- Goop CEO Gwyneth Paltrow revealed she had COVID-19 “early on” and deals with ongoing symptoms of fatigue and brain fog.
- She said she’s using a plant-based keto diet, intermittent fasting, and supplements to “detox”
- Experts say there’s little evidence any of those strategies help with COVID-19.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Wellness maven Gwyneth Paltrow has revealed said she was diagnosed with COVID-19 last year, and has been using a bevy of diet and supplement strategies to fight long-term side effects.
In a February 16 product roundup for her lifestyle brand Goop, Paltrow detailed her “healing detox,” mentioning for the first time that she contracted the novel coronavirus “early on” in the pandemic.
It’s not clear when she was diagnosed, but Paltrow said she continued to suffer symptoms experienced by many “COVID long haulers,” including ongoing fatigue, brain fog, and inflammation.
To cope, Paltrow wrote that she’s been doing a cleanse, using a combination of intermittent fasting, a plant-based ketogenic diet (with some fish), and cutting out sugar and alcohol. She also shared a list of products and supplements that she says work for her, from $US60 detox powders and infrared blankets to boutique workout clothes and lounge wear.
But experts caution that barely any expensive wellness interventions, touted for COVID-19, are based on good science. While you might follow Paltrow’s example in watching your alcohol intake, neither her diet routine nor her supplements are evidence-backed for coronavirus treatment.
Carb-cutting and fasting will not help with COVID-19
It’s true that conditions like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity are risk factors for worse coronavirus outcomes, and that diet plays a role in this chronic illnesses.
However, experts have repeatedly emphasised that no specific diet routine is proven to prevent or treat COVID-19.
While Paltrow’s low-carb keto diet, for example, could help you to cut out unhealthy processed foods and stabilise your blood sugar, a few weeks of carb-cutting won’t make much of a difference, and certainly won’t protect you from the virus.
“Low carb will not treat or prevent COVID-19,” Dr. Caroline Apovian, co-director of the Centre for Weight Management and Wellness at Brigham and Womens Hospital, previously told Insider.
In fact, some forms of fasting could even be detrimental in a pandemic, since fasting can increase levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, potentially dampening your immune system.
Cutting alcohol is a good idea
If you are going to make a Goop-inspired dietary change, though, you might follow Paltrow’s example in watching what you drink.
Alcohol is known to interfere with the immune system, particularly when you overindulge. You don’t have to go fully dry â€” an occasional glass of wine isn’t likely to be a problem if it helps you relax. But more than one drink a day for women, two a day for men, or five or more drinks in a session for anyone, can be risky.
Heavy drinking can disrupt the immune system by reducing the body’s white blood cells, which help fight infection. It can also wreak havoc on your digestive system, depleting healthy bacteria in your gut and harming immune cells of the intestines, further weakening the body’s natural defence against infection.
Supplements can’t cure or prevent COVID-19, but vitamin D might help
No matter how much you spend on them, there’s no evidence vitamins, superfoods, and supplements of all stripes make much of a difference in fighting COVID-19.
Vitamin C, for example, has been shown to have potential to speed the healing process, and it’s good for a strong immune system generally. But recent research has found it has no effect for coronavirus patients.
The one exception seems to be vitamin D. There’s a growing body of evidence that a lack of vitamin D is associated with worse COVID-19 outcomes such as more severe infections and more risk of complications.
You don’t have to buy a fancy version, though. While a supplement can be helpful in colder, darker months, the human body also makes vitamin D naturally in response to sunlight.