The Scoop on Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Wellness Empire
May 8th, 2017
Dubious diseases, an inclination toward the holistic teachings of Eastern medicine, and witty names like “Why Am I So Effing Tired” and “High School Genes” combine to market Goop Wellness, a new line of supplements from Gwyneth Paltrow’s e-commerce empire said to address the “acute needs” of womanhood.
The supplements, which cost $90 a month, have interesting descriptions, such as “No matter how much sleep I get, I still feel exhausted” for So Effing Tired and “My body isn’t responding to diet and exercise the way it used to” for High School Genes. Other pills include Balls In The Air (“I’m running full-steam ahead — and have no intention of slowing down”), and The Mother Load (“Motherhood is amazing but pregnancy is taxing, in every sense of the word — I’m wiped out, and worry that I’ll never recover”).
Many women can relate to these taglines, which appear, among other places, on the Goop site under the bluntly titled section “Your Problem.” But what’s behind these clever pitches?
Why Am I So Effing Tired is the brainchild of one Dr. Alejandro Junger, who boasts a background in Eastern medicine. Goop claims the euphemistically named supplement, which lists ingredients from ancient Ayurveda, combats a condition of low energy “known as” adrenal fatigue. But known by whom? The medical community doesn’t recognize any such condition (h/t Jezebel) and a post on the Goop site titled “Adrenal Fatigue — And What to Do About It” leads with an admission that adrenal fatigue is “by no means in the mainstream.” This is bookended by a disclaimer at the end of the pitch that the “views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies,” which, if anything like alternative facts, should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.
A Goop post on another questionable condition — postnatal depletion — also carries the disclaimer. Goop markets The Mother Load to treat the condition, which is said to involve the long-term health effects of motherhood.
Conversely, some products Goop sells are aimed at well-known conditions, including depression, insomnia and panic attacks, and poor blood circulation. (We’ll take this opportunity to remind readers that marketing supplements as having the ability to treat, cure, alleviate the symptoms of, or prevent developing diseases and disorders is simply not permitted by law. If a supplement really could do all that, then it would be a drug subject to rigorous study and testing to gain FDA approval.)
This is not the first time questionable health claims have been peddled on Paltrow’s site. Before the actress-turned-lifestyle entrepreneur launched Goop Wellness earlier this year, NAD called on the “Shakespeare in Love” starlet to provide substantiation for another company’s supplement called Moon Juice that was available for purchase on the Goop site. Among other things, the products claimed to offer superior cognitive flow, clarity, memory and creativity. Paltrow, the site touted, used the products in her “Morning Smoothie”:
Gwyneth [Patrow] drinks one of these every morning, whether or not she’s detoxing. Choose your Moon Juice moon dust depending on what the day ahead holds … brain dust before a long day at the office, sex dust before a date, etc.
The claims at issue appeared on purchasing pages for the products and were linked in an ingredients list for the smoothie. Paltrow volunteered to permanently discontinue the claims to close out the inquiry.
In response to an inquiry by TINA.org, a Goop spokeswoman said each of the company’s supplements were “created in collaboration with a leading doctor,” including Dr. Junger. (Goop calls them “Our Doctors”; see them all here.) In regard to the two products marketed on the site to treat depression, insomnia, et al., the spokeswoman noted that they are not Goop products and referred comment to the specific brands, despite the previous NAD decision that said Goop had an obligation as a marketer to verify such efficacy claims.
Find more of our coverage on supplements here.
The National Advertising Division, or NAD, is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. NAD asks advertisers to substantiate or change their claims in advertisements. As part of a voluntary system of self-regulation, however, its recommendations can be ignored by the offending advertisers. In those instances, NAD refers the offender to federal consumer protection agencies.