Another week, another piece of questionable advice from Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.
This time, however, the website may have made its most dangerous recommendation yet, as a doctor has called out the latest post saying: “Almost everything in this article is wrong and potentially dangerous.”
In the Goop piece titled ‘Why We Shouldn’t Dismiss Iodine,’ the lifestyle site speaks to “Medical Medium Anthony William” who apparently heals people’s illnesses “using wisdom passed on to him from a divine voice he calls Spirit.”
William claims he “was born with the unique ability to converse with a high-level spirit who provides him with extraordinarily accurate health information that’s often far ahead of its time.”
So yes, Goop appears to be taking medical advice from a ghost.
In the interests of fairness, I went over to Williams’ website, medicalmedium.com. There’s plenty there to see, and there’s plenty to buy, including the book Life-Changing Foods (my emphasis added):
Life-Changing Foods: Save Yourself and the Ones You Love with the Hidden Healing Powers of Fruits & Vegetables delves deep into the healing powers of over 50 foods—fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, and wild foods—explaining each food’s properties, the symptoms and conditions it can help relieve or heal, and the emotional and spiritual benefits it brings. I also arm you with the truth about some of the most misunderstood topics in health: fertility; inflammation and autoimmune disorders; the brain-gut connection; foods, fads, and trends that can harm our well-being; how angels play a role in our survival, and much more.
Scroll on down and you’ll find an endorsement from Robert Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, Columbia University (and Uma’s dad):
“Anthony’s book [Medical Medium] is truly ‘wisdom of the future,’ so already now, miraculously, we have the clear, accurate explanation of the many mysterious illnesses that the ancient Buddhist medical texts predicted would afflict us in this era when over-clever people have tampered with the elements of life in the pursuit of profit.”
So much New Age Groupthink crammed into one blurb: the reverence for “exotic” ancient texts, the fear of “mysterious” illnesses, the grumbling about “the pursuit of profit” and the reference to “over-clever people” and the rejection of reason that that implies.
But back to The Independent:
William explains that he thinks we should all take iodine supplements to boost our immune systems, help with thyroid hormone production and even prevent cancer.
According to Canadian doctor Jen Gunter though, this is all wrong.
In a retort to the Goop article on her website, Dr Gunter spoke with board-certified endocrinologist, Elena A Christofides, to stress the point that William’s advice is not an accepted scientific method, he has no medical training and has not published any data.
She completely shuts down William’s advice:
“Mr. William’s spirit must not know too much about iodine because he swings and misses right off the bat. He says, ‘Iodine is essential for two main reasons: (1) your immune system relies on this mineral to function, and (2) iodine is a natural antiseptic.’
“Later on he says, ‘while iodine does also help with thyroid hormone production, that’s one small aspect of why iodine is important for your health.’
“The body needs iodine because without it you can’t make thyroid hormone and then you will slowly die. It will be a long and drawn out process. All of the symptoms of iodine deficiency are related to resulting thyroid dysfunction and 70-80% of the body’s iodine is stored in the thyroid. This is not a ‘small aspect’ this is THE ASPECT.”
Dr Gunter calls out William’s assertions as “bulls***. I just don’t know any other way to say it.”
She also reveals that Dr. Christofides has seen just one case of iodine deficiency in 19 years. And it’s nowhere near as common as William’s tries to make out:
“While iodine is essential, we actually need very little because it’s a micronutrient […] basically eating out even a couple of times a month gets us enough iodised salt to suffice.”
…According to Dr Christofides, taking excessive iodine with a normal thyroid actually “blunts the thyroid and actually causes hypothyroidism.” She has even seen women take so much iodine that they give themselves the condition. So yes, taking too much iodine actually causes the problem William says it will prevent.
“Almost everything in this article is wrong and potentially dangerous,” says Dr Gunter.
“We need very little iodine, that little bit is important but if you eat a healthy diet and have a little iodised salt here and there you will be just fine.
“If you take iodine supplements when you do not need them you could actually cause hypothyroidism, develop an autoimmune condition, or even get cancer.”
She stresses that iodine is not an internal antiseptic or immune booster as Gunter claims.
Goop includes a disclaimer at the end of its Q&A with Williams:
The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of goop, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
On the other hand, The Independent notes that Gwyneth Paltrow has said that William’s work feels “inherently right and true”.
Post-modernism + superstition > science.