Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop under scrutiny over pregnancy supplement claims

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images/erstudiostok
©Getty Images/erstudiostok

Related tags: Health, wellness, paltrow, Goop, Nutrition, lifestyle

A pregnancy supplement regimen offered by Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop is the subject of alleged multiple breaches to UK advertising and trading standards.

As reported in The Sunday Times​, Goop’s product ‘The Mother Load,’ a course of vitamin and supplements for pre- and postnatal women has come in for criticism, with claims of “potentially dangerous​” advice being used to sell the product.

The product’s accusers, UK-based Good Thinking Society, also claim “unproven”​ health products back the product as the charity escalated its findings to National Trading Standards and the Advertising Standards Authority last week.

The Mother Load, which retails on Goop’s website for €99 (£88) states that it contains 110% of the recommended “daily value​” of vitamin A for adults.

Nevertheless, advice given by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and similar advice by the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend pregnant women not to take supplements containing vitamin A due to a possible to the unborn baby.

Goop response

Susan Beck, a nutritionist who works for the company told the newspaper the amount of vitamin A the product contained (1,500 international units (IU)), was lower than the 2,000 IU advised by the NHS.

Beck added that the 4,000 IU of beta-carotene in the pills posed no more safety concern than “eating a large number of carrots”.

She also pointed towards The Mother Load’s packaging, which featured a warning instructing pregnant women not consume more than 10,000 IU of vitamin A daily because of the risk of birth defects.

Commenting on the product’s health concerns, Laura Thomason, project manager at Good Thinking Society told The Independent​, “It is shocking to see the sheer volume of unproven claims made by Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop about their products, especially given that some of their health advice is potentially dangerous.

“Nobody should be advising customers to avoid using conventional sunscreen or that pregnant women should take vitamin A, something that health experts have warned can be harmful to unborn children.” 

Thomason refers to further products that are the subject of Good Thinking Society’s objections, which together with The Mother Load concerns, total 113 breaches of UK advertising laws.

These include Goop’s sun protection range selling for €51 (£45) each and The Goop Medicine Bag, a range of “health-giving” stones with a price tag of €86 (£76) each.

The scoop on Goop

Since its inception in 2008, Goop has attracted €72m ($82m) in outside investment funding, culminating in a Series C investment injection of €44m ($50m) back in March.

Goop markets itself as a lifestyle and ecommerce firm with products that include a skincare line made from organic ingredients and a regimen-based vitamin program to address modern women’s needs.

This is not the first time the firm has gotten into hot water over product claims.  Last month, the Californian county of Santa Clara ordered Goop to pay €127,000 ($145,000) in civil penalties​.

The county along with nine other state prosecutors said the firm sold a series of women’s health products whose advertised medical claims were not supported by competent and reliable science.

Goop advertised that the Jade and Rose Quartz eggs — egg-shaped stones designed to be inserted vaginally and left in for various lengths of time — could balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse, and increase bladder control.

Goop also advertised that its Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend, a blend of essential oils meant to be taken orally or added to bathwater, could help prevent depression.

“The health and money of Santa Clara County residents should never be put at risk by misleading advertising,”​ district attorney Jeff Rosen said.

“We will vigilantly protect consumers against companies that promise health benefits without the support of good science…or any science.”

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