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Gwyneth Paltrow, founder and CEO of Goop onstage at 2019 New York Times Dealbook conference. Photo: Mike Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times

A surge in misinformation has grown with the internet, making wellness strategies appear to have scientific foundations when instead they're fueling baseless and sometimes harmful theories.

What's happening: Wellness products such as vitamins and supplements are under the purview of the Federal Trade Commission, meaning they are not subject to scrutiny or testing like prescription medication and medical devices, which are managed by the Food and Drug Administration.

By the numbers: The wellness industry, from personal care to nutrition and weight loss, is presently worth $4.2 trillion worldwide, jumping 12.8% between 2015 and 2017, Global Wellness Institute reports.

The pursuit of wellness "has been co-opted to being afraid of toxins and going for cryotherapy ... all these things that have zero basis in science and actually could be harmful."
— Dr. Jen Gunter, pain medicine physician and gynecologist tells Dr. Abdul El-Sayed on his health podcast "America Dissected"

Between the lines: Some products are backed by misleading studies from predatory publishers — journals that are not peer-reviewed, the New York Times reports.

  • Such publications are more often free for readers and claim to be indexed and sourced, but are not, the FTC has said.

Be smart: Beware of studies drawn from small sample sizes that aren't representative of the general population, are funded by a manufacturer for its own products or that shift results in their favor.

  • Some of these products present more risks than benefits and could expose people to unknown substances, Gunter added.

For the record:

  • Actress Gwyneth Paltrow's company Goop was fined $145,000 in California last year for "unsubstantiated claims" on three products on its website that could have harmed women, CNN reports. Paltrow now has a Netflix show on wellness she markets as "out there" with tactics often unregulated.
  • Some medical professionals have actually pushed back against vitamins, saying they're unnecessary: "There is no added gain from taking a multivitamin,” Erin Michos, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, told CNBC.
    • Social media influencers have caused online vitamin sales to skyrocket 40% in the last year, according to market-research firm Rakuten Intelligence.

Yes, but: Women are responding to gender bias and mistrust in medical research by starting their own health and wellness businesses in an attempt to find and offer alternatives to traditional medicine, the Global Institute notes.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

9 hours ago - World

Over 170 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem

An injured man is carried away as Israeli security forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

At least 178 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem, Reuters reported late Friday.

The big picture: The clashes come amid growing anger over the threatened eviction of Palestinians from their homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. Tensions have also escalated in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low — Majority back vaccine proof requirements for travel, schools and work — The race to avoid a possible "monster" COVID variant.
  2. Politics: Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations — Americans' return to the skies could benefit smaller airlines.
  5. World: WHO authorizes China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use — Mixed response in Europe to Biden's vaccine patents bombshell.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Ohio GOP censures Rep. Anthony Gonzalez over Trump impeachment vote

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Ohio Republican Party on Friday censured Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) and called for him to resign for voting to impeach former President Trump in January, Reuters reports.

The big picture: Gonzalez is the latest Republican lawmaker to be punished for voting to impeach the former president on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection.