Gwenyth Paltrow's Goop may be just as famous for coming under fire for its numerous unsubstantiated claims as it is for its unusual and expensive products. The latest controversy coming out of the quirky, high-end lifestyle brand currently involves over 100 unproven claims about its products - one of them a pregnancy supplement.
The supplement, called "The Mother Load", is a 30-day prenatal vitamin pack that sells for a whopping $90 US on Goop's website. It claims to be a "top-of-the-line natal protocol with extra support for getting new and not-so-new moms back on their feet", however, it contains 110 per cent of the 'daily value' of vitamin A recommended for adults.
According to The World Health Organization, vitamin A supplementation is only recommended for pregnant women who live in areas where vitamin A deficiency is a "severe public health problem". In these cases, it can be taken to prevent night blindness in children. Several other leading global health organizations agree that vitamin A is not recommended for expectant mothers, and could even be potentially dangerous, with evidence showing that high levels of vitamin A may cause birth defects.
The Good Thinking Society, a UK-based nonprofit that promotes scientific skepticism, highlighted The Mother Load, as well as a host of additional Goop products in a complaint to Trading Standards and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that stated these products breach UK advertising laws. This comes on the heels of a similar case two months ago brought on by prosecutors in California, stating that Goop made unsubstantiated marketing claims. The company was ordered to pay $145,000 in civil penalties as part of that settlement.
Goop has since denied that their prenatal vitamins are unsafe.
"When used as recommended, Goop's The Mother Load supplements are safe during pregnancy," said Dr. Susan Beck, senior vice president of science and research. "The 4,000 IU beta-carotene included in Mother Load is only converted in the body to vitamin A as needed, and there is no safety concern for eating this."
Laura Thomason, project manager at Good Thinking Society, believes that while Gwenyth Paltrow and Goop may have good intentions, the company continues to sell products with misleading claims.
"It is shocking to see the sheer volume of unproven claims . . . especially given that some of their health advice is potentially dangerous," she said. "Nobody should be . . . advising pregnant women [to] take vitamin A, something that health experts have warned can be harmful to unborn children."
Despite the fact that Goop is outside of the ASA's remit because the company is registered in the United States, The Good Thinking Society says it plans to appeal this due to the fact that Goop sells its products to UK customers online, and even operates a pop-up shop in Notting Hill.