Whether you’re browsing Goop or watching the antics of Real Housewives like Shannon Beador, it’s hard to miss some of the strangest health trends that these celebrities promote — many of them outside traditional medical science. But is there any reason to believe that some of the weirdest practices, including swishing oil around your teeth or eating a placenta, might actually have some benefits?
Fox News spoke to a few holistic health specialists to get their thoughts on these trends. Keep in mind, though, that the NCCIH (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health) says that we currently don’t have enough evidence to show whether these practices are safe or effective.
1. Jade eggs
One of Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest experiments? Jade eggs: oval stones made of jade that are inserted vaginally. Supposedly, the eggs increase vaginal tone, strengthen the vaginal muscles, improve hormonal balance, and increase libido, Dr. Svetlana Kogan, a holistic health practitioner and author of "Diet Slave No More," told Fox News.
She herself is “rather opposed to jade eggs,” however. Inserting the eggs can increase the risk of infection or interfere with contraceptives like IUDs, Kogan noted. Instead, she recommends Kegel exercises as a safer alternative to exercise vaginal muscles.
2. Vitamin drips
According to Robin Foroutan, spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and an integrative dietitian, nutritionist, and health coach, vitamin drips can be used to achieve higher levels of vitamin concentration in the body than oral supplements alone — when used and administered appropriately. Vitamin drips can increase patients’ vitamin C concentration or iron concentration, but risks include nausea, dizziness, or infection at the puncture site, Foroutan said. In addition, too much of some minerals, like magnesium, can lower blood pressure, so Foroutan stressed the importance of finding a reputable location for these procedures.
3. Oil pulling
Oil pulling is an Asian-Ayurvedic practice of swishing oil — such as sesame oil or coconut oil — around the mouth for a few minutes, in order to whiten teeth, improve oral health, and soothe mouth dryness, Foroutan said. The risks here are relatively minimal, and celebrities including Shailene Woodley have given this practice a try. Kogan agreed, calling it a “time-proven, alternative healing technique.”
Cupping is a treatment that helps treat respiratory disease and improve lymphatic drainage, Kogan explained. Celebrities including Lady Gaga, Lena Dunham, and Michael Phelps have jumped on the cupping bandwagon.
For this treatment, heated cups are placed on the patient’s back, and the cups then suck the patient’s flesh up toward the cup. Kogan would recommend this for treatment of early stages of a viral respiratory illness, though the procedure can cause bruising and is a fire hazard if not used properly.
5. Toothpaste for acne
Some celebrities — such as Kendall Jenner and Jennifer Love Hewitt — recommend an old teenager trick: using toothpaste to clear up a pimple. However, Kogan said, the dab of toothpaste essentially just dries up the skin, and doesn’t address any underlying problems that may cause the acne. Pass on this one, she recommended.
6. Eating placenta
After childbirth, some moms consume the placenta, or what Kogan described as the “organ that’s formed as an interface between the mother and child” for a whole host of health benefits. Because this is a blood product, though, Kogan said she wouldn’t recommend this practice, as it can be difficult to verify the sterility and safety of what you’re about to consume.