You’ve likely experimented with dietary supplements as a health coach. You may have experienced significant health benefits. Can health coaches recommend supplements for their clients?
What are Dietary Supplements?
Dietary Supplements are supplements that can provide you with nutrients that your diet may lack. The most common supplements are capsules, tablets, or powders.
The following are examples of dietary or nutritional supplements.
Supplements can fill in any nutritional gaps that you might have. If we lived in a perfect universe, all of our nutrients would be obtained from food. Modern living, farming practices, and geographical location make it difficult to achieve.
Some supplements are temporary, such as:
Vitamin D supplements during the winter months.
Supplements can also be taken over longer periods. Examples include:
Supplementation over a long period for people with chronic illnesses.
Iron tablets can be taken by someone who does not eat meat.
What is Health Coaching?
Health coaches are experts in behavioral change and ultimate cheerleaders. The relationship between coach and client is based on mutual respect and trust. Health coaches work with clients to integrate new lifestyle habits in order to achieve optimal health. As part of the coaching process, health coaches employ a number of different strategies.
There is no standard educational requirement for health coaches. However, many hold health coaching credentials such as those provided by. A growing number of coaches are becoming board-certified by the NBHWC. This is necessary if you want to bill your insurance.
Private practice, either online or in person, at a large or small scale (webinar), or tailored to individual client needs.
Medical professionals work with other healthcare professionals, such as nurses, doctors, personal trainers, or mental health professionals.
A corporate setting is developing wellness programs.
Exotic locations for wellness retreats that promote healthy living.
Content creation for your health, fitness, or wellness blog, vlog, or social media accounts (TikTok, Instagram, etc.).
Health clubs and gyms that offer nutrition and lifestyle coaching to clients and help them make healthy choices.
Some coaches are specialists in a particular health, fitness, or wellness niche.
Let’s go back to our original question now that we know what supplements are and what health coaches can do for you.
Can Health Coaches recommend supplements?
There are two main reasons why health coaches shouldn’t recommend supplements to clients.
The majority of jurisdictions and certification bodies do not permit the recommendation of supplements, as it is not within the scope of practice for a health coach. (More on this later). You are, therefore, not allowed to recommend supplements. You could find yourself in serious legal trouble if you continue to do so. You can find specific guidelines in some states that permit health coaches to prescribe supplements. However, you should consult an attorney to ensure you are covered. Only a licensed professional, such as a doctor, can prescribe supplements.
Many people do not consider the inherent risks of taking dietary supplements. We function better when we get the right amount (not too little nor too much) of vitamins and nutrients. Too much vitamin or nutrient intake can be harmful. Some supplements can interact with medications negatively.
You and your client will be safer if you don’t recommend any supplements. This doesn’t mean the topic of supplements is off-limits. You need to remain within your scope as a health trainer.
The Practices of a Health Coach
It’s best to avoid recommending supplements to clients who are seeking health coaching because it is not within the scope of your practice. What does this mean exactly?
The scope of practice is the set of actions, processes, and procedures that a healthcare professional can legally perform in accordance with their license. Included are medical doctors, nurses, and registered dietitians.
Your scope of practice as a health coach doesn’t only apply to the work you do with clients. This includes content that you post to social media, a blog, or a vlog. Why is it so important? Staying within your professional scope will protect you against any liability or lawsuits in the future.
The scope of health coaching varies according to where you are in the world. This article contains general information only. You should seek legal advice to understand the size of your health coaching certification in the state or nation you reside in.
A health coach, as a rule, is not licensed to prescribe supplements, diets, lab tests, or treatments.
It doesn’t mean you can’t discuss supplements with your clients; it’s far from it. You can discuss dietary supplementation with clients once you know what’s allowed and not allowed under your scope as a health trainer.
How To Discuss Supplements Safely With Your Clients
Understanding your scope of practice will help you to understand the dos and don’ts when it comes to discussing supplements with clients.
If a customer asks you about a specific supplement…
Share information published by an official source in a peer-reviewed journal or a government website
You can also mention any side effects or information you may know.
Recommend a supplement or prescription to your client.
Although a health coach cannot diagnose, treat, or prescribe supplements, food plans, or blood tests, it doesn’t mean that you can’t guide and educate clients on their health journey. Knowing your scope of practice gives you the confidence to coach your clients effectively and safely discuss topics like supplements.
Can health coaches recommend supplements? There are two main reasons why health coaches shouldn’t recommend supplements:
Supplements are not within the scope of health coaches’ practice.
Many people do not consider the inherent health risks of taking dietary supplements.
Health coaches can still discuss supplements. Health coaches are able to:
Information about supplements is available from official sources
Talk to your clients about the facts regarding supplements
The information presented here is general. Consult a lawyer to ensure you know what you can say and do in your area as a health trainer.