA uses to line space suits, to which NASA replied, "NOPE!" (via Insider). Body Vibes responded with an apology for the "miscommunication," while assuring wary consumers that this falsehood in no ways degrades the efficacy of their products. But this false statement still appears on Body Vibes' website, though on the same page it literally says that the stickers are made of the same materials as Band-Aids, but without any "chemicals." Okay. 

A 24-pack costs $120 and contains "Two (3)" of each variety of label (so ... how many?). These stickers can supposedly cure hangovers, improve your sleep and mood, and help with hydration. But as Bruce Y. Lee, Professor of Health Policy and Management at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health, noted in Forbes, no research exists to support these claims.

Bronze shower heads

We'd like to start by saying that a bronze shower head can provide a beautiful aesthetic to your bathroom. We are not here to criticize décor choices. But Goop calling the $295 Original Bronze Showerhead a "new detox essential" is pretty far-fetched. According to Goop, it solves a problem that you didn't even know you had – nontuberculous mycobacteria in your showerhead (via Huff Post). Nontuberculous mycobacteria is an environmental bug that can be found in water, soil, and dust (via WebMD). It is generally not harmful to humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that this bacteria can often be found in plumbing. 

According to a Goop Q&A, this special showerhead pops open to allow it to air dry, which supposedly helps repel these bacterial from the pipes inside your home. But as Steven Holland, an immunopathogenesis investigator for the National Institutes of Health, told Huff Post, your showerhead is no more likely to carry this bacteria than the water in your tap or the soil on the ground. Steve Sunshine, the product's inventor, states otherwise, creating a fascinating battle of the Steves. 

The real kicker here? Goop's website states that this showerhead is made of 100% brass material, not even bronze. Bronze contains tin (via Britannica), which is one of a few metals that is not antimicrobial, according to a study published in Biofouling. Thank you, next.


Some of Gwyneth Paltrow's advice is controversial because of the potential harm associated with it. For instance, a 55-year old woman died after receiving apitherapy, a treatment that includes being stung by a swarm of bees (via Ars Technica). And while it's unclear how this woman first heard about apitherapy — she'd apparently undertaken the practice a couple years prior to her death — it's worrying that Goop's promoting this potentially deadly activity. Many experts explain that people with no noticeable allergies to bee venom can develop adverse reactions over time. And since "apipuncture" and bee sting therapy are generally practiced by people who boast no medical training, emergency protocols are lacking. Goop explains bee sting therapy as a "little-known" practice, which seems like a euphemism for "illegitimate." 

Paltrow credited being stung by bees for helping alleviate the lingering pain of an old injury, though this claim has since been removed from the Goop website (Huff Post). She also claims that it hurt a lot. The fastest way to get rid of a headache is to get punched in the stomach so, we cannot help but draw a parallel conclusion here. 

According to Healthline, honeybee products can have great health benefits, but treatment should be approached incredibly cautiously. Bee venom, in particular, has risks that may outweigh the potential benefits. 

Goat milk cleanse

blog post on Goop's website informs us that we all "probably have a parasite." The post goes on to explain how SO many people have parasites, according to Dr. Linda Lancaster, a woman whose website reminds us that "doctor" used to mean "teacher."  She endeavors to teach her patients, and Goop's readership, that parasites like an environment of heavy metals, chemicals, and radiation. Heavy metals and chemicals have a low vibrational frequency, she says. (This has to be from people not wearing their Body Vibes stickers.) To eliminate the parasites, Lancaster and Goop recommend an eight-day cleanse consisting of only goat's milk and NOTHING ELSE.

In an interview with Insider, milk-focused researcher Francesco Visioli stated that there is no remarkable difference between goats' milk and cows' milk. But existing on a diet comprised of lactose is an excellent way to ensure that you'll have noticeable flatulence. It is also a semi-likely way to get a parasite! This is because goat's milk is often unpasteurized (per Insider), meaning that it hasn't been put through a heating process that destroys harmful microorganisms (via the U.S. Food and Drug Administration). And as for goat's milk removing these proverbial toxins from our bodies, gastroenterologist Dr. Kyle Staller iconically tells Insider, "In the absence of evidence, you can kind of say whatever you want." And ... mic drop.

Sex Dust

The Sex Dust sold on Goop's website allegedly supports primordial energy while also enhancing creativity. This "warming elixir" is meant to be consumed by adding a teaspoon of the powder to 8 oz of any liquid. By spending $60 on 25 scoops, you can experiment with your own body in hopes that the cacao powder and stevia will send "sensitivity and power to all the right places." And we use the word "experiment" literally, because while most of the herbs used in this magical powder are found in traditional Chinese medicine, many have not yet been proven to be safe for the use Goop recommends. 

The main ingredient, He Shou Wu, is used to promote vitality in Chinese medicine (via Healthline). It has been studied in test tubes and shows promise for anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, but it hasn't been tested on humans. In fact, ingesting this herb has been linked to liver damage and death. The second ingredient, cistanche, is an understudied substance that might offer antioxidant benefits and/or may modify hormone levels (per WebMD).

Epimedium and schisandra are two of the other highly notable ingredients. Epimedium is also known as "horny goat weed," another Chinese herb that is used to treat low libido and erectile dysfunction (via WebMD). The risks of long-term use include low blood pressure, nosebleeds, respiratory failure, and more. Research is ongoing, but none of the supposed positive effects have been proven. Schisandra seems to be fairly safe and has been used to treat liver diseases (per WebMD), which at least might counteract the effects of the main ingredient of this fairy dust. 

Bra things

Northern California is on fire, but eff it, why not tap into our arsonistic tendencies and light a fire by which to burn our bras? Goop advocates for bra burning, not out of some nostalgic feministic renaissance, but quite the opposite. Goop's blog states that "The lingerie you wore with past lovers can carry the toxic residue of [former] relationships, along with painful memories." So once the steamy fling ends — likely as a result of Sex Dust being sold out — it is encouraged that you literally roast your bras over an open flame to help you move past your ex. It's like a remix of Marie Kondo's idea of removing items that don't spark joy, but honestly, Gwyneth, what is wrong with donating fancy used bras to charity like the rest of us? The blog post outlines a detailed ritual in which you spit-roast your bras like they are marshmallows, but not before writing out a few invocations to help you "release and forgive." But while you're trying to purge the psychic demons of relationships past, don't forget there are legitimate health consequences from too much wood smoke inhalation, so we recommend you burn your bras with caution (via the Environmental Protection Agency). Only YOU can prevent forest fires caused by lingerie burning.