Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s sharing of her “weirdest wellness thing,” ozone therapy via the rectum, is just the latest example of the Goop founder’s detox nonsense, say scientists who study celebrity-endorsed health advice.
The Oscar-winning actress and CEO of Goop, a lifestyle brand, told a podcast called The Art of Being Well, “I have used ozone therapy, rectally.”
“It’s pretty weird,” Paltrow offered, stating the obvious. “But it’s been very helpful.” The 50-year-old didn’t elaborate.
“Don’t. Do. This,” tweeted the University of Alberta’s Timothy Caulfield, author of, Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?
Ozone is a toxic gas “with no known useful medication application,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, while the Cleveland Clinic describes ozone therapy as an unregulated “supercharged oxygen treatment” that “may potentially” have therapeutic qualities.
“Some believe that ozone gas can be administered through ozone therapy to heal wounds, relieve pain and treat disease,” according to the Cleveland Clinic. “But this remains a controversial practice given limited evidence of its safety.”
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Ozone therapy can be applied to skin, injected into muscles and blown into the body, “typically through your ears, rectum and vagina,” the clinic said. Potential benefits include improved blood circulation by boosting oxygen levels to the cells, tissues and organs.
However, the “bottom line,” literally, and not anatomically, is that there isn’t enough evidence to confirm its safety, the Cleveland Clinic website reads. Among the side effects, when blown into the body through the rectum, ozone gas can cause “discomfort and cramping.”
Paltrow has been criticized in the past for promoting dubious “wellness” practises that carry risks of harm, including colonics, vaginal steaming, jade vaginal eggs and intravenous vitamin therapy.
When asked by host, Will Cole, to describe what, and when, she eats, Paltrow shared that she does a “nice, intermittent fast. I usually eat something about 12. In the morning I’ll have something things that won’t spike my blood sugar, right. So, I have coffee.”
She likes soup for lunch. She has bone broth a lot of days. For dinner, she eats according to paleo, “so, lots of vegetables,” she said in a clip posted to TikTok titled Gwyneth Paltrow Shares Her Wellness Routine. “It’s really important for me to support my detox.”
Caulfield and others have said the notion that detox diets and cleanses can purge bodies of toxic sludge and other pollutants is scientifically unproven.
Otherwise healthy kidneys and livers are highly effective at ridding our bodies of things we don’t need, whether toxins or medications, drug safety experts have said.
Critics accused Paltrow of promoting “disordered” eating. “This is NOT enough food,” New York City registered dietician Lauren Cadillac responded on TikTok. “Coffee isn’t a meal. Bone broth isn’t a meal,” Cadillac told Insider.
Spas and clinics claim rectal ozone therapy, also known as rectal insufflation, provides deep cleansing of the colon, improves cell “respiration” and “deactivates” bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and yeast.
A PubMed search by Forbes journalist Bruce Y. Lee for studies on “rectal ozone therapy” yielded 70 scientific articles, many conducted on rats, many poorly designed. The evidence all in is “largely weak,” Lee wrote. “At the same time, ozone is not exactly pillows and pound cake. You shouldn’t just try it willy-nilly or simply because you heard it on a Will Cole podcast.”
“She’s at it again. This time she’s exploring different orifices,” said Joe Schwarcz, director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society.
“Of course, ozone is used in water purification, but that has nothing to do with blowing it up your rear.”
“When you speak of air pollution, mostly what we think of is ozone. It’s good up in the upper atmosphere, it filters out the UV light, but you don’t want it at ground level, and you sure don’t want it in your lungs.”
There is no compelling evidence of any health benefit to ozone therapy, Schwarcz said. “It’s the usual quackery.”
The concern is that people will try it for conditions that have other proven treatments. “There are certain risks involved in putting anything up your rear. It’s just nonsense.”
Intermittent fasting, however, isn’t a “totally scientific bankrupt idea,” he said. When people eat during an eight-hour period only, there is evidence of weight loss, because people consume fewer calories. “You’re not going to be doing your evening snacks.”
“Intermittent fasting actually does have some solid research behind it. (Paltrow’s) seems to be just some random, ‘not eating,’” Schwarcz said.
Bone broth proponents on TikTok have claimed it a cure-all, from giving skin a glow to strengthening bones, joints and the immune system. “There’s so much mythology around bone broth,” said Schwarcz, who’s been to Brodo, a New York City restaurant that specializes in hot broth beverages. Bone broth may taste good, but it’s no elixir, Schwarcz said.
“She’s just still promoting completely absurd things,” said Caulfield, a health policy expert who has followed Paltrow for years. “It feels like she’s kind of lost the plot, even for her own narrative.”
People are moving away from the idea of extreme diets and towards healthier lifestyles, he said. “Even the idea of dieting has gone out of vogue, and I think that that’s a healthy trend. She clearly didn’t get that memo.”
Paltrow refers to her “wellness journey,” but it’s not clear what her goal is, Caulfield said. “It sounds like she has so many amorphous symptoms. I feel for her … This is a huge part of her day — a significant portion of her psychic energy is devoted to these extreme, completely unproven alternative approaches to wellness.”
But he’s also surprised she’s sticking with it. “I really thought she would evolve, and kind of move beyond this unproven, harmful nonsense.”
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