15. Seems Risky: What Does Gwyneth Say About Dirt Being A Natural Antidepressant?
A huge tenet of holistic and alternative medicine is the idea that many illnesses previously thought not to have a connection start in the gut. Mental illness, autoimmune disorders, cancer, bad breath – all start in the gut. While there is little scientific evidence to support any of these connections, Healthbeat, published by the Harvard Medical School, does suggest there is a connection between gastrointestinal health and depression. While Goop’s investigation suggests that toxins and bad bacteria in the gut can lead to depression and fatigue, Healthbeat says that the brain-gut connection has more to do with depression exacerbating the symptoms of gut problems than the inverse. The Goop article plays into the fallacy that in ancient times, people were less afflicted with modern-day diseases as we understand it.
While today we spend our days cooped up in fluorescent-lit offices, our forefathers spent their time rolling around in fresh grass and nutrient-rich soil.
People were happier then, or so the story goes. Gwyneth jumps on the idea that bacteria found in the soil can function as a natural anti-depressant because the bacteria combat “bad” bacteria found in the gut. The bacteria in question is called Mycobacterium Vaccae, and while studies are only just emerging with regards to its depression-healing qualities, it has less to do with its relationship to bad bacteria and more to what the bacteria do to the brain itself. Medical News Today explains that these bacteria can increase the production of serotonin, a lack of which causes clinical depression. Does this mean that one should substitute treatment for depression or symptoms of depression for a romp in the garden? Maybe not. The studies referenced in Medical News Today were only conducted on mice. It’s best to explore as many resources as possible, and always consult with a medical doctor before trying any treatment – natural or not.
14. Sketchy Science: Trying To Cure Rare Illnesses With Diet
The wellness industry is obsessed with autoimmune disease. When advocating alternative treatments for conventional illness, one argument that is frequently made is that not a lot of research has been conducted into these diseases, thus doctors are not necessarily equipped to treat them. In Gwyneth’s Goop interview with Dr. Steven Gundry, that concern is addressed immediately, becoming the base of Dr. Gundry’s practice that focuses on holistic medicine. A leading theory in this school of thought is that autoimmune disease – think Lupus, Crohn’s, and even arthritis – are rooted in our gut. Poor diets, they say, cause chronic inflammation in the body and cause toxins to “leak” from the gut into the body. Despite the popularity of this idea, there is actually very little evidence affirming that it is true. Because changing one’s diet, adding supplements, and making lifestyle changes are aspects that can be controlled, it can give people the illusion of making progress. A healthy diet can’t hurt anyway, of course, which could explain why believers might feel relief from some symptoms, but there is little evidence that suggests a correlation between gut-health and autoimmune disorders. The National Health Service, the public health service of the British government, published a warning against this practice, writing “there is currently little evidence to support the theory that [gut health] is the direct cause of any significant, widespread problems.” Much like the case of Dr. Oz, ordinary people trust credible figures without doing too much research into the evidence – which is what allows people like Dr. Gundry to operate a practice based on principles that are cagey at best. Sorry, Gwyneth!
13. The Secret To Gwyneth’s White Teeth Is… Alternative Toothpaste… Made From Milk?
With a headline like “Almost better than dental insurance,” you know that America is in a sorry state of affairs. According to Investopedia, families can be required to pay up to $886 per year for dental insurance when it is not included in their job benefits. While this insurance might cover enough for check-ups and cleanings, major procedures like root canals, braces, and surgery can leave people scrambling to pay high prices out of pocket. Gwyneth Paltrow is no stranger to controversy regarding her social status as a wealthy Hollywood actress, either, and she is often spoken of as being “out of touch,” – exemplified by her famous line: “I am who I am. I can’t pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year.”
As a lifestyle brand, Goop has a specific clientele in mind, and it probably doesn’t include people who struggle with dental insurance.
The special toothpaste in question contains protein derived from milk, lauded as being a natural alternative to pesky chemicals that often find their way into toothpaste. Natural doesn’t always mean better when it comes to health products, however. What chemical can we credit for preventing major tooth decay that plagued civilization before modern times? Flouride. The Canadian Dental Association published an article concerning the controversy around fluoride, writing “scientific studies have not found any credible link between fluoridation and adverse health effects,” meaning your regular grocery store toothpaste is probably as good as you’re going to get. As for the milk-protein? While beneficial, the claims made by the toothpaste of the milk-protein already occur naturally in the mouth.