“I saw a Facebook ad for a supplement that’s supposed to be great for weight loss. Should I try it?”
Most health coaches hear this from a client at some point. It’s such a common question that many health coaches even find themselves thinking about selling the supplements to clients as part of their business.
But can you offer dietary supplements to your clients? Can you even recommend them?
The answer is complicated but extremely important. Let’s dive in.
Can Health Coaches Recommend Dietary Supplements?
As a general rule of thumb, the answer to this question is going to be no: Health coaches shouldn’t recommend dietary supplements to clients.
Why? Because you have to be 100 percent sure your state and/or certifying body allow you to make these kinds of recommendations if you’re going to make them.
Some states do allow health coaches to recommend supplements. But only doctors can prescribe supplements.
Similarly, some health coach certifying bodies have specific guidelines about supplements that you will need to be aware of before you make any kind of recommendation.
If you’re not sure, it’s safer to skip it — at least until you speak to a knowledgeable attorney who can offer advice specific to your situation.
What CAN You Do?
Does that mean you have to fall silent and look away when your client asks you about a particular supplement?
As a health coach, it’s a part of your job to answer your clients’ questions about health — and point them in the right direction when you aren’t able to give an informed answer.
So, when a client asks about a supplement, you can certainly tell them what you know about the supplement. What is it meant for? Are there other supplements like it? Information like that.
You can even share a link with your client — something like an official source discussing the pros and cons of the supplement in question.
Just make sure you’re not recommending the supplement. (At least until you’ve spoken to your lawyer.)
You may not know the medications or other supplements your client is taking, and you may not understand how they would interact with the supplement. And if you break a rule about recommending supplements to clients as a health coach, your business and finances could be on the line.
Can Health Coaches Sell Supplements to Clients?
In general, selling over-the-counter dietary supplements doesn’t require a special license or certification. But this arena can get pretty complicated for health coaches.
Why? Because you have a duty to your client to promote their health and help them achieve their goals. And you likely are not legally permitted to recommend supplements (with some exceptions).
So, by selling the supplement, are you recommending it? You certainly benefit from your client buying it, which could easily be seen as a conflict.
In other words, it’s really complicated. And making the wrong move here can get you in hot water — complete with potential legal liability and the potential inability to continue running your business.
That’s why so many health coaches consult with an attorney before making any decisions regarding dietary supplements.
Should health coaches offer dietary supplements to clients? The answer for you is going to depend on several factors, and I understand how confusing that may feel to you right now.
That’s why I make it my business to help health coaches like you. As a trusted attorney for health and wellness professionals, I answer tough questions like this and help professionals like you make smart moves to protect and build their businesses.