Gwyneth Paltrow copped a fair amount of flak for introducing us to the concept of “clean sleeping” last year. Mainly because it’s based on getting at least seven hours of good-quality sleep a night, so, um, what we’ve already been told by various experts, doctors and our moms… forever. But the latest health advice on Paltrow’s lifestyle site Goop has people riled up for a different reason.
In an article titled, “Why We Shouldn’t Dismiss Iodine,” self-styled “medical medium” Anthony William tells us to take iodine supplements to boost our immune systems, help with thyroid hormone production and prevent cancer.
In case you’re wondering, William has no medical training and has not published any evidence-based data. However, 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.” This information allows William to heal illness, apparently, and Paltrow herself believes his work feels “inherently right and true.”
Step forward an actual qualified medical professional, Dr. Jen Gunter, who has plenty to say about William’s iodine claims. Gunter knows what she’s talking about, and she even looped in a board-certified endocrinologist, Elena A. Christofides, to back up her total shutdown of William’s advice.
Gunter reveals that Christofides has seen just one case of iodine deficiency in 19 years, and points out that the human body only needs iodine in very small doses to survive. “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,” she writes.
Gunter doesn’t mince her words. “Almost everything in this [Goop] article is wrong and potentially dangerous,” she warns, before slamming William’s advice as “bullshit.”
“I just don’t know any other way to say it,” she admits, but because she’s a qualified doctor and all, her argument that iodine is not an internal antiseptic or immune booster (as William claims) and that taking iodine supplements unnecessarily could lead to hypothyroidism, an autoimmune condition or even cancer does carry a fair amount of weight.
Of course, we’re all free to take medical advice from whomever we choose. Be it someone who takes advice from a ghost or someone with the following letters after her name: M.D., FRCS(C), FACOG, DABPM.